We were disappointed with the News-Review editorial last Thursday about the Town Board’s vote to approve special permits for the “Village at Jamesport” development. However, we recognize that perspectives differ and reasonable people can disagree on the assessment of advantages and disadvantages such approval brings to the community.
Nevertheless, we are very concerned about the process by which the special permits were approved. It was virtually impossible for any of us in the community to learn what was happening. We had no way to know that a Final Environmental Impact Statement was filed last July, six months before the Town Board acted on it. We also had no idea the Town Board was going to vote on it in December until reading about it in the News-Review. And, at no point did the Town Board encourage input from the public before voting on the special permits.
We recognize the difficult position the Town Board is in as it tries to balance the rights of property owners with the interests of the community. This is precisely why civil discourse is so important.
One small step to shed more light on an opaque process would be for the News-Review to use its website to keep readers informed as projects like this are filed and moved through the system. Perhaps the town could use its new website in the same way. Community members shouldn’t be caught by surprise when the board votes on something they consider so important to the identity of their hamlet.
We hope others will have additional suggestions to improve the civil discourse on issues that affect us all. We have a long way to go.
Nancy Gilbert & Richard Wines
A culture of
Just a few years ago, the Riverhead News-Review was adorned with a glossy photo of Supervisor Sean Walter and the town’s outside counsel, with smiles ear-to-ear, holding what turned out to be a bogus multi-million-dollar check from Riverhead Resorts. The town wasted years on a plan to rip up U.S. government-built runways worth $500 million to create what many suspected to be a giant sand mine. The town’s outside counsel issued a formal legal opinion that the developer was eligible and qualified, even though one partner had never built anything outside of Scotland and another partner included a convicted felon allegedly involved in money laundering and stock scams. Soon after the check was canceled, another officer of the developer was arrested in Turkey for human trafficking.
Sadly, with the Villages at Jamesport, it would appear Mr. Walter has again turned to sand mines and ex-cons for revitalization in a project that doesn’t pass the smell test. It’s clear to me that the procedural and substantive deficiencies of the application (well analyzed by resident Larry Simms in a report the board and its advisers were incapable of creating themselves) make the permits subject to a successful court challenge. More disturbing is the fact that town officials ignored basic problems with the permits, including the financial troubles of the parties behind the project.
The community has every reason to doubt the integrity of the process, as well as the supervisor and his cronies. Rather than waste time as a court challenge wends its way through the litigation quagmire that will likely knock out the permits anyway, the Town Board should immediately vacate and set aside the improvidently issued permits and start from scratch, with full public involvement and credible justification for departing from longstanding requirements for special permits.
What a sad day for Jamesport when our Town Board and rather arrogant supervisor scarred her landscape with a strip mall. It is not just a sad day for Jamesport but for the entire North Fork, because this scar will be spread. The North Fork could end up looking just like Route 58 and other points west, which also used to be rural. We elected these people to speak for us. Well, we spoke and they ignored us. We must elect people who truly want to protect the North Fork.
Y would be a benefit
I can certainly understand the concerns, not wanting another YMCA, farm stand, or whatever in Aquebogue adding to their traffic woes, and possibly affecting property values. The traffic issue might be addressed when and if plans for the YMCA building are presented.
Property values are another question. We have lived in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Washington and we have joined a Y in each place. There have been educational, entertainment, and exercise programs at each facility, and the local residents have been enthusiastic supporters of each Y. The proposed YMCA in Aquebogue would serve people on the whole East End, from both North and South forks, and it would be a great addition to the community.
What a kind act
After coming home and starting to unpack my groceries, my husband came in and said someone was here with something for me. I didn’t know what he could be talking about, and I was greeted by the smiling faces of a couple who not only had found my purse (secured to the handle of the shopping cart I had used for my grocery shopping) but went through the trouble of looking through it to find my identification, and personally delivered it to me. The nice woman even apologized if anything was awry as she dug through it to get my identification, which I cannot believe she actually found because I just seem to shove about everything I can into the purse and can never find anything I am looking for in there myself!
Anyway, after all of the trouble this kind couple went through, my husband tried to give them some money to go and have a nice lunch and they basically ran out because they did not want to take anything for their time or effort. How in the world could I ever thank them? Thank you is truly not enough, but that is all I am left with. I am left completely speechless by their thoughtfulness!