Richard Haeg

Responses to East Hampton Environmental Coalition questionaire

Running for East Hampton Town Board
Endorsements: Republican, Conservative

EXPERIENCE, PHILOSPOHY AND RELATIONSHIPS
1. Please share with us accomplishments or experiences that would indicate your commitment to advancing an environmental agenda for East Hampton. These may be professional or personal.

As a young man I began to appreciate nature and the environment as a Boy Scout and camper. As I grew older I hiked the back trails of the Catskills and Adirondack mountains and grew to enjoy their beauty. Today there is not a day that I don’t appreciate the beauty of East Hampton Town and its trails, beaches, streams, ponds and wildlife. I love to garden with my wife, walk the beaches and feed the birds in my back yard. I would love to have the opportunity to help in any way I can to advance the environmental agenda not only in this town but anywhere I go.

2. What do you believe is the role of town government regulation and enforcement in maintaining a clean, sustainable environment? What, if any, changes are the most important?

I believe as a community we must discuss and plan to ensure that our grandchildren can enjoy the same things we have enjoyed. I think we do this by partnering with those environmentalists who are working in the field every day. We must make sure that we pass the laws and ordinances needed to keep and maintain a clean, sustainable environment.

3. What resources, experts or opinions will you consult when making decisions that affect East Hampton Town’s environmental resources?

I think the board should meet with all environmental groups as well as the professionals already employed by the towns Natural Resources. I also think the Suffolk County Planning and the DEC should be consulted whenever possible and all local committees involved with the specific area of the environment that is being addressed.

Coastal, Drinking and Surface Water
4. In view of the extreme weather conditions as of late, what should East Hampton Town, as a coastal community, do in the short and long term to prepare for these changes?

It is important that we as a community prepare in the short term to keep our emergency services trained and prepared for medical and evacuation situations. In the long term we should develop a storm and flood plan to educate our people as what actions they need to take in emergencies. We should look at natural alternatives to bolster our shore line from natural disasters.

5. Do you believe current Town policies adequately protect drinking water quality and sustainability? If not, what, if any, policy changes would you support?

The current Town policies are just a start to protect our drinking water. We have started in Montauk with the water shed but we need to do more to understand the impact of our septic systems throughout the town. Then we need to correct any problems we find and that will take an effort from all of us and it will not be easy. 6. Periodically, East Hampton Town’s bays and creeks are closed to shell fishing or swimming due to poor water quality. Some water bodies do not meet Federal EPA MS4 storm water protection standards. What concrete actions will you support to improve the quality of our surface waters? I know that the Wilkinson Board has taken every effort to get in compliance with all MS4 regulations. I think we need to make sure all of our beaches are never closed because of actions taken by us as a community. I will work with anyone to keep our water quality above standards.

Land Preservation
Public land preservation protects our drinking water supply and improves drinking water quality, quality of life, tax rates and property values in the Town of East Hampton.
7. Should the Town continue to use the Community Preservation Fund to purchase land? If so, what changes, if any, would you support in land preservation policy or practice? If not, what funding mechanism do you propose ought to replace it?

The community preservation fund is an excellent way, at present, to preserve the land. I would not make any changes at this time but I would like to add a process where as a community we would look at the land that has value to us either for aquifer, open space, trails, farms, and historic value and determine what properties we should preserve. This would take looking at a topographical map, understanding the water flow under our land, the sewage and how we will handle it in the future.

Dark and Quiet Skies
8. In 2006 the Town passed the "Smart Lighting" law which enhanced previous legislation addressing light pollution. What are the most important benefits (if any) and shortcomings (if any) of the Smart Lighting law? What actions would you support to expand or modify the enforcement of this law?

I think that addressing light pollution is a smart piece of legislation. However, I do know that there are some standards that have been set by the security industry pertaining to safety. The only thing I would do is make sure that all our legislation is in keeping with these standards as not to have the town attached to any future law suits.

9. Noise pollution caused by aircraft, particularly helicopters, has been a source of complaints from residents for many years. Because of financial agreements with the FAA, the Town government currently has little control over East Hampton airspace. How will you address these complaints? What specific rules would you like to see enacted?

I am not sure that this statement is entirely correct. In studying the relationship with the FAA I have found several things that seem to make this statement not true. The one that stands out the most is that due to the work of Dominick Stanzione the Town now has control of the air space out five miles. This means that we will be able to control the altitude and direction of incoming traffic which should alleviate most of the noise. The second thing that I see which may not apply is that the FAA is in control of the air traffic everywhere. It makes no difference whether the airport belongs to the Town or otherwise the only difference is in who has the liability. Government Planning and Enforcement Historically, East Hampton has been a national leader in community and environmental planning and open space preservation.

10. What is your vision for the future of the Planning Department in East Hampton Town? What aspects of the Planning Department’s organization and function are most important for the Town’s future and what aspects, if any, would you change or strengthen?

The planning department is doing a great job keeping our town beautiful. If I were to change anything I would focus on the future to assure that we are planning for additional density, adequate energy, infrastructure and disasters.

11. Are the Town’s Comprehensive and Local Waterfront Revitalization Plans adequate in your opinion? If not, which specific policies or plan recommendations do you not support or would like to see changed? Which policies would you prioritize for implementation?

These plans have to be revised from time to time to keep up with our situations.

Solid Waste and Water Waste Management Facilities
The Town’s systems for the management of both solid waste (trash and recyclables) and water waste (sewage) have been the focus of critical discussion in recent years.
12. What is your assessment of the state of these systems, what are the major problems requiring correction, and what are the most urgently needed changes in policy and practice?

Both solid waste and water waste management facilities are just adequate and will need work by all departments involved.

Comments

The standards used by the Town for the "Smart Lighting Law" for night lighting are already being met; and these same standards are used in courts of law to defend lawsuits. No lawsuits have been successful when these standards are met. The only standard setting organization is the Illuminating Engineering Society, and there is no reason to exceed them; it simply wastes money and does not improve safety. See: IES Recommended Practices #33, Lighting for Exterior Environments.
Mr Haeg suggest East Hampton might be able to regulate five miles of helicopter route into EHA, and that this would be sufficient to control the noise problem. He overlooks the fact that these helicopters create intense noise all along the North Shore of Long Island, particularly as they descend over Riverhead and Southold (where there are people too!). If Mr Haeg's attitude is that he does not care about what impact East Hampton has outside the Town's borders, I suggest he is unlikely to be a sensitive and responsible Board member.