As officials in the Town of East Hampton and the owners of private property along the ocean in Montauk puzzle over their relationship with the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the fate of a proposed beach protection project there, it is well worth reflecting on two unfortunate chapters in that federal agency’s relatively recent history.
For the first time ever, East Hampton High School’s annual homecoming game, held on Sept. 20, was not played by the football team. The match featured varsity soccer, and the boys defeated Hampton Bays by a score of 3-0, therein making history and signaling a change that was coming for a long time, accelerated by local demographic changes.
As we commented back when the matter was pending before the East Hampton Town Planning Board, the pitch made by the late Gregg Saunders for a commercial building on Montauk Highway in Wainscott was one for the textbooks. Now that work on the former Plitt Ford site is well under way, some residents are beginning to notice. They are right to wonder what the heck happened and why those who own the property now are getting away with it.
A sign boasting of East Hampton Town’s goal of meeting all of its electricity needs with renewable sources by 2020, which was carried by an activist during Sunday’s climate march in New York City, drew lots of attention. And well it should have; moving away from fossil fuels is essential if human-induced global warming is to be slowed within our lifetimes.
With East Hampton Village having accepted more than $100,000 toward a test project to spay deer, it probably will go forward, but it may actually delay effective management and avoid comprehensive analysis of the role their growing numbers play in tick-borne illnesses as well as their effect on the environment.
One of the people who have been thinking a lot about a proposed surf club on the old East Deck Motel site at Ditch Plain in Montauk stopped in at The Star office the other day to point something out. Mike Bottini, an outdoorsman and member of the Surfrider Foundation’s local chapter, laid out a set of papers on our front desk, showing that a string of public and largely protected lands extend from Montauk Point nearly to the hamlet’s commercial downtown.
Saturday is International Coastal Cleanup Day, and East Hampton Town is joining the effort by providing trash bags, gloves, and collection sites for volunteers who want to help pick up trash from the beaches. Then, on Sunday, the organizers of the People’s Climate March expect it to be the largest demonstration in New York City since the anti-Vietnam War protests. Both are worthy.
Serious attention is now being paid to water quality in the Town of East Hampton after a patchwork effort dating back decades. Georgica Pond, which has been closed to the taking of shellfish for years due to pollution, was found to be contaminated with a form of toxic algae about a year ago and closed to crabbing, its last remaining active harvest.
The mechanics of a proposed East Hampton Town registry for property rentals will require detailed consideration, but at this point it seems a good idea and long overdue.
Officials are revising a draft of a law that would require landlords to register with the town, providing details about the number of rooms and so on. An identification number would be assigned to each property, which would have to be displayed in all advertising and online listings. A hearing on the law should come before the end of the month.