High on the list of those responsible for maintaining and preserving the integrity of East Hampton’s environment is Marguerite Wolffsohn, our town’s Planning Director. For 21 years, Marguerite has experienced all aspects of the department’s often complicated and sometimes controversial work.
Originally hired in 1987 as a planner to review Natural Resources Special Permits and Zoning Board variances, she moved on to conduct lot inspections and review applications submitted to the Planning Board. In the early ’90s came a promotion to Assistant Planning Director, and in 2001, when she succeeded Lisa Liquori as director, Marguerite took full charge of the Planning Department’s busy workload and its more than a dozen employees. Not only does she lead Planning, she oversees the staffs of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and the Architectural Review Board (ARB).
Marguerite has the education, experience and leadership qualities required to guide and manage one of East Hampton’s most demanding and publicly scrutinized governmental arms. Her Bachelor’s degree in forest biology was supplemented by a Master’s in biology/ecology, solid staples for the work with which she has been charged for more than two decades. She is an AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners) member.
Marguerite has authored and coauthored six Planning Department publications, among them “American Birds,” the “Open Space Component” of the Town Comprehensive Plan, and the “Flora and Fauna Component” of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.
She serves on the town’s Community Preservation Fund (CPF) Management and Stewardship Committee, the Community Housing Opportunity Fund Advisory Board, and the Northwest Comprehensive Coordinating Committee.
Asked what she considers to be one of East Hampton’s truly valuable planning tools, the Planning Director cites the CPF, noting that through it many important tracts of open-space acres have been saved from development. As a memorable example of recent CPF acquisition, Marguerite looks to the town’s purchase of 89 acres from the Ross School property, which she describes as “vital for open space and for the protection of our ground water and the Pine Barrens.”