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According to the East Hampton Town’s “Hamlet Studies FAQ”, the planned purpose of the February 19th meeting at Town Hall was for the Town Board to “decide whether to adopt, modify, or postpone acting on one or all of the Hamlet Plans.” Naturally, Montauk was the most represented Hamlet, since it faces the most drastic proposed changes, including the prospect of relocating oceanfront motels back from the rising Atlantic. Speakers, both for and against, included representatives from these motels: The Atlantic Terrace, Montauk Blue Motel, Royal Atlantic Beach Resort and Montauk Lake Club and Marina. Organizations expressing their views included the CCOM (Concerned Citizens of Montauk), CAC (Citizens Advisory Committee)and the Montauk Chamber of Commerce. Following are some comments from some of the speakers:
LOUIS CORTESE: The Hamlet Study report for Montauk should be adopted because without it being part of the comprehensive plan the Town cannot apply for grant money. We need to act now and get funding for the many necessary projects that will protect us from sea level rise, potential inundation, ground and surface water pollution, and archaic septic systems.
ED BRAUN, CCOM Chairman: The future safety, and long term environmental and economic sustainability of Montauk demands that we now proceed with solving the problems expressed in the Hamlet Study. CCOM supports the focused Town Committees on Waste Water Solutions, Beach Preservation, and Downtown Preservation to further define specific goals, including necessary resources, costs and time lines. These are multiyear problems demanding strategic solutions.
LARAINE CREEGAIN, Executive Director, Montauk Chamber of Commerce: Montauk Chamber of Commerce represents over 350 Chamber Member Businesses. I would like to make 4 points in addressing the Montauk Hamlet Study only.
- There is no urgency to adopt the Montauk Hamlet Study, in its current form, into the Comp Plan.
- If warranted, certain acceptable elements of the Study can be adopted and moved toward expeditious implementation, i.e. Beach Re- nourishment and Preservation, Wastewater Treatment, creation of a sidewalk from the Train station to Town, etc.
- The Downtown Retreat/Reformulation recommendation should not be adopted at this time but should be assigned to a newly formed committee to analyze the idea and understand all of the options available to protect our downtown in the future as well as the ramifications of each. The Committee should be formed quickly and should consist of Town Personnel and Montauk Downtown stakeholders as well as outside experts to assist in the economic impact analysis, which has not been done.
- Premature adoption of the extreme retreat strategy as outlined in the Study will be devastating to Montauk’s economy and the entire local community. People’s jobs, property values and quality of life are all at stake if we move forward without a thorough review of the needs of our community and the viable options available to address them. A thoughtful and well-planned strategy of resilience for the future, starting with the immediate re-building of our beaches, is what’s needed to protect the residents of Montauk and to ensure Montauk’s continued reputation as a premier oceanfront tourist destination.
STEVE KALIMNIOS: It is alarming that the town board members could even consider adopting such a radical policy of retreat. Including their own maps indicating 20%+ of Montauks hotel inventory, our only supermarket, restaurants, stores and private residences DELETED from Montauk all without providing us with the following to show its impacts:
- Professional economic impact analysis: *there and our preliminary non-professional one indicates 400+ million dollar annual loss from the hotels deleted only and not including all the other restaurants, IGA, stores, homes etc.
- Professional feasibility study: This would determine if it (1) is technically feasible, (2) feasible to the costs associated (3) feasible to the degree of achievable
- Remediation: Develop an implementable approach to slowing, stopping, reversing potential environmental challenges with specific benchmarks, and projections for success.
- Communication: Contact and communicate directly with the most directly affected properties
Inconsistency of the plan: The plan is riddled with inaccuracies; the hamlet study shows in phase 2 to relocate oceanfront hotels landward then in phase 3 show those same hotels partially gone or gone completely. Also shows combining 40 unit hotel with 100 unit hotel relocated and reduced to 75 units
- Residents and business owners remain ready to assist any and all professionals engaged by the board for the purpose of completing the above BEFORE NOT AFTER adoption. them to complete the following before adopting such plans. It was very clear based on the meeting, comments and speakers, that should the town move forward with adopting this plan, they do so without consensus of the members of this community. Pure and simple it is reckless, irresponsible and possibly negligent to do so in spite of public sentiment and requests for more information.
LAURA TOOMAN: Laura’s comments focused around the fact that the environmental priorities and objectives in the Montauk Hamlet Plan have already essentially been endorsed by both the Town and the Montauk community vis a vis the formation and active participation in several Town-created committees (Montauk Community Wastewater System Committee, Montauk Beach Preservation Committee, Coastal Assessment & Resiliency Planning Committee, etc.) and that we cannot delay these important and timely issues/topics which are addressed in the Montauk Hamlet Plan.
BILL AKIN: The Hamlet Plan is a starting point to address problems that everyone agrees exist such as traffic, waste management, and sea level rise. The Plan that exists represents some possible ways to address these problems. These suggested options were developed over the past three years in a public process that included multiple public meetings, on location concept walk-about discussions, three years of Montauk CAC discussions, and countless Town Board discussions. Still, nothing in the Plan is anywhere near final. Every subject will require further study and input from experts and the public before it can be finalized. Some ideas such as a traffic circle in front of the firehouse will undoubtedly be dropped immediately, while other will require more examination. Nevertheless, it is important to continue the planning process because to delay all too often means to stop, and as I said, the problems are not going to go away.
BONNIE BRADY: Bonnie Bradey asked the town to take a pause from approving the Montauk hamlet study. “Montauk residents are now fully aware and ready to be engaged in the process. Instead of forcing a hamlet plan upon Montauk that all of us do not agree to, we should start anew and begin with those things that all of us can agree to, and work from there.”
- We feel strongly that it’s too early to adopt the Retreat strategy into the Comp Plan.
- A committee has to be formed to understand all of the consequences of such a drastic reconfiguration plan, both intended and unintended. Also to evaluate the feasibility of the plan from an economic, legal and community perspective. The downtown stakeholders have made it clear that they are not ready to accept this proposal at this time and need much more information in order to make informed decisions.
- The Board must not adopt this Downtown Retreat/reconfiguration recommendation into the Comp Plan at this time.
To view the Hamlet Study online, go to:
To view the February 19th Town Hall meeting and hear all the speakers, go to: