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Good Old Boys?

Dear Editor,

Alex Walter, President of the South Fork Country Club about $100,000 to join and play in for one year says don't worry we are just going to build this itsy bitsy little building on your historic street, you won't notice it a bit.

At 80 ft. by 90 ft. by 35 ft. tall, they are going to put up the bulk equivalent of a 21,600-foot MacMansion, only it's going to be a machine shop.

This is only a little bigger? Bigger than the single story 2835 ft. former clubhouse and 900 ft. former pro shop? These two total 3735 ft., not 5200 ft. square feet that the Golf Club claims is there now.

In terms of bulk the proposed building is about six times bigger than what it there now.

It's not just a little bigger.

Twenty nine existing neighbors signed a petition saying that this building should not be built there. The Architectural Review Board of East Hampton sent a letter saying the bulk was too large and inappropriate.

After hearing both sides, the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee voted unanimously that the building was too big.

The Golf Club handed in 42 identical form letters from its members supporting the new building. What happened to the 300 other members?

Larry Cantwell is quoted as saying that the Club's consultants estimate an increase of eight vehicles per day; sometimes he says 20 extra vehicles. But in another quote he talks about 15 greens workers, a Superintendent's office, and chemical and supply truck deliveries all day. If 20 workers come in the morning, go home for lunch, return from lunch, and then go home at night, that equals more than 80 trips. This is on top of the various truck deliveries, probably about 15 roundtrips per day. In addition there are the 75 golf carts which will now have to cross from west to east on Old Stone Highway when they are presently all housed on the west side.

Editor's Note: There is little doubt there exists a good old boy network in town concerning the South Fork Country Club, which has enjoyed clear sailing through its ambitious expansion while the town put the Bistrians through hell when they were building their course. In this case, it would seem proposing a building that at least appears to be in character with the surrounding community would be more preferable than a warehouse. It is also true the club spokesman has been misleading when comparing the existing structures to the proposed structures, and deliberately so.

Taking the footprints of the proposed building and multiplying the square footage times the height reveals a mass that is huge compared to the smaller buildings in place now. It is also ridiculous to pretend there won't be additional traffic on the street. Obviously, when functions that were spread out around the golf course property are consolidated in one place there will be more activity.

There is a certain arrogance at play here, where the good old boys know they can do anything they want and, instead of taking concerns of neighbors seriously, engage in this charade of trying to defend the indefensible. It is a shame to see Larry Cantwell, once a member of the planning board and the town board and a public servant who cared about the environment and visual pollution, turn a blind eye to the neighbors concerns, but as we all know, he sold out a long time ago.

Rick Whalen, the former planning and zoning board attorney who now represents the club, also knows better. It is painful to watch him pretend otherwise.

September 05, 2006

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