Gurney's Inn
May 10, 2006

Affordable Housing: Green Hollow Plan Progresses

If opponents sue, they won't win. That's what East Hampton Town Councilman Pete Hammerle predicted last week as review of the Green Hollow Woods affordable housing subdivision continued. The councilman is convinced town officials have covered every base in assessing and mitigating the potential impacts of the proposed 26-lot residential development.

Members of the planning board apparently share that sentiment. Last Wednesday night they directed planning department staff to prepare documents recommending a negative declaration under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. By issuing a neg-dec, the board affirms the project does not have the potential to have a deleterious impact on the environment.

Some neighbors apparently still think it does. At a public hearing last month attorney Janet Insardi, who represented clients who successfully sued for a full scale environmental study of Green Hollow's first incarnation back in 2001 (50 houses were proposed), reprised many of the same arguments she'd offered against the larger version of the plan. Specifically, she spoke of the project's potential negative impact to groundwater.

Planners, however, opined that the scaled-down nature of the project offers the necessary mitigation. Clearing restrictions, the creation of two reserved areas, and building roads to lane specs rather than full-size serve to mitigate the impacts of clearing and disturbing the land, according to an evaluation of public hearing comments compiled by assistant planning director JoAnne Pahwul.

An environmental analysis the town submitted along with the proposal "undertook an extensive look at the potential impacts associated with the creation of 26 lots, subsequent residential development, and related road improvements," her memo states.

Planning board members appeared to agree. Before directing staff to prepare the neg-dec, members opined that environmental issues raised at the public hearing had been adequately addressed.

Nevertheless, a newspaper ad published this week states "The Project, as proposed in its present location, will potentially result in environmental damage." The ad, run by Concerned Citizens of the Green Hollow Subdivision, exhorts readers to urge the town board to undertake a thorough hydrological investigation. Just a P.O. box accompanies the group's name. Hammerle dismissed the ad and its assertions as purposely misleading.

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