Civics mull merging meetings in Riverside, Flanders, Northampton


The Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association; the Bay View Pines Civic and Taxpayers Association; Riverside Rediscovered, the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Citizens Advisory Committee; the Friends of the Big Duck; the Water’s Edge Civic Association


That’s the feeling some residents of the hamlets of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton are having in regard to the high number of meetings being held by various groups that — while all well intentioned — may end up, in effect, stealing attendance from each other because they all meet so regularly. And they all hold somewhat similar goals: improving various parts of the northwestern portion of Southampton Town.

While some communities have too little community representation, some residents of those three hamlets now feel they have too much.

Flanders resident Susan Tocci said at Monday’s FRNCA meeting that she attends monthly meetings of FRNCA, Bay View Pines, the CAC, and Riverside Rediscovered.

She said many of the speakers at these meetings are very informative, but the attendance hasn’t been great. She suggested consolidating some of the meetings.

Presidents of two nonprofit civic groups — FRNCA’s Vince Taldone and Bay View Pines’ Ron Fisher, who also chairs the town-run CAC — agreed.

“It’s a phenomenal idea,” Mr. Fisher said. ” It gets people out of the house a lot less nights during the month.”

He said there’s a lot of repetition as well.

“It’s difficult to volunteer and step into a leadership position when you go to five meetings with the same information from the same people,” Mr. Fisher said.

Bay View Pines represents an area along Long Neck Boulevard in Flanders, but after Mr. Fisher became the group’s president late last year, they started accepting members from all of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton.

The CAC is set up by the Southampton Town Board, which has one in each hamlet throughout town as a means of getting community input back to town officials. Mr. Taldone said that meeting would probably have to be separate — because it’s run by a municipality — but that the other groups could meet jointly.

Southampton Councilman John Bouvier, who is the Town Board liaison to Flanders, Riverside and Northampton, said less meetings would make his life easier as well.

“It also makes you a more cohesive group,” he said, adding that having a larger group would wield more influence.

FRNCA board member Patty Hopkins said years ago there were many meetings and the formation of FRNCA was intended to be a way to consolidate those groups.

“FRNCA doesn’t really need two hours,” Mr. Taldone said. “Besides, if there was a big issue, like the gargage district, everybody would come out anyway.”

The groups are expected to speak about merging meetings with their respective members and reconsider the idea at a later date.