Archive for the ‘2010 Meetings’ Category

THE BRIDGEHAMPTON CAC MEETING HELD ON MARCH 22, 2010

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A. The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM

Those present were    Richard Bruce, Fred Cammann, Jenice Delano, Jeffrey Mansfield,Weezie Quimby,  Michael Kapon, Steve Long,  Cathie Gandel, Christine Smith, Alejandro Saralegui, Jeffrey Vogel, Peter Wilson

B. The following resolution was passed and sent to the Town Board

RESOLUTION March 23, 2010

The Bridgehampton CAC  (CAC) firmly supports the revival of the Mecox Yacht Club as proposed by the group headed by Jeffrey Mansfield.  The Club has been a beloved part of the area’s heritage since the beginning of the last century.  Many of our towns oldest families have enjoyed the virtues of sailing via the use of the Club…the Halseys, Hildreths, Ludlows, Thayers, Toppings, Louchheims, Ritzs, Wesnofskes, and McCoys to name a few.

The revival of the club will be a boon to the community as a whole, but it would be especially beneficial to the children of the area. Learning to sail will get our children off the couch, and from behind the video game screen, while giving them physical exercise, self-esteem, confidence, and teaching them the spirit of competition and good sportsmanship.

In a time when few too many of our beautiful potato fields remain, and historically significant structures are bull dozed to make way for mega-mansions, here is a chance to preserve, and use in a practical manner, a piece of our community’s history.

In short, we ask that you also support the revival of the Mecox Yacht Club because it is a valuable part of our area’s heritage, and so that it may be enjoyed for future generations to come.

C.  Discussion Concerning the CAC’s relationship with the Southampton Town Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and Planning Board using the MIACO (Bulls Head Inn) development project  as its most recent experience.

This application  has been in the works for over 3 years The CAC has joined with the project site neighbors  and with the Group for the East End in worrying about the zoning implications, appropriate uses for the site, and size of the  planned expansion of the  buildings and usages on the site of the Bulls Head Inn.. The CAC has filed numerous questions, resolutions, and oral testimony with the Land Management Department, the Planning Board, and the Zoning Board of Appeals during the three year application process. All have been accepted with varying degrees of interest, The Planning Board has approved the final Environmental Impact statement  which is virtually unchanged from the original application filed three years ago. We cannot discern any meaningful reactions to the questions nor to the alternative suggestions offered by the Neighbors, CAC, nor other interested parties including the Group For The East End.

The Planning Board voted to approve the application in its entirety in December of 2009 with only one dissenting vote, from  Jacqui Lofaro, who is, coincidently the only member of the board who lives in Bridgehampton.

The MIACO application was then forwarded to the ZBA. Three members of our CAC went to the  ZBA meetings on Thursday February 4 and  seven members  attended the meeting on Thursday February 18.  It was apparent to us that the application to the ZBA was prompted by the applicant’s need  for a change of zoning from residential to commercial for one of the two lots that make up MIACO.

The Bridgehampton CAC made the following presentation to the ZBA.

March 4, 2010 Presentation to the Southampton Zoning Board of Appeals in the matter of MIACO LLC; application 1000020  900-71-3-7 &8  Bridgehampton

GOOD EVENING.  MY NAME IS FREDERIC CAMMANN.  I AM A LONG-TIME AND FULL-TIME RESIDENT OF BRIDGEHAMPTON AND AM SPEAKING TONIGHT IN MY CAPACITY AS CHAIRMAN OF THE CITIZENS’ ADVISORY COMMITTEE OF BRIDGEHAMPTON.

I AM GOING TO LEAVE WITH THE BOARD TONIGHT EXCERPTS FROM WRITTEN COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE CAC TO THE ZBA AND OTHER BODIES OF THE TOWN SETTING FORTH THE REASONS FOR THE CAC’S OBJECTIONS TO MIACO’S PROPOSAL TO REDEVELOP THE BULL’S HEAD INN AND AN ADJOINING LOT.  THE PROBLEMS THAT THE BRIDGEHAMPTON CAC IDENTIFIES  CAN BE BOILED DOWN TO THE FOLLOWING THREE.

ONE:  ECONOMICS.

WE BELIEVE THAT THE ECONOMIC PROBLEMS THAT MAY BE INHERENT  IN OWNING AND OPERATING THE BULL’S HEAD PROPERTY WERE KNOWN AT THE TIME THE PROPERTY WAS PURCHASED AND WE ARE CONCERNED THAT THE APPLICANT HAS NOT DEMONSTRATED THAT ITS PROPOSED REDEVELOPMENT PLAN IS ECONOMICALLY VIABLE. ONE OF THE REASONS GIVEN BY THE APPLICANT IN  REQUESTING THE ZONING VARIANCES IT SEEKS IS THAT, WITHOUT THOSE VARIANCES, APPLICANT’S COMMERCIAL USE OF ITS PROPERTY WILL BE UNECONOMICAL.  WHILE THIS MAY BE AN ACCURATE STATEMENT, THE CAC BELIEVES THAT THE APPLICANT WAS, OR SHOULD HAVE BEEN, AWARE OF THE ECONOMIC HURDLES
HE FACED IN HIS PROPOSED USE OF THE BULL’S HEAD PROPERTY AT THE TIME THE APPLICANT PURCHASED THE PROPERTY AND  SHOULD NOT NOW BE HEARD THROUGH THE PROPOSED APPLICATION TO REQUEST VARIANCES TO HELP IT OUT OF WHAT MAY HAVE BEEN AN  ILL-JUDGED INVESTMENT.

IN ADDITION, THE CAC IS CONCERNED THAT, IF THE APPLICANT’S REQUESTS ARE GRANTED AND THE PROPERTY IS REDEVELOPED AS THE APPLICANT PROPOSES, THE PROJECT MAY INDEED PROVE TO  BE UNECONOMIC AND,AS A RESULT, THE PROPERTY MAY BE ABANDONED OR SOLD BY APPLICANT. EITHER  SUCH ACTION RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ONGOING MAINTENANCEOF SUBSTANTIALLY GREATER STRUCTURES THAN THOSE PRESENTLY ON THE SITE.

TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE CAC THE APPLICANT HAS NOT FOLLOWED THE CAC’S  SUGGESTION THAT THE APPLICANT PRESENT PROJECTIONS OR OTHER SUPPORTING  FINANCIAL RESEARCH  INDICATING THAT THE PROJECT CAN BE EXPECTED TO BE ECONOMICALLY VIABLE.

TWO:  PRESERVATION

THE CAC  BELIEVES THAT THE PROPOSED PROJECT CANNOT FAIRLY BE SAID TO  “PRESERVE” THE BULL’S HEAD INN. WHILE WE RECOGNIZE THAT THE APPLICANT HAS SAID THE INN WILL NOT BE RAZED, WE BELIEVE THAT THE TOTALITY OF THE  PROPOSED CHANGES ARE SUCH THAT THE PROJECT, FAR FROM “PRESERVING” THE INN, EFFECTIVELY CHANGES ITS NATURE AND APPEARANCE.

THREE: ZONING.

THE CAC’S THIRD AND MOST IMPORTANT OBJECTION TO THE RELIEF SOUGHT BY THE APPLICANT IS THAT IT EFFECTIVELY EXPANDS THE DESIGNATED COMMERCIAL  ZONE OF BRIDGEHAMPTON HAMLET  INTO A  RESIDENTIAL ZONED AREA. WHETHER PERMITTED BY VIRTUE OF A VARIANCEOR BY VIRTUE OF A CHANGE IN ZONING, THE PLACING OF  A PARKING LOT AND A SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT IN THE PRESENTLY RESIDENTIAL ZONED  LOT SEVEN EXTENDS A COMMERCIAL USE PREVIOUSLY LIMITED TO PROPERTIES PRESENTLY ZONED COMMERCIAL AND FOR THE MOST PART  FRONTING ON THE MONTAUK  HIGHWAY

For the past  20 YEARS  The BRIDGEHAMPTON   CAC has always resisted  the  EXTENSION  of the  Bridgehampton commercial zone beyond its  present  boundaries to the North and South. WE BELIEVE THAT recent changes to the zoning codes for this commercial area enacted by the Town do not  support  North South expansion NOR INTRUSION  of commercial properties.  The CAC is, OF COURSE,  committed to opposing zoning variances, except in hardship cases.. THE CAC CONSTANTLY  seeks to protect the fragile character of BRIDGEHAMPTON.  Allowing commercial spread INTO ANY RESIDENTIAL ZONE   works in opposition to that goal. IN ADDITION,REGARDLESS OF ANY PROTESTATIONS  BY THE APPLICANT,  THE GRANTING OF THE REQUESTED VARIANCE WILL  UNDOUBTEDLY AND UNDERSTANDABLY BE CITED AS A PRECEDENT FOR  FUTURE VARIANCE APPLICATIONS.

IN THE APPLICATION THERE IS REFERENCE TO SUPPORT FOR THIS PROJECT FROM THE BRIDGEHAMPTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . THE SOCIETY IS, OF COURSE, INTERESTED IN THE PRESERVATION OF ANY AND ALL HISTORICAL ASSETS WITHIN BRIDGEHAMPTON, AND THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT BULLS HEAD DESERVES TO BE PRESERVED. THERE IS ALSO NO QUESTION THAT THE SOCIETY HAS NOT AGREED THAT THE PROPOSED COMMERCIAL ZONING CHANGE OF AN ADJACENT RESIDENTIAL LOT,  OR THAT THE PROPOSED  DRAMATIC CHANGES IN USE FOR THE  PROPERTY ARE APPROPRIATE

The questions that arose from this experience are relevant to most applications that are  discussed  our monthly CAC meetings, so it seemed prudent for us to figure out how we can overcome our frustrations in our interactions with the Planning and ZBA boards.  For the most part we are allowed only limited access to the boards through presentations limited to five minutes and written comments which are seldom, if ever,  referred to again;  whereas, applicants and their representatives are permitted unlimited time to present their side of  the application to be judged . Indeed applicants are invited, we believe, to work extensively with the board members or their staff   in advance of the board’s consultations.  In other words CAC input is treated as  negligible input by the boards. As one CAC member remarked, “ the CAC system was invented by the town  so as to give community members a safe place to vent.”. Our frustrations, it seems are often manifested in our attendance problems. (Admittedly we had an awful winter, so journeying out  for a Monday meeting was no pleasure.) We then had a productive discussion, exploring steps we might take to make our CAC participation more influential  in matters affecting the development of land and other  property uses in Bridgehampton. Since some of these steps involved possible reorganization of the CAC structure, we decided to adjourn our formal meeting before addressing  them.

The next CAC meeting will take place on Monday April 26, 2010… All are welcome.

BRIDGEHAMPTON CAC MEETING HELD ON JANUARY 25, 2010

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The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM

Those present were    Richard Bruce, Fred Cammann,, Michael Kapon, Steve Long, Ian MacPherson, ,  Cathie Gandel, Helene Mahoney, Christine Smith, Tony Lambert, Alejandro Saralegui, Jeffrey Vogel.

The CAC welcomed Councilwoman Nancy Graboski and Town Board Candidate William Hughes.

Bill Hughes  discussed his lengthy service to the country in the armed forces and his public record. He has been a member of the Southampton Police Department since 1981, retiring now as Lieutenant and Commanding Officer of the Patrol Division.

Discussion concerning the status of the Budget and Finance Advisory Committee to the Town Board.

The Committee was formed  about mid 2009 at the request of then Supervisor , Linda Kabot. It consists of 16 members, including members of the administration and outside representatives of the  community at large, who offer their  banking and other financial experience. These outside  members serve at no cost to the public. Their mission, as assigned by the supervisor , is to obtain data from the concerned Southampton Administration  Departments  that will aid in formulating financial policy for the town in two areas; first the administration wishes to ascertain the fiscal results of past financial activities that led to a large shortfall in the capital budget allocations, and second, the administration wishes to address the shortfall itself. Along with the transition problems caused by  a change of administrations, the data appears not to have   been totally  available, although efforts are continually  being made to rectify this failure of communication.

A main problem lies in the way the data is accounted for in town financial  programs. In a nutshell, Southampton Town and other NYS  government financial reporting protocols differ in their  format from  normal financial reporting by  most non-government sponsored businesses. Therefore it has proven hard for the Town Comptroller or any of the concerned departments to furnish the necessary data from which  paths out of this financial morass  can be formulated. The Bridgehampton CAC and its Budget and Finance Advisory Committee representatives, Jeffrey Vogel and Ian MacPherson,  support Ms. Graboski in her efforts to continue the tenure of the committee. They, however,  requested that the responses for town generated financial data necessary for the effectiveness of the Budget and Finance Advisory Committee be more forthcoming. In addition both representatives asked that the meetings of the committee be more directed and follow specific agendas. We  feel improvements in these  areas will make the Advisory Committee far more effective in its mission to advise the Town Board about  practical fiscal steps they might consider to alleviate the crucial financial problems facing Southampton Town.

Communication between the Town Departments and the communities they serve.

As part of the discussion about the mission of the Budget and Finance Committee CAC members  voiced their concern about the  effectiveness of communications between Town Departments and the CACs. The questions arose when we learned that the  discussions within the Budget and Finance committee were formerly meant to be kept confidential. It is a sensitive condition because the issues concern our pocketbooks and so we really would like to hear about the deliberations and at times offer our comments.

The value of CAC comments seems to us to be worth more than a cursory acknowledgement, since the members of each CAC suffer by or enjoy the effects of any change of ordinance  or change of property use application  within their hamlet.. The issue of mutual communication between Town Departments and the concerned CACs  on issues  that concern our communities is  limited. It is certainly true that often a member of the Town Board or an appropriate  member of the administration comes to our meetings and we discuss our concerns in a positive fashion. Our CAC still thinks there is work to be done in this area.  If at first creation the CAC model was tentative , it really has become an important and positive channel for the unincorporated hamlets to work with their overburdened elected and appointed officials

In most cases  applications come before the CAC and are  discussed  within our meetings at some length and are researched by members of the CAC.. Often the applicants, at their request or our invitation,  appear in person or through their legal/contractors/architect representatives. If there are opposing views  within the hamlet community, the CACs welcome their presentations as well. After discussions are completed, the CACs vote on resolutions, write letters to the  responsible boards, often attend and participate in public sessions that concern the  applications. In many cases  CACs feel that the response back from the concerned Departments and Boards is  lacking until results may or may not be published in the press. At any rate the to and fro flow of information after the submission of opinions by the CACs seems to stop more often than not., and the resulting action kind of just happens. A broad statement usually goes out, saying the decision making department has “taken into consideration the  submissions of concerned parties to the matter.”  . That type of response doesn’t encourage members of the CACs to concentrate on the next application which might impact its hamlet

Potential Sites for a Community Toddlers’ Playground  ( we invite comments)

As discussed in the December 27, 2009 CAC   meeting, the town has available funds for the construction of a playground. The quandary appears to be its site. The CAC reiterated  its hope that the Children’s Museum of the East End be selected. Steve Long, the director of the Museum  offered to conduct an informal poll of Bridgehampton parents through the Museum’s listings to be sure that this site would be acceptable .to most of the users. He also said that the Museum board wished to work with the Town to come up with and arrangement that would make the site agreeable to the town

Food Banks to address possible hunger issues in Bridgehampton and in the rest of  Southampton Town.

In recent meetings the CAC has questioned whether persons who come to or reside within the boundaries of  the hamlet and within Southampton Town are aided in relief from hunger. . Mr. and Mrs. McPherson reported on the church-wide program in Bridgehampton.. . The food pantry is located within St. Ann’s Episcopal Church property. It serves about 200 residents of Bridgehampton and is tended by members of the  congregations of  local churches .The pantry has sufficient  funds to continue its work through the remaining months of the winter and spring. Work still needs to be done in the greater Southampton community. As yet we do not know if the town can or will take some responsibility  in addressing whether the Southampton Town Administration  should have a program to provide adequate food for those who need it and either reside in or have other connections with Southampton. Is this an issue that should be treated in a haphazard manner, or could an organized, consolidated leadership be found  among the NGO and not for profit groups within Southampton Town.?