What are our shared values, Make your voices heard!
“This is not an aesthetic or cultural preference, preferring parks to malls, for example. This is about understanding that our natural systems are at a tipping point, that every isolated decision is, in fact, a global decision, a choice to support or undermine our community health and well-being.”
Len Green, ChangeHampton
THE WAINSCOTT COMMERCIAL CENTER
Our community,quality of life, drinking water and environment are all at stake with the proposed development called the Wainscott Commercial Center, the largest industrial subdivision on the South Fork, a 70.5 acre former sand and gravel pit (more than twice the size of Bridgehampton Commons) where developers are proposing 50 industrial/ commercial lots for warehouses, manufacturing, workshops, storage, distribution, potential fuel storage etc.)
Aerial view of proposed WCC 70.5 acre development stretching from the airport in the north to Rte 27. Georgica Pond is on right.
IT’S TIME TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!
1. Make a public statement at the Public hearing on Feb. 8 at LTV Studios, 75 Industrial Rd, Wainscott from 3 to 5:30 pm and then from 6:30 pm on.Your presentation should be 2 to 3 mins. and state substantial reasons for your opposition. See key issues outlined below. Channel 22 or live stream by You-tube or on the LTV website.
2. You can dial in to speak your piece: 351-888-6331. Your voice and opinions are more effective if you rehearse and prepare.
3. Write and submit a letter even whether you are publicly speaking or not. Send it to the Planning Board Secretary, Jodi Walker: JWalker@ehamptonny.gov Or call Jodi if you have questions about your emailed statement: 631-324-2696. Written comments are accepted until Feb 28, 2023.
Below find important info regarding the upcoming Feb 8 hearing. It has the information requested to accompany all letters to the planning board.
EMAILS: Please indicate you would like your comments to be part of a public record. Please include in your email: your name, the name of the application you are commenting on (if applicable) as well as the Suffolk County Tax Map Number (SCTM#) and/or address, where possible.”
TRAFFIC If this proposal is accepted by the Town it will lead to massive escalation of traffic on an already overwhelmed traffic artery on the South Fork, Rte. 27, causing even more pollution and delays at a traffic light in Wainscott that already causes serious back-ups. The impediment for emergency vehicles could potentially be disastrous. Studies estimate this development will lead to 300 round trips per hour, during peak times, entering and exiting Rte. 27. Twenty percent of the traffic will go the back route from the property to Hwy 114 into and through the village of Sag Harbor. Imagine a 48 ft trailer trying to make a left hand turn onto Bay Street with is pedestrian traffic.
WATER This part of Wainscott, surrounding the East Hampton airport sits on the main, key water re-charge area supplying the drinking water for all of East Hampton.The East Hampton Airport is a designated SuperFund site, contaminated with PFAS from fire-retardant use at the airport.Those PFAS were found in test wells under the WCC site by a hydrology survey evaluating the proposal.“Wainscott is unique in the town of East Hampton for its groundwater, having the largest volume of ground and drinking water resources in the entire town.” —East Hampton Town Water Resources Management PlanThe potential for unsafe levels of nitrogen from 50 septic tanks over top of our single aquifer for the area’s drinking water aquifer—even if they are the mandated new I/A septic systems leaching minimal nitrogen—they are adding 50 x more nitrogen leachate than previously occurred on this site.Water travels horizontally and vertically. Vertically descending water travels much faster than horizontal…it only takes days for contaminated water to leach into our singe source aquifer.“Groundwater under the sandpit flows directly from the proposed development site into Georgica Pond. The average travel time of groundwater (horizontal movement) is 6.6 years. The projected pollution will degrade water quality and the environment.” —Draft Environmental Impact StudyGeorgica Pond is a fragile and vulnerable near shore waterbody. The added nitrogen—including 21% that falls from the air onto surface water—would potentially lead to more dangerous algae blooms, and dead marine life.Climate Change – Soil & The Nitrogen Cycle on Youtube
DRIVEWAYS, PARKING & BUILDINGS CREATE IMPERVIOUS SURFACES A DISASTER FOR OUR ECO-SYSTEMS ABOVE AND BELOW THE GROUND The developers have proposed some 16% of the property be planted in rain gardens for water run-off. Native trees, grasses and plants with their deep root systems provide many eco-services for us: cleaning toxins from the soil, absorbing nitrogen and carbon. In rain storms producing heavy run-off, a few rain gardens cannot absorb the chemical flow from the paved surfaces. And since 21% of our nitrogen comes from the air, native plants and trees help to absorb that so it doesn’t end up on hard surfaces that flow into our ground water.
ChangeHampton’s Len Green explains...
Consider the consequences of adding impervious, sealed surfaces to a 70 acre subdivision in a protected water zone. This is an assault on our ecosystems that naturally filter our groundwater and structure the soil.
“Sealing, a term that describes any impermeable layer between the above-ground and below-ground environment effectively suffocates the soil. The result of urbanization and the widespread use of asphalt and concrete, it causes the death of most soil organisms. It can also damage areas beyond the local environment, as displaced water runs off to other areas where it may cause flooding or erosion.”
The WCC proposal seems to recognize this and calls for 16% of every future lot to be dedicated to rain gardens or bio-filters needed to capture the run-off that will be produced by hardened surfaces. Contaminated run-off, however is only one outcome of compacted and sealed soil. Rain gardens do not function in isolation. They are part of a complex ecosystem, most of which lives underground.
“The great strength of soil comes from the life that exists within it—soil biodiversity—ranging from genes and species to communities. A single teaspoon of garden soil may contain thousands of species, millions of individuals, and a hundred meters of fungal networks. This diverse ecosystem performs a variety of functions. It processes waste organic matter to sustain life above the ground from plants to animals to humans; it regulates the carbon flux and the water cycle…and decontaminates polluted land.”
Removing the natural ecosystems that sustain biodiversity, sequester carbon and manage the nutrient cycle (think nitrogen, the source of Georgica Ponds’ algal blooms), is how we arrived at the impoverishment we live in today.
This is not about planting rain gardens. It is about providing the whole system of support that native plant communities require to thrive and in return support us.
TO SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY, OUR HEALTH, OUR ENVIRONMENT?
When making our voices heard we need to speak up for what we would like to see on these 70 acres.
Since they sit on top of our precious aquifer for East Hampton we should be talking about restorative landscaping—planting keystone trees, grasses and plants that will do the hard eco-system work we need to protect our water shed and drinking water.
In the Wainscott Hamlet Study of 2018, the community proposed affordable housing, a park and some commercial spaces for this site. What do you think?
We need to think about our future, the health of our community, our families, our loved ones who live, work and vacation here. We need to speak up for what we value. And for a sustainable and resilient future.
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