Letters to the Editor: 8/8/2019


Question Accuracy 

To the Editor:

In a recent letter in the Express concerning the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review, Pierce Hance and Jonathan Morse stated: “Do they question or verify anything? Do they all intend to continue the tradition of blind approvals?”

What could “blind approvals” mean other than they do not do site visits? As nearly everyone who comes to the board with a project knows, the house in question is likely to be subjected to a site visit, especially if it is a historic house.

The letter also goes on to question: “Perhaps at least have the building department flag any presentation that involves a structure in the historic district, particularly a contributing structure?” Having sat through numerous meetings of the ARB, under various chairs, any house that is in the historic district was noted and given special attention in the last four years. The ARB historic consultant, Zac Studenroth, was hired by the previous chair and is at the meetings for expressly that purpose.

If Mr. Hance and Mr. Morse have attended ARB meetings, they must have missed the discussions about historic houses or site visits, which are sometimes—but not often—objected to by homeowners.

The meeting do run long, sometimes up to four hours.

Lorraine Dusky

Sag Harbor

Ms. Dusky is a former chair of the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals—Ed.


No Variances Needed

Dear Editor:

I would like clarify the reporting in the article “Approve Work on Historic House” [July 18]: We still intend to peruse third-floor egress at the L’Hommedieu house. What has changed is that, after careful review of Section AJ604.3.2 of the New York State 2016 Uniform Code supplement, and Sag Harbor Village Code 300-9.3.E, we realized that we could achieve the egress required by code without altering the existing volume of the house (i.e. no roof modification, deck or railing), and, therefore, without requiring any area variances for this aspect of the project.

Anthony Vermandois, AIA

Sag Harbor


A Job Well Done

We call on Southampton Town’s elected officials to address many issues: water quality, coastal erosion, land use, affordable housing and many more. I think they’ve done a good job in all of those areas, and, as a recent audit finds, they do a superb job managing our finances, too. The case for financial excellence is made by independent auditor Nowicki Smith LLP [“Town Shines in Audit,” July 11].

The Press article hit the highlights: “fiscal strength due to controlled spending, sound budgeting practices, reduced staffing and reorganization in various departments to allow the town to operate more efficiently. “It should be noted, too, that the auditors found that due to accomplishing sound fiscal practices, the “ability to balance budgets will continue to positively impact future budgets.” (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, Page 8.)

Sound planning and foresight mean an ongoing enterprise can meet goals and objectives. So, kudos to Jay Schneiderman, John Bouvier and our other elected officials for a fiscal job well done—for our present and future.

Mike Anthony


Mr. Anthony is a former chair of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee—Ed.


Unsafe Conditions

Aircraft traffic overhead on Monday, July 1: 6:56 a.m., Heliflite helicopter, incoming; 7:04 a.m., Gotham helicopter, incoming; 7:06 a.m., Seven Tango Alpha, small plane, overhead; 7:09 a.m., Osprey Express, small plane, overhead; 7:09 a.m., Pine Cove Lift LLC, small plane, overhead; 7:11 a.m., Sikorsky Fractional Sales, helicopter, incoming; 7:12 a.m., Gotham Helicopter, outgoing; 7:13 a.m., Meridian Helicopter, incoming; 7:15 a.m., Wayfarer Ketch helicopter, outgoing; 7:15 a.m., Fly PJ, small plane, overhead; 7:15 a.m., Gotham Helicopter, outgoing; 7:28 a.m., Helicopter Services, incoming; 7:29 a.m., Bascom Aviation, small plane, outgoing; 7:30 a.m., Osprey Express, small plane, outgoing; 7:30 a.m., Mimas Aviation jet, outgoing …

In 34 minutes, 17 aircraft traversed the skies near my home, averaging one flight every two minutes on a Monday morning. As you can see by the log, however, there were times when multiple flights were arriving or departing.

The frequency of disturbance speaks for itself, but one must question whether this concentration and number of flights is safe. It’s only the beginning of the season, and this intensity makes for unsafe conditions—if not in the air, to those on the ground.

Kathleen Cunningham

East Hampton


Just Add Goose Steps

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Really? I’m not so sure about that—at least not in our national discourse. There, names can carry a lot of weight. When people take no more than a few minutes, if that, to listen to an issue being discussed, whatever name was attached to a policy or a person is often all that sticks with them.

More and more, the Democrats’ opponents are saying that the Democrats are socialists, or have socialist tendencies. All right, this is politics, and political discourse has always involved some exaggeration. But what, then, prevents the Democrats from saying their opponents are fascists, or have fascist tendencies?

It might seem a bit much at first, but think about it—all the ingredients are there: the cult of personality, the unsubtle racism, the blatant xenophobia, the erratic pronouncements, the slavish attention to the leader’s whims, the hardcore marchers, the aggressive sexism, the casual brutality, the nativist flag-waving, the phony Christianity, the senseless pageantry, the demonization of the other, the vanity rallies, and, worst of all, the frank disdain for law and democracy.
What’s missing? Goose steps, maybe—but don’t be surprised if we see them, too.

Nothing surprises anymore, and that’s much of the problem. Some months ago we turned the corner from a merely troubling regime to a deeply threatening regime, and part of that was through losing the sense of surprise, of dismay. It’s sort of like losing the stabilizers that right the ship when she lists too much; without them, she goes right over and capsizes.

Looking at it, there’s probably at least as much reason to call President Trump and his party fascists as there is to call the Democrats socialists, maybe more. Given the latitude of political debate, I say go ahead, Dems, do it, call them as you see them, say the other guys are fascists. There’s plenty of justification for that.

As his supporters used to cry out cheering a great Democratic president, Harry S Truman, “Give ’em hell!”

George Lynch


Mr. Lynch is treasurer of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee—Ed.


What We Have Planned

I read with interest the article “Tupper Boathouse Work Goes Out To Bid For a Second Time” [Eastern Edition, July 11]. Southampton Town officials, by requesting an additional and acceptable bid from a contractor to stabilize, lift and reconstruct portions of the historic Tupper Boathouse in North Sea, are initiating Phase 1 of the Tupper Boathouse restoration.

As earlier reported in The Press article of January 25, 2017, “Residents Push for Tupper Boathouse In North Sea To Become A Maritime Center And Museum,” the North Sea Maritime Center, a nonprofit 501c3 corporation, was founded by a committee of North Sea neighbors to plan educational and recreational programs for town residents to increase awareness of historical and contemporary maritime activities and, working with the town, to act as stewards of the restored Tupper Boathouse.

We would like the reader to know how the structure will be used once it has been fully restored by the town. The building will serve as an educational and interpretive facility that will honor the structure’s history and celebrate the area’s maritime heritage and environmental significance: for example, wooden boatbuilding, sailing, navigation, boating safety, North Sea history, etc.

To develop and carry out these activities, the center’s board of directors plans to partner with the Southampton History Museum (the property owner of adjacent historic Conscience Point), the East End wooden boatbuilding community, and other nonprofit and local educational institutions that will all be able to take advantage of the Maritime Center’s convenient access to North Sea Harbor and Peconic Bay.

The NSMC Board of Directors looks forward to the initiation of the restoration project by the town, and to working with the town to develop this project to its full potential to serve the community.

Ann Reisman


North Sea Maritime Center Inc.