Attention in Albany may be focused on the apparent downfall of the Legislature’s top Democrat, Sheldon Silver, in a corruption scandal that cuts very close to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but the critically important work of settling a budget for the coming fiscal year goes on. Two recent reports from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation have raised valid questions about the agency’s capabilities where wildlife is concerned and painted a picture of it as a failed agency.
Just when we thought the plan to bolster the Montauk oceanfront with thousands of sandbags could not get any worse, it got worse. Time and the desire of town officials not to have the work take place during the summer have conspired, prompting the United States Army Corps of Engineers to go ahead with only half the job.
When a number of East Hampton neighbors spoke up at a recent meeting about their objections to a request for a garage from the owners of a house being built on Mill Hill Lane, they may well have been speaking for many residents of the South Fork who are increasingly upset about oversized construction on small lots. As smaller lanes in the villages have become more and more desirable, investors and new part-timers have started tearing down serviceable, if modest, dwellings and putting up far larger ones.
The role of the East Hampton Town citizens advisory committees appears to be up for re-evaluation. During a town board meeting last week the point was made that perhaps the time had come to look again at an order that has prevented the committees from communicating with other town-appointed boards and government agencies since 2012.
Kathleen Cunningham’s appointment to the East Hampton Town Planning Board last week was notable in one respect that has drawn little notice. By replacing a male board member who moved away, she became the third woman on the seven-member panel. This makes the planning board the exception to the rule in East Hampton Town, where among the boards whose composition is determined by town board vote, men occupy more than three-quarters of the seats. And among all the boards, the vast majority are white and non-Latino.
Offshore wind power, which until quite recently seemed to be coming to the Northeast, hit a stumbling block in the past few months. First, in mid-December, the Long Island Power Authority rejected a plan for turbines in the waters about 30 miles east of Montauk. Then, early this month, the utilities that would have bought power from a proposed $2.5 billion project being readied for Nantucket Sound by a firm called Cape Wind backed away, citing missed deadlines by the developer.
News last month that the Springs School Board was beginning to work toward an overdue building project came as no surprise. Nor was the estimated cost of expansion of the district’s buildings, as much as $20 million depending on the options selected, surprising.
The East Hampton Village Board should go forward with the revision of its 10-year-old outdoor lighting rules despite an 11th-plus-hour ruffle. Excessive nighttime illumination is both an annoyance and an affront to a community that is proud of its ambience. The aspect of the proposal that some would like eliminated is the regulation of wasteful and unnecessary landscape lighting.