BREAKING NEWS: Process launched to incorporate the Village of Wainscott

May 19, 2020

I hope this note finds you and all your loved ones safe and healthy.

Building upon recent updates, we wanted to share important news: We have formed the Exploratory Committee for the Incorporation of Wainscott. Given multiple once-in-a-generation zoning-related issues in Wainscott as well as the Town’s continued lack of responsiveness to our community, many of you have encouraged us to exercise our constitutional right to greater home rule.

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

  1. Better address the recent zoning proposal to subdivide the 70.5-acre sand and gravel pit in the heart of Wainscott along Rt. 27 into 50 commercial and industrial plots [Read article];
  2. Help 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 [Read article];
  3. Significantly influence the decision on whether Ørsted (a.k.a. Deepwater) can land its high-power electric cables in Wainscott when other less-impactful alternatives have now been uncovered and that the Town Board and Trustees (each of whom are seeking money from Ørsted) as well as the company are willfully ignoring [Read our April update];
  4. 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;
  5. Protect our unique agricultural heritage, better advocate for our local farmers, and preserve the unique, bucolic characteristics through more responsive zoning;
  6. Enact more stringent energy conservation and green zoning rules; and
  7. Better remediate the contamination of our water, likely from the Town-controlled airport, which resulted in the State declaring 47 acres of the airport a State Superfund site last summer. Still more than half our community has not been hooked up to the municipal water system as of February [Read article].

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 East Hampton officials are from Wainscott. Moreover, as the smallest hamlet (with, cynically, the fewest votes), the majority of the Town Board 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 10 months of research with law firms (including Bee Ready Fishbein Hatter & Donovan LLP), municipal finance consultants, surveyors, the Suffolk County Village Officials Association, and public affairs advisors we have engaged, we are now prepared to formally explore the incorporation of Wainscott as a village.

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

  1. We need you to make sure you are registered to vote in Wainscott no later than Friday, June 19, in order to sign the forthcoming petition to incorporate and then be allowed to vote (click here to download the voter registration form);
  2. Volunteer to be part of the Exploratory Committee for the Incorporation of Wainscott (email us at incorporation@wainscott.org); and
  3. Let us know what questions you have (email us at incorporation@wainscott.org).

* * *

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 can – and need to – exercise our constitutional right to control local zoning issues.

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

Gouri.Edlich@wainscott.org

http://www.wainscott.org

Recently conducted independent analysis shows Hither Hills State Park to be superior route

Many alternative landing sites exist other than Beach Lane. Deepwater Wind itself proposed four alternative sites. Yet it was clear from the start that the private company wanted to land at Beach Lane; that site maximizes its own profits and financial returns to its investors.

A recent detailed and independent analysis of the project (as well as Deepwater’s own filings to the New York State Public Service Commission) shows that Beach Lane is an inferior site. PVE LLC, a full-service engineering and environmental consulting firm, and A. Page & Associates LLC, an energy consulting firm with expertise in electricity generation, transmission and distribution, and related regulatory proceedings, filed their independent findings with the New York P.S.C. on July 12, 2019.

ConsiderationsWainscottHither Hills
State Park
Consistent with past N.Y.
State practice of landing
power cables on State
Parks (e.g., Neptune,
Poseidon)
NoYes
Cable distance  
– Total (miles)65.561.1
– Submarine length (miles)61.449.6
Landfall site  
– Transition vault below water tableYesNo (40 feet
above)
– Landing Site within or adjacent to Active
Farm Field
YesNo
– Residential neighborhoodYesNo

Continue reading “Recently conducted independent analysis shows Hither Hills State Park to be superior route”

Stop Deepwater from destroying our beach and hamlet

Without additional community action, foreign-owned Deepwater Wind LLC will land its 230,000-volt electric cable on Beach Lane beach and then run 460,000-volt lines throughout Wainscott. While we are very supportive of alternative energy sources (e.g., wind, solar) and conservation, installing permanent power line infrastructure in the water and on land (including at least 20 permanent vaults the size of ocean shipping containers along the land route) will permanently alter an already fragile, eroding beach and community. Deepwater itself has identified multiple viable and more reasonable already-identified alternatives.

Continue reading “Stop Deepwater from destroying our beach and hamlet”

Assemblyman Thiele withdraws support, citing Deepwater’s “classic ‘bait and switch'” and “unethical tactics”

A former supporter of Deepwater and the South Fork Wind Farm, New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (District 1) withdrew his support for Deepwater on Jan. 24, 2019, once he had seen the new information. He wrote:

This is the classic “bait and switch.” What we were originally told about the project and its goals are no longer true. A project originally proposed by an American company to address the growing energy needs of eastern Long Island, now is to be part of the portfolio of an international energy giant, whose first decision was a 44% increase in the size of the project. We are left to imagine what other changes might be made or what other projects might show up on our doorstep in the future … Continue reading “Assemblyman Thiele withdraws support, citing Deepwater’s “classic ‘bait and switch’” and “unethical tactics””

Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, Inc., sends formal letter to Town Board to stop Deepwater from starting premature drilling

Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the hamlet, has now engaged capable environmental advisors and legal counsels, among other actions. We have written the Town Board to prevent Deepwater from prematurely starting by drilling 194 pits throughout Wainscott and boring two one-hundred-foot holes using heavy machinery.

See our full letter here: 2019-01-31 – E. Seiler Letter to Town of E. Hampton Board

Town-appointed committee votes 10-2 against Deepwater’s Wainscott landing site

The Town-appointed Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee (WCAC) overwhelmingly voted (10-2) against a Beach Lane landfall site in December due to community members voicing their concerns. They wrote the Town Board, who appointed them, on Christmas Eve:

It is evident in Exhibit 3 of the Public Service Commission filing, “South Fork Export Cable Landing Site Alternatives,” that there are numerous advantages to using the Hither Hills site. As a Town appointed body representing the people of Wainscott, the WCAC requests that the Town not grant an easement to Deepwater Wind to come on shore at Beach Lane. This request represents the large majority of the WCAC and Wainscott residents …

Continue reading “Town-appointed committee votes 10-2 against Deepwater’s Wainscott landing site”

Deepwater tries to pull a fast one and start drilling early … and members of the Town Board want to abet them

The implications of Deepwater and the Town Board’s lack of transparency and attention to the interests of Wainscott hamlet residents is now imminent. At a Town Board working session on January 15, 2019, Deepwater revealed to the public for the first time that they planned to start exploratory work in Wainscott immediately by:

  • Drilling nearly 194 pits throughout Wainscott and
  • Boring two one-hundred-foot holes using heavy machinery

along Beach Lane, Wainscott Main Street, Sayres Path, Wainscott Stone Road, and Wainscott Northwest Road. Consistent with its deceptive pattern of operations and clear contempt for East Hampton residents, Deepwater made no mention of any of this just 10 days earlier when they spent three hours at the heavily attended Wainscott community meeting on January 5 to (unsuccessfully) defend its overall project. Not one word.

The Town Board itself had been sitting on Deepwater’s request to start its work since at least December 19, 2018, without informing the public. Furthermore, at that January 15 Working Session, several members of the Town Board appeared ready to summarily approve Deepwater’s unvetted drilling plans as soon as it could be put on a meeting agenda – despite no details, no notice, no explanation, no impact evaluation, no input from the community … and no approval from the New York State Public Service Commission. (Remember, Deepwater’s application has not even been deemed complete, let alone approved.) We also sent a letter today (read here) that lays out major questions about how the bare majority on the Town Board has conducted itself and if their actions have been consistent with their obligations and duties. Indeed, we express our serious reservations as to the lack of information the Town Board possessed before making decisions as to acceding to Deepwater’s contention that Wainscott Beach is the best available landing site among the 70 miles of access points.

Continue reading “Deepwater tries to pull a fast one and start drilling early … and members of the Town Board want to abet them”

Town pulls a fast-one at Feb. 7 Board meeting, barely approving premature and accelerated drilling

Deepwater’s request to bore two 100-foot holes and dig 194 holes throughout Wainscott was not on the published Town Board agenda for Feb. 7. But without public notice (and inconsistent with good government practices), Supervisor Peter van Scoyoc brought the resolution up anyway. So without public comment, a narrow majority of the Town Board (3-2) voted to allow Deepwater to accelerate its plan to run its high-powered lines through Wainscott with these geological and archaeological test pits. If these ‘tests’ are not controversial, then why no public comment and such secrecy?

Continue reading “Town pulls a fast-one at Feb. 7 Board meeting, barely approving premature and accelerated drilling”

Actions you can take now

We need your help now and it is the perfect time for action. Deepwater filed with the New York State Public Service Commission (September 18, 2018) and the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (October 17, 2018) for permission to land its massive high-power cable on Beach Lane, one of the most popular public and scenic beaches in the Hamptons.

Your immediate action is needed:

1. Sign the petition. Please join hundreds of neighbors who have already signed our petition. You can sign online here;

2. Email the New York State Public Service Commission rejecting the proposed landing at Beach Lane. Under its Article VII review process, the Commission wants and solicits community comments. They matter a lot. Electronically submit them on the Public Service Commission website. Alternatively you can email your comments to secretary@dps.ny.gov (make sure to reference Case 18-T-0604 Application of Deepwater Wind South Fork);

Continue reading “Actions you can take now”

More than 1,000 sign petition and letter protests arbitrary Town Board decisions

We wrote the Town Board on Dec. 11, 2018, delivering the petition signed by more than 1,000 Wainscott community members

Dear Peter, Sylvia, Jeff, Kathee, and David,

The Town Board should revisit its decision of its intent to grant Deepwater Wind South Fork LLC an easement to land its high-power electric cables in Wainscott. Since July when the Board narrowly approved (3-2) a motion of your intent to grant an easement at Beach Lane, a fuller picture emerged of the multiple negative impacts on the hamlet.

Barely five weeks after its initial mid-September filing with the New York State Public Service Commission, Deepwater revealed plans with a greater adverse impact on Wainscott than was known by the Town Board members when you voted. For example, Deepwater more than doubled all the infrastructure to be built throughout the hamlet. Indeed, the resolution itself references an amount of volts that has been materially exceeded.

Continue reading “More than 1,000 sign petition and letter protests arbitrary Town Board decisions”