– Alert News –
March 24, 2023 - Montauk, New York
This week Richard Whalen & Tom Ruhle from CFHW met with North Fork Representative Al Krupski and his Staff. Al – a farmer from the north fork is a strong advocate of parkland preservation and backs CFHW in its fight against parkland alienation. This November, Al will be campaigning for Southhold Town Supervisor, his aid Cahterine Stark will be running to fill Al’s vacant seat and Gwynn Schroeder will be running for a Southold Town Board seat. Long Island needs strong supporters of open space and preservation of our park and water resources.
Thank you Al Krupski, Catherine Stark and Gwynn Schroeder for caring about the things we hold most precious!
March 13, 2023 - Montauk, New York
At today's East Hampton Town Wastewater Committee Meeting, Laura Tooman, the President of CCOM (Concerned Citizens of Montauk) stated:
CCOM promotes the preservation of Montauk's ecosystem and environment on its website. Yet, not only did CCOM not represent Montauk residents at the Suffolk County Trustee meeting opposing parkland alienation, but says the 10-0 decision by the Trustees was “not to be celebrated”. Laura also asked if the town could still pursue parkland alienation without the consent of the Trustees?
March 7, 2023 - Montauk, New York
At today's Suffolk County Legislative session in Riverhead, NY, Northfork Legislator Al Krupski voiced his support for the CFHW's stand against parkland alienation.
Members from the Coalition for Hither Woods and constituent organizations attended the Suffolk County Legislative session in Riverhead, NY, and spoke out strongly against parkland alienation in Montauk. All Suffolk County lawmakers were present, and they heard from the CFHW and other groups concerning alienating 14 acres of Hither Woods for a Sewage Treatment Plant.
By a unanimous 10-0 majority - with two abstains, the Suffolk County Park Trustees voted NO on East Hampton Town’s attempt to alienate 14 acres of Hither Woods parkland!
Feb 23, 2023 - Montauk, New York
Representatives of the Coalition for Hither Woods and members of our constituent groups - about 25 of us in all - attended the Suffolk County Parks Trustees meeting today in West Sayville. The main subject of this meeting was a presentation by the Town of East Hampton to try to persuade the Parks Trustees to recommend in favor of the Town's proposed Hither Woods "land swap." As you should know by now, the land swap would give the Town 14 acres of County parkland in Hither Woods which the Town would then develop for a sewage treatment plant servicing Downtown Montauk.
About eight of us spoke during the open "public comment" period on behalf of the Coalition for Hither Woods, and against the proposed land swap. These included myself, Tom Ruhle, Robert Whalen, John Turner on behalf of the Seatuck Environmental Association, Bob Deluca of Group for the East End, Bob Muller & Rob Becker on behalf of CLIMB. One individual, Brian Harris, who introduced himself as President of Montauk Beach Property Owners Association (MBPOA), also spoke in opposition on behalf of MBPOA. Sandi Brewster-Walker of the Montaukett Indian Nation spoke eloquently about how the destruction of land such as the woods which the Town proposes to bulldoze disrespects and diminishes the legacy of the Montaukett Indians. They used this land for millennia without destroying any of it.
We handed the Parks Trustees copies of the 25-page report which the Coalition prepared and which will be available here.
The Town's representatives, including Supervisor Van Scoyoc (who spoke briefly), Natural Resources Director Kim Shaw, and Nick Bono of H2M, the Town's sewer consultant, then made a presentation to the Parks Trustees. When all was said and done, I am very pleased to relate, the County Parks Trustees discussed the matter and took a vote. The vote was 9-to-nothing, with two abstentions, to recommend AGAINST the Town's proposed land swap!
Needless to say, we at the Coalition for Hither Woods are very happy, and grateful to the Parks Trustees. The Parks Trustees said they had never before been confronted with such a large and dramatic proposal for parkland alienation - one Town asking the County to basically give it 14 acres of parkland to be used for what would obviously NOT be a parks use. The Trustees were clearly disturbed by the precedent which this could create.
Once more, today was a good day for Hither Woods, and for all of us who love parks. (For those who live near the land which the Town hoped to acquire, you should know that Nick Bono of H2M proposed a couple of different versions of the Town's land swap today, under which the Town would acquire the radio and cellular tower site near the Montauk Recycling and Transfer Station, and would put the sewage treatment plant on part of that property!! Even then, Bono proposed that the Town would STILL want the County land, which it would use to recharge the sewage effluent from the sewage treatment plant. I did not understand what possible benefit these alternatives would offer to anyone!)
Anyway, the County Parks Trustees were not persuaded by any of the Town's ideas.
What happens next? We shall see. The Town has been incredibly stubborn in pursuing this ill-conceived proposal for a tremendously expensive Montauk sewer system - which has little to no environmental benefit (as our 25-page report shows). The Town could, in theory, go direct to the County Legislature, notwithstanding the adverse recommendation from the Parks Trustees. Remember, the Parks Trustees are only an advisory body.
Regardless what happens next, today was a GOOD DAY. Thanks to all of you who helped, and thanks to everyone for their support.
Don't forget to look at our attached report.
- Rick Whalen, President of The Coalition for Hither Woods
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