Where We Stand

 

 

Letter to the Zoning Board of Appeals on the Atlantic Double Dunes

 

January 19, 2010

 

Town of East Hampton

Zoning Board of Appeals

300 Pantigo Place

East Hampton, New York 11937

 

Dear Chairman Gamble and members of the board,

 

Re:  260A LLC, SCTM# 300-189-06-14

 

The Atlantic Double Dunes is no ordinary place.  The current public notice posted in the paper says that this hearing is necessary because the parcel contains, “dune land, beach vegetation, freshwater wetlands, primary dunes and beaches.”  But, this parcel is part of a larger unique and extraordinary ecosystem.  It is so much more then the brief newspaper description. 

New York State has said that the Atlantic Double Dunes is a “large area of Double Dunes habitat that is vulnerable to any land disturbance or increased human activity.”  The building of two inter-connected concrete walls for nearly 800 feet and the resulting desecration to this fragile environment should not be rewarded with a variance from the town code to allow the walls (an accessory structure built without the benefit of a Natural Resources Special Permit or a building permit) to remain.  Indeed, if the applicant had applied for the necessary permits before commencing work, the position of the East Hampton Conservators would be the same.  A denial would have been necessary then and the relief sought with this application should be denied now.

The Nature Conservancy’s literature states, “The double dune system is a unique geological formation and the Atlantic Double Dunes is one of the largest and best representations of this formation in the United States.”

The New York Times has written articles on the special nature of the Double Dunes.  In 1998 an article titled “The Natural Beauty Away from the Glitz and Development” highlighted the Atlantic Double Dunes and said, “…there are still pieces left of the wildness that’s made the East End so appealing to generations of New Yorkers.”  This application contributes to making East Hampton less “appealing” and the Conservators feel it diminishes property values in the entire township.

Even Wikipedia has chimed in citing the Amagansett National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Atlantic Double Dunes system, saying, “A major purpose of the Refuge is the protection of the secondary dunes which have become scarce on Long Island due to development.”  Condoning the actions of this application contributes to the negative effect of development on the upland dunes.

Of particular importance in this application are the secondary and upland dunes.  This singular dune system is stabilized with shad, oak and pitch pine.  The resulting forest is home to many animal species.  The Village of East Hampton, in its findings to enact recent legislation for greater protection of the Atlantic Double Dunes stated, “Dunes are of the greatest protective value during conditions of storm induced high water.  They protect some of the most biologically productive areas as well as development, and their value as protective features is especially great.  High, vegetated dunes are more stable and thus provide a greater degree of protection then low, unvegetated ones. “  Their findings conclude that, “These regulations are enacted to safeguard the natural scenic beauty of the Atlantic Double Dune system, to protect the habitat it provides to wildlife, and to protect the surrounding development from storm or erosion damage.”  Indeed, the destruction of the high dunes associated with this application could adversely impact neighboring properties during times of winter storms and hurricanes and increase erosion of the entire system.

Also of concern to the East Hampton Conservators is the effect of the destruction of the high-vegetated dunes on the preserved farmlands to the north.  Will salt spray and blowing sand now alter the prime agriculture soils?  What are the long-term effects of the dune destruction?  Will run-off from the new back-filled, fertilized lawn that has replaced the dunes alter the wetlands?

The East Hampton Conservators request that the protective dune that was bulldozed be restored and the land returned to its original state.  For the reasons cited in this letter, the Conservators do not support a variance or the issuance of a Natural Resources Special Permit for this application.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Edward Gorman

President, East Hampton Conservators

 

 

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