Judging from the Memorial Day weekend crowds, East Hampton Town should adopt a zero-growth strategy. Unfortunately, the approach evident in a new round of official advisory studies is to encourage increased development, with commercial sprawl extended in some cases into predominantly residential areas under a smokescreen of “smart growth.”
East Hampton Town’s effort to rein in some of the excesses of the summer bar and party scene is beginning to show results. This is a welcome change, as it is safe to assume that the preponderance of residents and season-long renters do not choose to live or summer here to carouse; the area’s natural and cultural attractions are the draw.
The East Hampton Town Planning Board now has in its collective lap a request that could turn the whole town zoning code on its ear. The board has been asked to retroactively okay the Dunes, a “luxury, inpatient rehabilitation center,” in its own words, which sprang up in a house in Northwest Woods about five years ago.
Dare we say it? Amagansett shoppers will soon have a place to pee. With a long-sought Suffolk County Health Department okay finally in hand, the town has begun work on a public restroom in the hamlet’s downtown parking lot. This might not seem like much, but considering that the saga about building the thing has gone on for more than 12 years, is big news.
If you look at a photograph from 100 years ago, you might be startled by how far the eye could travel over town, once upon a time. Standing near Hook Mill, you could see the Maidstone Club; stand in the windmill’s upper reaches, and you could see clear to Amagansett. From the second story of a house on Main Street, you could see the waves breaking on the ocean beach.
The imminent closing of the Child Development Center of the Hamptons Charter School in East Hampton is a sad moment for an educational institution that provided an alternative public school and did great things for many kids and families. A note of hope can perhaps be found in the site itself, which belongs to East Hampton Town, and for which creative reuse opportunities are intriguing.
It was Representative Lee Zeldin’s right, we concede, to endorse whomever he chose in the race for the United States presidency. However, it was an insult to a large proportion of the people he is supposed to represent that he jumped aboard the Donald Trump train so quickly once his nomination appeared assured. By supporting Mr. Trump, Mr. Zeldin has appeared to hitch his political future to an incendiary demagogue, one who appears ready to throw the world into assured economic turmoil and closer to nuclear war.
Several contested races will be on the ballot when annual voting for school board members and district budgets takes place on Tuesday. Would that there were more challengers; the status quo isn’t apt to result in a fresh look for a solution to the growing inequities between rich and poor districts, and new blood might speed the way.
You can’t fault Scott Rubenstein for asking. And, frankly, we might assume that even he is surprised by how smooth the path in Town Hall has been so far for his plan for a bowling alley, miniature golf course, and 200-seat sports bar.