April 12, 2006
Planners Ponder Pool Pros & Cons
A plan to construct swimming pools at Montauk Shores Condominiums drew numerous speakers to a hearing before the East Hampton Town Planning Board last Wednesday night. The proposal seeks approval for a community swimming pool, a wading pool, a shed for the filters, and a patio area on the existing playground at the mobile home park.
Opponents to the plan included Alice Gregory and Josephine Albano, both residents of the park. Gregory complained the amenity will "do nothing" to enhance or improve the park or the community as a whole. It's going to increase traffic and could encourage trespassers, she put forth. Albano related that neighbors favor the pool because it will increase their property values. Property values go up when people sell, she reasoned, deducing that when those who support the pool leave, "We'll be left to deal with the expense."
Jim Brown, another Montauk Shores resident, said he has no intention of leaving and supports the pool because "I want it for my family." Grace Bottari said she's lived in the park for 20 years, has voted locally for 20 years, and wanted a pool for 20 years. Residents of the park, including "the originals" who founded the neighborhood, are getting on and can't handle swimming in the ocean anymore. The pool at the Montauk Downs nearby "is freezing," she reported, adding, "We're going to have a nice heated pool . . . that's why we want it."
Other speakers pointed out that residents of the Shores have been surveyed and held several votes, and support for the pools has been overwhelming.
Joel Piereth expressed concerns about liability issues. He feels the location of the pool is problematic. It's planned for an area bordered by the three most traveled roads in the park, he emphasized. Attorney James Greenbaum, speaking on behalf of the board of managers, countered that it is "going to be the safest pool in Montauk." An alarm system, an automatic pool cover, a guard, and a fence are all planned.
Greenbaum opined that the underlying concern for opponents is the cost. That's an internal issue for the board of managers to be concerned with, not the planning board, he said. He assured planners that if they approve the application, "You'll be doing what has already been approved by the board of managers and what the majority of the residents want to see."