Environmentally responsible uses on a precious tract of land
Re-envisioning of the land currently used
as the most polluting facility in East Hampton,
would be a priceless gift to our children's future.
Almost every action humans take has a consequence, not only on the health of our planet but on its very survival. Scientists are pleading with world leaders to reduce carbon emissions which, since the pandemic, have increased at levels higher than pre-pandemic!
Say No supports preservation of the rural character of the Town's special property. We advocate that undisturbed portions of the property be protected, to remain “forever wild”.
We envisage implementation of alternative uses only on disturbed portions of the land and urge repurposing of existing aeronautical structures that can produce income for the Town and its residents.
We urge that only industries that will not compromise our air quality, aquifer--source of our precious drinking water--or negatively impact wildlife or the environment be considered.
The lack of supportive infrastructure and services would limit large development:
- lack of waste water treatment
- insufficient lighting
- limited road capacity
- lack of public transit services
- lack of accessibility for workers
For any NYS-designated Pine Barrens parcel, activity that is an expansion of the existing development footprint is subject to scrutiny and review by the NYS Central Pine Barrens Commission.
Several NYS protected plant species have been identified on the property, including:
- Pine Barrens Sandwort (Minuartia caroliniana)
- Bird’s Foot Violet (Viola pedata)
- a Spiranthes orchid
Repurposing of existing structures
Some older aviation hangars are likely to be unsuitable for repurposing due to age/deteriorated condition. Newer condominium buildings, the Executive Terminal and the Passenger Terminal buildings likely could be repurposed.
Solar panels could be placed on roofs of all structures.
Small business office space
- Need exists for office space for small start-ups, many are tech-related and that need will only increase in coming years. Needs of such businesses are small and low impact, and young people prefer to work in shared spaces, interacting with others often working in companies with shared business ideals.
-Sharing workspace, conference facilities and equipment machines lowers costs for small businesses.
Shared maker spaces, possibly larger studio-style for creative ventures: architects, designers, artists and photographers could also be considered.
Dry Storage. This use already exists in structures on Industrial Road. (Twin Forks Moving, PODS). Dry storage is an ideal use of the large structures, and has low environmental impact.
Parking for contractor vehicles and/or storage of vehicles
Need exists for contractor vehicle parking, possibly also for indoor auto and/or boat storage (summer and weekend people often seeking garages for cars /boats).
There is a dire need on the South Fork for affordable housing and East Hampton Town is no exception.
Young people are unable to afford homes due to exorbitant rental costs, the introduction of more seasonal AirBNB rentals, and little affordable vacant land for them to build a home.
Seniors are selling their homes due to high taxes, and high costs of maintaining old structures. Perhaps several apartment buildings could be erected, including some for senior housing.
Senior health care facility. As our population ages, seniors are forced to leave their family and friends, and move to care facilities located far away. An assisted living facility would allow them to remain here and get the care they need to stay independent as long as possible.
- add recreational facilities, i.e., some similar to in-door facilities at NYC’s Chelsea Pier (rock climbing, balloon areas for young children), ping pong, volleyball, handball or squash courts.
- link with existing hiking/biking trails (EH trails group)
- create new nature walking trail, possibly with outdoor exercise tools (bars, rings, etc., as in Europe)
- an Interactive Nature Center (in former terminal building) with wildlife/bird viewing tower (in air traffic control tower)
- create/extend nesting areas nocturnal creatures and birds (expand the blue bird habitat)
- a small petting zoo with grazing animals (goats) to keep grassy areas low, naturally. (Goats can be rented out as in Long Pond Greenbelt areas, good for the Town and great for the goats).
- experimental low-impact, fertilizer-free agriculture that might be used by Cornell Cooperative Extension or other research organization.
- community gardens and other types of food producing spaces for the benefit of local people (such as at Share the Harvest, a food pantry farm).
- Runway and taxiways as solar venture or other income producing use.
Not a moment too soon for our communities and the planet, the Town of East Hampton will in late 2021 take back from the FAA local control of its property--for the first time in 20 years.
The Town will have the option to take the only justifiable action: close it and end polluting aviation operations by introducing sustainable alternative uses that will benefit, not destroy, the community.
Or, the Town can continue to cater to a few wealthy travelers in a hurry, and to a handful of local pilots.
As stewards of this large tract of land the Town can make an immediate investment in our children's health, environment and future.
Simply by closing the airport, the Town could:
- immediately halt the sale of approximately 900,000 gallons of fossil fuels (jet and leaded fuels)
- help to meet the Town's lofty goal of reducing use of fossil fuels and score an immediate win for the environment
- halt 51.5 million lbs. of planet killing carbon (a very conservative estimate) dumped on LI every year by non-essential flights for people bereft of an environmental conscience or an iota of concern for our community and the well-being of residents
- lessen the carbon dumped on our homes, schools and farm fields every single day
- help safeguard our the sole source aquifer from further damage to groundwater
We've been warned. We can no longer claim ignorance of what the future could be if we do not take immediate action. We're headed at meteoric speed to destruction of this planet unless we curb greenhouse gas emissions, now.