The East Hampton Town Board voted 3-1 Jan. 18 to appoint town zoning board member David Lys, an advocate for beach access and the Amagansett Lifesaving Station, to a seat on the town board.
Mr. Lys will fill the council seat left vacant when Peter Van Scoyoc was elected supervisor for the remainder of 2018, with a special election to be held this November to fill the remaining year of Mr. Van Scoyoc’s council term.
Mr. Lys grew up in East Hampton Village, where his mother had a long career as a teacher in the East Hampton School District. He now lives with his family in Springs, where he and his wife, Rachel operate two businesses: Weekend Warriors Tours and Outfitters and East Hampton Physical Therapy.
“His support for protection of the environment, public beach access and affordable housing are all values the current town board holds dear,” said Mr. Van Scoyoc in announcing the appointment at the board’s Jan. 18 meeting. “I look forward to sitting next to him.”
Councilman Jeff Bragman voted against the appointment.
“I had some concerns about issues where I thought we might not be on the same page,” said Mr. Bragman before casting his “no” vote, citing differences on ways to balance interests with regard to the East Hampton Airport and potential zoning changes to “help people feel they’re not priced out of the (real estate) market.”
Mr. Bragman added that his discussion with Mr. Lys about federal immigration enforcement agents’ presence in town “made me uneasy that we might not be on the same page.”
“I say this knowing David is a guy of great character,” said Mr. Bragman. “These were issues that were very important to me when I ran, and I have to vote in accordance with what I said when I ran…. I’m hopeful as we get to know each other, the values we share are going to be much more important than the things we differ on.”
Mr. Lys had served on the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals since in 2013. As chairman of the Amagansett Lifesaving and Coast Guard Station Society, he spearheaded the effort to relocate and restore the historic lifesaving station, which was donated to the town and placed on its original site on Atlantic Avenue in Amagansett.
“As a father of young children and a local business owner, David is in tune with the everyday struggles working families face. He has been a strong advocate of the Democratic values embodied by the Town Board’s efforts to protect the environment, preserve historic buildings, address coastal resiliency, increase public beach access, and to maintain our quality of life,” said Mr. Peter Van Scoyoc in announcing the appointment.
“We welcome David and his energy, determination, and thoughtful consideration to the work of the board,” the Supervisor said.
As a first-generation American whose father immigrated to the U.S. from Indonesia, and a community-minded member of his generation, the appointment of Mr. Lys, said Mr. Van Scoyoc, will add “a voice not heard” to the town board.
“I look forward to continuing to defend and preserve the historical traditions and environmental standards that the Town of East Hampton is recognized for,” said Mr. Lys. Those values, core to the Democratic Party, “molded all of my thinking and my ideologies,” he said. He vowed to “work tirelessly” to advance the agenda of the town board.
In particular, Mr. Lys said, he will focus on advancing coastal resiliency efforts, increasing recreational opportunities in the town, and “future planning for growth in a way that preserves East Hampton’s unique character but allows for future generations of lifelong residents to continue to call it home.”
Mr. Lys will take the seat that was held by current Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, who sat on the board as a two-term councilman starting in 2012, before winning the November, 2017, election for supervisor. Under town law, that board seat was officially vacated when Mr. Van Scoyoc was sworn in as Supervisor at the start of 2018.
Mr. Lys’s appointment will run through 2018. A special election will be held in November, 2018, with candidates seeking to fill the remainder of Mr. Van Scoyoc’s unexpired term. That term continues through 2019.