BREAKING NEWS: Ørsted starts test drilling and Wainscott starts incorporation proceedings to create the Village of Wainscott

June 22, 2020

As many of you have now witnessed, Ørsted (a.k.a. Deepwater) began test drilling today to further its long-term effort to target Wainscott as the location for its high-power, 138,000-volt electric cables for its proposed sub-scale windfarm. This precipitous action followed the company reneging on its promises to pursue alternative options to landing cables in Wainscott. The East Hampton Town Board and the EastHampton Trustees – each of whom is trading access to Wainscott for money from Ørsted – continue to abet the company’s single-minded focus on Wainscott. Their bull-IMG_6965headed facilitation ignores recently identified alternative routes that are less impactful to the community.

Fortunately, the Town’s abuse of the Wainscott community does not leave us without recourse. Wainscott’s citizens can pursue self-determination and declare independence. The Exploratory Committee for the Incorporation of Wainscott plans to initiate incorporation proceedings on, appropriately, July 4. You can now register for individual slots that weekend to sign the official petition, which requests an electoral vote. Please go to our online calendar sign-up sheet (click here) to secure your slot on July 4 or 5 to sign in person (as required) between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Wainscott Chapel.

Incorporation as the Village of Wainscott would allow us to exercise greater control over our zoning and provide more cost-effective services. As a Village – like our neighbors in the Villages of East Hampton, Sagaponack and Sag Harbor – Wainscott could:

  1. Exercise all available power to influence the decision on whether Ørsted can land its high-power electric cables in Wainscott when other less-impactful alternatives have now been identified and remain available;
  2. Better control our local and school taxes, through more disciplined financial management and control over zoning issues (e.g., multi-family housing);
  3. Help reduce airport noise at and shape the future of the East Hampton Airport once current Federal Aviation Administration restrictions expire next year (2021) – discussions and studies are already underway about restrictions as well as potential alternative uses; this will affect Wainscott more than any other part of East Hampton;
  4. Better address the recent zoning proposal to subdivide the 70.5-acre sand and gravel pit in the heart of Wainscott into 50 commercial and industrial plots;
  5. Set and enforce lower speed limits in Wainscott (which certain Towns are not able to do, but Villages can) and improve dangerous vehicular traffic conditions;
  6. Protect our unique agricultural heritage, better advocate for our local farmers, and preserve the unique, bucolic characteristics through more responsive zoning;
  7. Enact more stringent energy conservation and green zoning rules; and
  8. Better remediate the water contamination, likely from the Town-controlled airport, which resulted in the State declaring 47 acres a State Superfund site. Half our community has not been hooked up to the municipal water system.

We would, in essence, have the representative government we do not now have – and need more than ever – as an incorporated Village within East Hampton. Today none of the 14+ elected officials are from Wainscott. We receive fewer benefits than we pay in taxes. Moreover, as the smallest hamlet (with, cynically, the fewest votes), the Town Board majority believes it can ignore your opinions (and consistently does). While the Town calls Wainscott ‘the gateway’ to East Hampton, it treats us more like its doormat.

Based on the initial findings from 11 months of research with law firms (including Bee Ready Fishbein Hatter & Donovan), municipal finance consultants and accountants, surveyors, the Suffolk County Village Officials Association, and public affairs advisors we have engaged, we are excited to start the incorporation of Wainscott as a village.

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

  1. Make sure you register to vote in Wainscott by June 26 (Fri.) in order to sign the incorporation petition and be allowed to vote (click here for the voter registration forms or register online here);
  2. Reserve your spot now to sign the formal incorporation petition in person on July 4 or 5 through our online calendar (click here); and
  3. Volunteer to be part of the Exploratory Committee for the Incorporation of Wainscott (email us at incorporation@wainscott.org)

* * *

You now see for yourself the result of a lack of a representative government. Given the Town continues to ignore our community’s desires – as it has to date with the hamlet’s overwhelming opposition to landing electric power cables in Wainscott when it is now abundantly clear that better alternate options exist – we cannot expect any different on any of other issues we face. We will exercise our right to control local zoning.

We are looking forward to this new path. We also wish you a safe and healthy summer,

Gouri.Edlich@wainscott.org