Mayor Makes First Appointments to Environmental Advisory Committee

The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees at its first work session under Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy (center) on July 24, when she announced the first members of her new Environmental Advisory Committee. Peter Boody photo

Sag Harbor Village Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy’s promised Environmental Advisory Committee is beginning to take shape, with the mayor announcing its first five members at the first work session of the Village Board under her leadership on July 24.

“The working and very much a draft mission idea of the environmental committee,” the mayor explained, calls for “a committee than can look at the many environmental factors” that affect the village and will allow citizens to “work together to help improve the quality of water, land, air and seaside by helping create sustainable long-term plans to make Sag Harbor one of the most forward-thinking villages in the nation.”

Mayor Mulcahy said she would appoint more members “as people want to join and people hear more about it, we will look and see what else makes sense and who else makes sense to join us.”

The first five members are Jeff Peters, a former member of the village’s Harbor Committee who runs the JCP Landscaping company; Jill Musnicki, an artist whose painting and photography and other works often focus on the environment; Mare Dianora, an interdisciplinary artists who has taught workshops and seminars locally, including one called “The Art of Food & Nourishment”; Mary Ann Eddy, chair of the Harbor Committee who helped lead efforts to set up a water quality monitoring system around Sag Harbor; and Kate Plumb, a former owner of Provisions, the health food store, and organizer of the East Hampton Farmers Market.

Commenting on her appointments, Ms. Mulcahy said at the work session that Mr. Peters will “work with just landscaping in general on how we can do less fertilizer, more organic, more sustainable, less irrigation, and less noise in our landscaping in general.” She said that Jill Musnicki and Mare Dianora “are going to look at, also, non-toxic landscaping and how we can help the village get more organic and how neighbors can protect themselves from other neighbors who want to use chemicals and what can be done and how we can help.”

“Mary Ann Eddy,” she said, will investigate “climate smart communities,” and learn how “we can get Sag Harbor to have that designation and become a climate smart community” with “again, less fertilization, less irrigation, more natural-sustainable.”

Kate Plumb, the mayor said, “will also be on there talking about doing research into clear-cutting, how we can stop some of the construction clear-cutting that we have and how, if they do take down vegetation, what happens, how does it grow back, and really” begin “working with the zoning board and ARB for really strong laws there.”

The mayor added that the environmental panel also will “see if it makes sense if Sag Harbor becomes a bee city by planting more flowering trees in a park,” like the proposed Steinbeck Park.

“It is an open committee,” the mayor concluded. “We want input. We want lots of people involved and lots of people caring about this long-term goal” of making Sag Harbor a forward-thinking, environmentally conscious community.

Jeff Peters on Tuesday said in a phone interview that he had interviewed for the position because he wanted to work on water quality issues, Havens Beach and addressing the use of fertilizers by homeowners and landscapers. He said he hoped that the panel would take some of the pressure off the Harbor Committee so it can focus on home construction and the applications for wetlands permits that take up much of its agenda.

Jill Musnicki said in a text message that she “came to be on the committee because Kathleen is aware of my concerns with the environment on a local scale.

In Sag Harbor, we need to take a close look at what we are dumping into our yards and into our storm drains. We need to ask if our personal yard goals [are] worth destroying our ability to swim in our bay or eat from our bay.

“I am the fourth generation of a Bridgehampton-Sagaponack immigrant family. I and have lived in Sag Harbor for 25 years. I am dismayed to the point of doing the unthinkable: leaving. Our new mayor gives me hope and I think getting a grip on our local environment is in sight.”