Lazy Point
Lazy Point

While both Southampton and East Hampton have prepared detailed plans on how they’d like to see the money used, plans that are broken down by watershed and include work with habitat and homeowner rebates for septic system upgrades, Southold has chosen not to spell out the details of the water quality component of the plan until after the town’s Comprehensive Plan, currently underway, is complete.

East Hampton’s proposed water plan is online here, Southampton’s proposed water plan is online here and Southold’s proposed update to its existing Community Preservation Project Plan is online here.

Southold Land Preservation Coordinator Melissa Spiro told the Southold Town Board at their Aug. 9 hearing that the town already has 950 parcels on its wish list for CPF acquisition, totaling about 9,500 acres — 5,5000 of which are farmland.

“Our longstanding priority has been preservation and protection of agricultural property,” she said. “We may amend in the future to include water quality projects and parcels.”

Kevin McDonald of The Nature Conservancy, one of the original architects of the Community Preservation Fund, spoke passionately in favor of the plans at all three public hearings.

He suggested that Southold begin work on a water quality improvement investment strategy, in addition to the town’s farmland work, with a focus on learning about the technological advances in wastewater treatment.

“Develop infrastructure within the town for vendors, and get practical experience seeing how those systems work,” he said.

Group for the East End President Bob DeLuca suggested at the Southold hearing that Southold representatives discuss the ‘primary purpose’ language with the South Fork towns, to try to develop consistent language throughout the region.

“What development project ever came in and said their primary purpose was to develop the town to death?” he asked. “The closer these laws line up together, the easier it is for us.”

Kevin McAllister of DefendH2O urged both the East Hampton and Southampton town boards to adopt standards to measure the improvement of health of water bodies after water quality improvement plans are put in place, and urged the towns to consider mandatory septic upgrades for areas that are contributing the most to the impairment of waterways, instead of voluntary septic system upgrades spread throughout the towns.

Rutgers University marine biology professor Judith Weis told the East Hampton Town Board they would need to be prepared for political problems if water quality does not improve right away after the programs are put in place.

“If you cut it down in one year, it may take 10 years to see the results,” she said. “You need to make sure the public is aware it’s not going to be a quick fix.”

Actor Alec Baldwin said he thinks the town should embark on a pilot program that would be a “quantifiable and demonstrable success” at the start of the process, perhaps at the southern rim of Lake Montauk, at Accabonac Harbor or south of Three Mile Harbor.

He also suggested the town hold a public forum to “explain in layman’s terms exactly what is going to happen.”

“We need to have a primer so everyone understands where the money will go,” he said.

Annie Hall, whose dog went into neurotoxic shock and died after licking her paws after playing in the waters of Georgica Pond during a toxic algae bloom four years ago, said she’s heartened to see how much public awareness of water quality issues has improved in that time.

“The world has completely changed,” she said. “To me it’s amazing how far we’ve come.”

The Southampton Town Board held open its public hearing to its Aug. 23 meeting at 6 p.m. Southold closed its public hearing and has tabled the resolution adopting the proposal until its Aug. 23 meeting at 7:30 p.m.

East Hampton closed its public hearing, and Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said the board plans to “get it back on the agenda as soon as we can.”

“We should look at the language and make sure it does what we intend it to,” he said. “We have some time here in terms of the schedule to place it on the ballot.”

If these resolutions are adopted by the towns, the public referenda will on ballots for the general election Nov. 8.

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Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

4 thoughts on “Across The East End, Broad Support For CPF Extension & Water Quality Use

  1. Some of the properties on the East End do not drain to the Bays, but to the Sound or the Ocean, and nitrogen is not a problem in the eastern Sound or the Ocean. These properties do not require upgrades to their septic systems. I hope this is recognized as upgrades are implemented.

  2. Some might argue that the 2% tax was enacted only to preserve Land.

    I feel that the land and the nearby sea or bay are and indivisable unit. The land and the sea work together to make a whole environment.

    I will vote yes.

  3. Some might argue that the 2% tax was enacted only to preserve Land.

    I feel that the land and the nearby sea or bay are and indivisable unit. The land and the sea work together to make a whole environment.

    I will vote yes. rk

  4. The Clean Water Act failed, because of a faulty applied test, nobody wants to acknowledge.
    The best kept national secrete is that EPA never implemented the CWA, because it used an essential test (BOD) incorrect and not only ignored 60% of this oxygen exerting waste, but all the nitrogenous (urine and protein) waste, while this waste, like fecal waste exerts an oxygen demand, but also is a fertilizer for algae. By calling this waste now a nutrient and blaming it mostly on farmers, the public has been successfully kept in the dark.
    Therefore no more new regulations or lawsuits until EPA first acknowledges three major sources of nutrient pollution, that are presently ignored.
    1. The lack of nitrogenous (urine and protein) waste treatment in municipal sewage, due to a faulty test and also causes nutrient pollution.
    2. Septic tanks do not treat sewage, they only solubilize sewage so it can get into groundwater.
    3. The impact of ‘green’rain’ or rain containing reactive nitrogen (fertilizer), the result of the burning of fossil fuels, the increased use if synthesized fertilizer and increased frequency of lightning storms, the result of global climate change.
    When this rain falls on land it stimulates the growth of grasses and brush, that become the kindle wood for the hard to control range and wildfires, during the dry season and when it, either falls directly or indirectly, via runoffs, in water, it stimulates algal growth.
    The public, especially the farming communities, should demand that without, first acknowledging and quantifying these major nutrient sources, any new regulation should be halted and existing lawsuits dismissed.

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