Categorized | Letters To The Editor

Letters to the Editor 6/28/12

Posted on 29 June 2012

Improve, Don’t Quit

Dear Editor:

Pierson Athletic Director, Montgomery Granger, summed up what’s wrong with the way some people view sports competition in schools in one sentence: “To put them (student athletes) in a more competitive class would be unhealthy for the kids.” (“Football is Nixed” – The Sag Harbor Express, June 21st).

How absolutely ridiculous a statement from someone who should know better. Does Mr. Granger think that when these students graduate from high school or college, the world of work will find a place for them to fit where they will not have to compete with anyone who has better skills, talents, education or experience? Nonsense! This country was founded on the premise that a person can compete and win regardless of what others might think of their talent or ability. Our history abounds with examples — Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and a horde of others.

The answer to improving a team’s ability to win football games surely isn’t whining about playing bigger schools and looking for diminished competition. In fact, finding the answer isn’t even the issue here. The question should be: What can we do as a combined team to improve our skills, play to our strengths, recruit players from both schools, and create a winning mind-set for our team. And that question starts with the athletic directors and the coaches. If that questions is not answered, whether or not Sag Harbor students play at East Hampton….the final tally of wins versus losses will not change for East Hampton’s varsity football program.

Judith Lankau

Sag Harbor

Sag Harbor/Greenport Ferry

Dear Editor:

During the summer, the streets of Sag Harbor are jammed to the point of barely moving, the shops are crowded, and getting a seat at a restaurant on a summer day, or night, is an exercise in patience.

So who exactly, aside from the Hampton Jitney, maybe Greenport, and possibly the Sag Harbor town and school boards, is benefiting from the “economic development” that Mr. Schneiderman and other officials keep touting with regard to the proposed ferry between Sag Harbor and Greenport?

The last time a ferry ran out of Sag Harbor ice cream was sold and window shoppers spent a lot of time asking where they could find a bathroom, but that was it. Why do we think day-trippers coming to town this time will be more apt to spend money in the above mentioned crowded shops and restaurants?

As to “parking,” the plan has more of an air of Russian roulette to it than town planning … just keep passing the problem around until some unfortunate area of the village is forced to take the bullet. In keeping with the parking point, do we really need more lost drivers than we already have driving around without a clue as to where they are, or that maybe they shouldn’t just stop dead in the middle of the street while they figure it out?

We are told the ferry service will position people who can direct their customers to the parking lots at Pierson; just who and where will these people be and what streets will they be forcing traffic up? Even if the lot plan made sense, and I’m not saying it does, why are we to believe that ferry customers will even use the dedicated lot and shuttle?

Given the choice between parking a mile away from a destination and taking a shuttle bus, or first trying to find a closer place to park before submitting to a shuttle bus, most people will choose the latter. Any resident whose home has a shorter radius to Long Wharf than that of Pierson to Long Wharf is likely to see an increase in traffic and parking on their street. Most of us are not foolish and can see that for what it is worth…even MORE confusion on the village streets!

Further, while they are giving ferry customers questionnaires to get their opinions on the ferry service, maybe they should think about giving questionnaires to village residents to get our opinions on the ferry service; this is easily done with a bulk mailing to all village residents … the village knows our addresses, it’s the same ones they send our tax bills to. Or maybe this needs to be a referendum vote on Election Day this November, let the village residents have the final word on what is and isn’t good for our town.

I do want to commend May Castleberry, Michael FitzGerald, and Janis Donnaud on their Letters to the Editor which appeared in the June 7th issue of the Sag Harbor Express, they all hit the proverbial nails on the head.

This ferry service is not development, economic or any other kind, for Sag Harbor; it’s just another way for non-residents to make money while the people who call Sag Harbor home are driven off the streets, and out of the shops and restaurants into their houses … until, of course, the day after Labor Day finally arrives.


Anne Springer

Sag Harbor

Bring House Into Compliance

Dear Bryan:

This letter is in response to the article  “Hellman Application OK Despite Neighbors” (June 21, 2012).  As one of the neighbors mentioned in the article, I would like to state that that the neighbors and I are not opposed to a variance as long as long as it has been carefully considered and that the Village can verify what is to be done.

Therefore, I am mystified by the ZBA’s hasty 4 – 1 approval of Hellman’s application for a variance to 90 Madison Street. This is a variance requested only after the exposure of many irregularities and misrepresentations by the applicant to legalize the reconstruction, after it was completed.

Anthony Hagen, a member of the ZBA, was most uncomfortable with this case. In a 10 line letter, dated May 24th, Mr. Hellman requested an amended pyramid law variance at the last minute, which included no dimensions or plans as to what is to be removed and what will be built in it’s place.

The letter only stated that “modifications will be made to the existing rooflines…and that the percentage of relief required is less than one-half of one percent of the gross cubic footage area of the entire project”. How can this be verified? Mr. Hagen attempted to point out that there are no underlying dimensions for this current request from Mr. Hellman to show what will be removed and what will be built in its place, to comply with the Village Building Code.

In opposition, Mr. Michael Bromberg, also a member of the ZBA, stated quite emphatically, that the ZBA could not deny Mr. Hellman’s request because they had just approved another  pyramid law variance at 238 Madison Street for 190 cubic feet and that set a precedent for this approval. What Mr. Bromberg ignored was that this applicant was following all the rules and regulations and had not yet started construction, whereas Mr. Hellman was doing just the opposite.

I wish to thank Anthony Hagen for trying to ensure that the granting of this variance was carefully thought through and not too hastily decided

My hope is that the village attorney, Denise Schoen, who has taken the time to be aware of the complexities of this case, will determine that this variance needs to be conditioned upon the Village’s receipt of concrete dimensions and plans. This will allow the Building Department to police the partial demolition of this illegal structure and the reconstruction to bring it into compliance with those 2011 plans approved by the ARB.


Marla W. Schwenk

Sag Harbor

The Airport’s New Clothes

Dear Editor;

A beautiful Friday, June 22nd, was completely spoiled as we were assaulted by the sound of approximately twenty-five (25) helicopters on their approach to the East Hampton Airport. In addition, there were multiple jets and winged aircraft, all identifiable due to low altitudes. Each aircraft flew directly over our home.

The noise levels made discussion outside impossible.  Inside, with windows shut, the noise remained intolerable. Our house shook from the vibrations.

Thirty years ago I purchased a parcel of land on which to build our home because it was far from noise of any kind. Near the Northwest Trails, Chatfield’s Pond and surrounded by preserve, our family lived in peace and quiet. If we heard any aircraft at all, it was most likely a small plane, far away in the distance.

Three years ago our lives changed.

The Town of East Hampton’s elected officials’ response to our, and our community members who also suffer the onslaught of aircraft noise disturbance, is to install a tower that will purportedly curtail noise as they insist it will spread the aircraft traffic to all areas, thus we will all “share” these egregious aircraft assaults. Their solution is as ridiculous as the “Emperor’s New Clothes.”  The tower and additional runway will serve only to encourage more, not less, air traffic. Additional aircraft traffic means more noise. It is that simple.

The town and certain special interest groups don’t want you to see it this way so they repeatedly attempt to manipulate and obfuscate the truth so they can give away our rights to ownership of the airport and hand it over to the FAA, including our desire for peace and quiet. Maintaining ownership of the airport by the Town of East Hampton is essential if we are to combat the noise problem.

From the North Fork to the South Fork, it is the increase in aircraft that is the culprit. Specifically, but not limited to, helicopters whose owners are but the top one percent of our community members. It is to those select few travelers that our town administrators seem to be committed, not the everyday working family/person of our communities.

To our neighbors on the North and South Forks; this affects us all, and will for generations to come. Call the airport hotline: 537-LOUD.  Contact for helicopter complaints.  Contact Quiet Skies Coalition for more information:

Lastly, for the record; I was taught to fly as a young girl by my father. I love to fly and come from a family of pilots. We are glad we have a small town airport…let’s keep it that way.


Susan McGraw Keber

East Hampton

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