Tag Archive | "Bob Malafronte"

Sag Harbor CAC Hosts Sustainability Co-Chairman

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By Stephen J. Kotz

Members of the Sag Harbor Citizens Advisory Committee on Friday were briefed on everything from the Sandy Hollow affordable housing complex to prospects for a townwide ban on plastic shopping bags.

Dieter von Lehsten, the co-chairman of the Southampton Town Sustainability Committee, told the small gathering that opposition to the 28-unit Sandy Hollow affordable housing complex, was “more emotional than factual.”

The Southampton Town Board on Thursday, June 12, approved a Planned Development District allowing the apartments to be built after months of contentious hearings that saw widespread opposition to the development from neighbors.

Mr. von Lehsten said the sustainabilty committee supported the project but added that housing it would provide was a small drop in the bucket considering  the vast shortage of affordable housing in Southampton.

The town board’s unanimous decision in support “was not a political decision, but an essential one,” he said.

“You can never ever have a project where everyone is happy,” said Mr. von Lehsten. “The town council, I can say without reservation, put a lot of work into making sure everything was covered.”

CAC members said they were interested in learning about the Sandy Hollow project because of the need for affordable housing Sag Harbor.

“This is something that could be placed in Sag Harbor,” said John Lindner, the CAC’s co-chairman. “We have $2 million from Bulova. If we had a direction for that, we could say here is a builder, here’s something that worked. We can do the same thing.”

Committee members also queried Mr. von Lehsten on the status of Sand Land, a sand mine and mulching operation on Millstone Road in Noyac, which has come into the crosshairs of the Noyac Civic Council because of concerns that its operations could be polluting the groundwater.

Mr. von Lehsten said a court decision ordering the company to curtail much of its operations had been overturned and it is now operating legally. He said at this point, it is up to the state Department of Environmental Conservation to make sure that the operation does not violate the terms of its permits.

Mr. von Lehsten also explained that the sustainability committee is working on a climate action plan for the town that would recognize the threat of global warming and offer ideas for combating it and working on ways to lessen groundwater pollution from septic systems.

He praised East Hampton Town’s recently enacted goal to provide 100 percent of the community’s electricity need with renewable sources by 2020, even if he did think it ambitious.
“If they could get 50 percent by 2020, it would be a fantastic success,” he said.

Mr. von Lehsten also said the sustainability committee was working on getting the town to ban the use of plastic shopping bags, as East Hampton and Southampton villages have already done.

An estimated 23 million plastic bags are used in town each year, he said, with only a fraction being recycled. The committee agreed it would throw its support behind a plastic bag ban. “It’s a foregone conclusion,” Mr. von Lehsten said. “Why can’t we be on the forefront and not behind?”

 

At Sag Harbor CAC Meeting, Four in Attendance Focus on Recruitment

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By Tessa Raebeck

With just four people in attendance, the discussion at Friday’s meeting of the Sag Harbor Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) centered on recruitment.

CAC Chairman John Linder was joined by members Susan Baran, Eric Cohen and Bob Malafronte in expressing the need for better visibility and outreach in efforts to enlist new members for the all-volunteer group.

During the 1980s, the Town of Southampton organized ten CACs, volunteer branches of government designed for the town’s hamlet areas, in order to more effectively address localized issues and concerns.

In Bridgehampton, the CAC is a driving force on local policy that has dozens of members. With no elected government in Bridgehampton, the CAC largely operates as the hamlet’s vocal leadership.

Sag Harbor’s CAC, however, has enacted few legislative actions over the past several years and has seen its numbers dwindle. The town’s website lists eight active members of the CAC, but meetings this year have seen only four or five in attendance.

In cards designed by Malafronte to solicit new members, the CAC asks for those who are concerned, caring and committed to the Sag Harbor community to join. The cards outline the CAC’s primary areas of focus as the East Hampton Airport, water quality, pollution of the bays, over development and traffic.

“I would say our history – at least in terms of intention – is legislative,” Linder said at the meeting Friday evening. “We do want to see legislative changes.”

The group discussed bringing town board members Brad Bender and Bridget Fleming to future meetings as guests, in order to both let them know of the group’s goals and to draw in interested attendees.

A goal for the New Year is developing a community email list that would include the members of similar local groups, such as Save Sag Harbor, to expedite communication with like-minded individuals.

The CAC also contemplated visiting Pierson Middle/High School to educate students on the different avenues of government and how such grassroots organizations work.

“I’m always amazed at what people don’t know about that affects their property values,” said Linder. “If people know what outlets they have to participate in their community, they don’t have to participate, but maybe one day they will. Or they’ll tell their friends and neighbors – or somebody.”

“If we could just get two or three [members],” he added, “that would be fine, we don’t need a landslide here.”

The next meeting of the Sag Harbor CAC will be held January 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the Pierson Middle/High School library. For information, call 725-6067.