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The East Hampton Star. (East Hampton, N.Y.) 1885-current, October 20, 1977, Image 1

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Haas T osses His Hat Back In As Write-In With three weeks to go in the local election campaign, a committee has been formed to champion a third East Hampton Town Supervisor candidate— the incumbent, Eugene D. Haas Jr., who said last March that he would not seek another two-year term. Mr. Haas confirmed yesterday that he had given his blessings to the committee, known as “Voters for an Independent Supervisor,” whose trea­ surer is Richard T. Johnson of Montauk. Mr. Johnson, a vice president of the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, and a Republican, said a “media campaign” was being launched to persuade voters that they could without difficulty write in Mr. Haas’s name on the ballot. He said he was convinced Mr. Haas could win. Dissatisfaction While Mr. Johnson insisted that the support for Mr. Haas was non-political, and had arisen from some dissatisfac­ tion with the Republican and Demo­ cratic Supervisor candidates, East Hampton Town Republican Leader Edward V. Ecker angrily charged in the Star offices yesterday that the write-in campaign for Mr. Haas was the result of “a political deal,” involving Mr. Johnson and the Democratic Supervisor candidate, Mary Ella Rich­ ard, to hurt Republican candidate Ronald Rioux’s candidacy. Mr. Ecker said further that Mr. Johnson was \using” the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, and added, “Be­ cause he’s got a million bucks, doesn’t mean he can buy an election.” Mr. Johnson laughed when told of Mr. Ecker’s charges. “Besides the fact that they are not true,” he said, “I would add that I imagine the Demo­ crats will charge the same sort of thing in the opposite direction.” Mrs. Richard branded Mr. Ecker’s accusation “a lie.” She said she had known nothing about Mr. Haas’s candi­ dacy until the reporter had called. She added that she was “shocked” by Mr. Ecker’s accusation, “made behind my back.” “I haven’t talked with Dick Johnson; the only time I saw him was in the audience at the Concerned Citizens [of Montauk] meeting last Saturday. No­ body has contacted me concerning this besides the Star; I am busy campaign­ ing door-to-door.” “Voters for an Independent Super­ visor” has placed a full-page advertise­ ment in this issue recommending write-in votes for Mr. Haas. Board of Ejections Jerry Berger of the Suffolk County Board of Elections’ finance committee said Tuesday that the committee had not filed, technically a requisite before raising and spending monies. Mr. Ecker indicated the committee's status, including membership and sources and amounts of contributions, should be investigated. Mr. Johnson said Tuesday that the Board of Elections had assured “local attorneys and others” that a write-in campaign would be “legal and possible.” The announcement of the third ■ candidacy comes on the heels of a local Republican “random sample” poll con­ ducted from Oct. 2 to Oct. 9, that, according to its preparer, showed the Supervisor race “head-to-head.” 16 Volunteers The poll, in which 198 East Hampton residents were interviewed by tele­ phone by about 16 Republican volun­ teers, was largely the work of Lona Rubenstein, who serves as a $26,500-a- year special assistant to State As­ sembly Minority Leader Perry B. Duryea Jr. Mrs. Rubenstein said she has been working with the local Republican campaign on a leave of absence without pay. Asked how they leaned in the Rioux- Richard race, 78 interviewees said “Rioux,” 38 said “Richard,” 65 said “don’t know,” and 17 “refused” to answer. Mrs. Rubenstein said enrollment checks done after numerical selection was made of the interviewees showed that of the 198 persons, 54 per cent (107) were Republicans, 24 per cent (48) were Democrats, 20 per cent (40) were “independents,” and two per cent were “others.” The distribution coincided pretty much with the Town’s enrollment figures, she noted, adding that the figure for the Democrats was “a little high.” Other Seats A question concerning the Demo­ cratic and Republican candidates for other Town Board seats resulted in 99 interviewees favoring Councilwoman Mary Fallon (R); 89 for Hugh King Sr. (R); 28 for Deborah Perry (D), and 26 for Russ Coughlin (D). Continued on Page 16 Richard, Rioux Heard Twenty-five candidates trooped into the Montauk Fire House Saturday night for the political forum convened each fall by the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, a non-partisan, environ­ mentally oriented group that one of the assembled politicians described as “the conscience of Montauk.” They came in all shapes and sizes. There were tall candidates and short ones, fat ones and thin ones. There were young candidates, old candidates, and bearded candidates. There were also sugary candidates and salty candi­ dates, and raw candidates and season­ ed candidates. There were two candidates for the job of East Hampton Town Supervisor; four for Town Councilman; two each for Town Justice, Highway Superin­ tendent, Clerk, and Bay Constable; four for Town Assessor; three for Town Trustee; two for County Legis­ lator; and one each for County Clerk and District Attorney. Held Forth For three hours—first in speeches that were restricted to five minutes each for the Town Board and County candidates, two each for the others, and then under questioning from the sizeable audience—they held forth in their various styles on taxes, nuclear power, offshore oil, highways, gam­ bling, their records, their families, their love for East Hampton, and road sweepers, among other things. How the opposing candidates differ­ ed on issues that were of concern to the Citizens, if they differed at all, was seldom clear from the opening speech­ es. Those who mentioned nuclear power, for example, all said they were against it. The same went for the idea that Montauk’s Fort Pond Bay might become a port for offshore oil. Several of the Republican candidates stressed their distaste for high taxes, but nobody argued that such taxes were good. A couple of distinctions were un­ covered later by Citizens’ questions, however. Ronald Rioux, for example, the Republican candidate for Super­ visor, was asked to explain a statement in a recent Star interview, that he had professed a wait-and-see attitude on casino gambling: what was he waiting for, and what did he expect to see? Gambling . He explained that he wanted to see how gambling “works out” in New Jersey. Many in the audience grumbled at this, brightening up a moment later when Russell Coughlin, a Democratic candidate for Councilman, declared that “gambling produces nothing but headaches, period.” Earlier, Mr. Coughlin had said he would “fight like hell to stop it.” Mary Ella Richard, the Democratic candidate for Supervisor, also said she didn't favor allowing it here. Councilwoman Mary Fallon, a Re­ publican seeking reelection, joined the Democrats on this issue and went a step further, saying she hoped within the next few weeks to propose a Town ordinance that would ban gambling here if it is legalized in the State. “A resolution really has no binding power,” she observed, referring to one the Town Board had passed two weeks earlier, saying it opposed gambling. “It’s the ordinance that would.” That resolution, as was pointed out by Deborah Perry, the other Democratic candidate for Councilwoman, had been proposed by Larry Cantwell, a Demo­ cratic Councilman who is not up for reelection this year, having originally been suggested by the Concerned Citizens. Another distinction of sorts emerged when Richard Johnson, a vice presi­ dent of CCOM, demanded of Mr. Rioux and Mrs. Richard a “no-nonsense answer to one basic question: do you or do you not support an extension of the Sunrise Highway to Napeague?” The Citizens had strenuously opposed this project. Highway “I definitely do want relief,” Mr. Rioux replied, arguing that the Mon­ tauk Highway's congestion created an “emergency” by slowing down ambu­ lances. He suggested he would prefer a project he had proposed several years ago: a bypass built along the Long Island Rail Road’s right-of-way. But would he support an extension of the same four-lane Sunrise Highway that now existed west of Southamp­ ton?, Mr. Johnson persisted. “If we can’t get roast beef we should settle for Continued on Page 16 Council F eels Ignored The East Hampton Conservation Advisory Council, formed several years ago to research environmental ques­ tions and advise local authorities on matters of conservation, has found itself recently with little to do. The problem isn’t a lack of local environmental issues, but an apparent lack of interest in the Council by other Town bodies. The problem was dis­ cussed Monday night at the Council’s monthly meeting. In fact, there was little else for the Council to discuss. Julius Brown, a Council member from Sag Harbor, said the Council was supposed to advise the Town Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Town Board, and Town Trustees, among others, on conservation matters. None of those bodies, however, had sought the Council’s advice, even when they had before them various proposals that involved conservation questions, Mr. Brown said. Presumably other Town boards feared they would lose some of their own authority if they involved another panel in their work. “They each have their own bailiwick,” Mr. Brown said. A Chance Mr. Brown said he was not inter­ ested in usurping any other board’s power. He just wanted the Council, which is made up of people from various parts of Town with a variety of interests, given a chance to comment on proposals that concern environ­ mental questions. The fact that the Council’s advice is not sought, he said, gave credence to charges that local government is not responsive to the public. Elbert T. Edwards, chairman of the Council, went a step further than Mr. Brown. He said it had been the original intent that the Council take on the function of reviewing all applications for building permits on wetlands. After it got organized and underway, he said, it was supposed to ascend to “board” status. Mr. Edwards suggested the Council assert its claims to some authority in a letter to the Town Board, but Mr. Brown objected to taking such a formal approach. He suggested, instead, that the Council invite officials from various Town boards to its meetings and in that way establish better liaison. Copies It was also agreed that the Council request copies of all applications for building permits as they come into Town Hall. Mr. Brown noted that the Council had not always been excluded from things as it has been recently. In the past, he said, it reviewed all local projects requiring Army Corps of Engineers approval, and was involved in studies and discussions of the proposed extension of the Sunrise Highway, before the South Fork Trans­ portation Task Force was formed in 1975. The Council stopped reviewing appli­ cations sent to the Army Corps of Engineers, Mr. Edwards said, during Supervisor Judith Hope’s administra­ tion, when the Council unknowingly issued an advisory on a project which had already been approved. The prob­ lem, he said, was that the Council met only once a month, and some applica­ tions would come in and be approved between meetings. The Council has, on its own initia­ tive, researched and discussed various issues confronting the Town, such as Dr. Robert Valenti’s proposal for a fish farm at either Pond of Pines, Na­ peague, or Promised Land. Memo­ randums have been written about such issues, but they are not always acknowledged. The Council was dis­ continued on Page 5 EAST HAMPTON, N X THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1977 The Lane John Spear r Town Motel Study Resurfaces The controversial motel study com­ missioned by East Hampton Town officials more than two years ago has resurfaced, partially revised by its author, Town planner Thomas Thor- sen. Mr. Thorsen has given the study back to the Town Planning Board, which requested certain revisions after a critical review of the report 13 months ago, when it was first released. The Board charged at that time that some of Mr. Thorsen’s figures were “inaccurate” and that certain key information was missing from his survey of existing motel facilities. In memorandums written to the Board since then, Mr. Thorsen has taken issue with some of criticisms made of his report. But he has agreed with the Planning Board on other points and updated data and revised the report as requested. No changes, though, were made in the concluding chapter of the report, which sets forth the planner’s recommendations for controlling future motel growth in the Town. Specifics Those recommendations were, and still are, that certain areas in Town now zoned for motel use — those west of Fort Pond, west of Ditch Plains Road, and southeast of Fleming Road in Montauk, and west of the Arrows Motel at Napeague — be zoned for house lots, and that the density allowed in the remaining motel-zoned areas be reduced to eight units per acre in some cases, 16 in others, and a maximum of 40 in the Montauk business district. Planning Board members never re­ vealed their feelings about Mr. Thor­ sen’s recommendations because they were waiting first for the Town planner to revise the report’s factual data. In a memorandum last year, Armand DeRose, Board chairman, stated: “Consideration of the recom­ mendations should be withheld until after all changes have been made in the motel report.” Mr. Thorsen agreed with the contention in another memo written by him to the Planning Board last May. However, he evidently felt the new data collected since that time did not warrant any changes in his original recommendations. If tlje Planning Board endorses Mr. Thorsen’s report, Mr. DeRose said it would be forwarded to the Town Board as a recommended amendment to the Town Comprehensive Plan, itself un­ der review at present. Napeague The Town Board has already acted on Mr. Thorsen’s recommendation to upzone land at Napeague to residential use. That recommendation was made in the Comprehensive Plan eight years ago. The Town did not get around to upzoning the 38-acre parcel, however, until Aug. 30, 1976, after a developer unveiled his plans for a 424-unit motel there, and the Town has subsequently been sued for its action. The property’s owner, Samuel Ru­ bin, offered to construct a smaller motel on the site, but the Town Board did not accept the compromise and rezoned the property for one-acre house lots. The East Hampton Town Planning Board’s approval of a 31-lot subdivision oh a 43-acre oceenfront parcel at Amagansett has been upheld by the Suffolk County Supreme Court. The decision, handed down this week by Judge John G. McCarthy, clears the way for “Gansett Dunes,” a controver­ sial subdivision proposal between Mako Lane and Treasure Island Drive that has been held up by legal entangle­ ments for four and a half years. The Planning Board’s approval of the subdivision had been challenged by the Group for America’s South Fork with the support of various other conserva­ tion groups, who insisted the Board had the right and the obligation to require a clustering of the proposed house lots at the interior or northerly side of the property below Bluff Road. The Group charged that construction of houses along the primary dunes, as the developer proposed, jeopardized the health and safety of residents of the area, among other things, and ignored regulations of the Federal Flood Insur­ ance Administration. Second Action The suit was the second legal action taken by the Group against the developers, Seymour Schutz, Julian The suit remains unresolved. In the meantime, another developer has proposed a 208-unit motel for another of the parcels Mr. Thorsen has recommended for residential use — a piece of property across the street from the deserted Montauk Manor, on a hilltop overlooking Tuthill Pond and Fort Pond Bay. Plans for the new motel were revealed last May by a group of investors calling themselves the Fort Pond Bay Development Company, which purchased the tract. Mr. Haas said at that time that he did not see how the Town could legally block construction of the motel project until the Planning Board adopted the recom­ mendations of Mr. Thorsen’s motel study as an amendment to the Com­ prehensive Plan. Many of the revisions in the motel Rosner, and Maurice Low. The first suit was brought in 1973, after the Planning Board gave preliminary ap­ proval to a plan for 35 lots. The Group won its case, and the Board’s prelimin­ ary approval was annulled by the Court. In June, 1975, the developers brought in a new plan for 31 lots, which, after public hearings on the proposal, was approved by the Board in December, 1976. The Group then brought its second suit against Gansett Dunes. Decision In rendering his decision this week, Justice McCarthy said that he found no evidence the Planning Board violated lawful procedures in its handling of the subdivision application. Moreover there was no proof that the Board’s decision was affected by errors of law, was arbitrary or capricious, he said. “It is evident that the Board consid­ ered several development proposals before it eventually approved a plat after imposing reasonable conditions and that it determined that the land was safe and suitable for building, that the dune area would be adequately protected, as would be the community health, safety and welfare,” he wrote. “The Court is further convinced that the Board’s investigation of all factors study recently made by Mr. Thorsen concern the acreage of existing motel lots in the Town. The Planning Board said last year that Mr. Thorsen’s figures on acreage were incorrect. In tabulating the total area of waterfront motels, Mr. Thorsen had included underwater parcels and beach areas, the Planning Board charged, a mis­ calculation that threw off the planner’s density figures and his units-per-acre calculations. Another revision Mr. Thorsen made was the exclusion from the report of a handful of motels which the Planning Board felt were “not business opera­ tions in the sense of a motel industry,” but were businesses conducted “more in the spirit of casual or seasonal rentals.” Continued on Page 2 was more than adequate and that its determination is amply supported by factual findings in the record,” he stated. Specifics Some of the specific charges brought by the Group in its suit against the Planning Board, and the Board’s an­ swers to those charges, are as follows: Group: The subdivision violated the Town zoning ordinance because it designated “unsafe lands” as building sites. Board: Four public hearings on the proposed development failed to reveal any evidence that the subdivision would present a “danger to health or peril from flood, fire or other menace.” Group: The Planning Board did not adequately weigh the dangers to residents of the area which construc­ tion on the dunes would create. Board: The six oceanfront lots are set back 100 feet from the 15-foot contour line, as required by law. There has been no major flooding of this site as a result of ocean breakthrough. Pedestrian traffic over the dunes from adjacent residential areas poses as great a threat to the destruction of the dunes left in their natural state as does Continued on Page 4 Gansett D imes Upheld VOL. XGpJ, NO. 7

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