A public meeting of the Hamptons Zoning Board last Wednesday erupted in chaos and confusion as the 9-member board was challenged by several members of the public to resolve their issues by means of playing a baseball game. The end result was a scene of costly destruction in the board’s meeting room at Hamptons Town Hall, with several broken windows, smashed furniture and cracked plaster.
Police were brought in to investigate and help determine how the ill-advised game got started. The idea for the game is reported to have originated with Marcus Willbury, a resident of Springs, who had come before the board with a proposal to install a hot tub in his backyard.
When the board seemed unimpressed with his application, Willbury became irate and suggested—as an apparent joke—that they play a baseball game in order to settle the question. A number of other local residents in attendance with business before the board expressed their enthusiasm for the idea, but nobody believed that the board would consent to such a method of making decisions.
Then, to everyone’s surprise, the members of the board, after conferring among themselves, announced that they were receptive to the idea.
Minutes taken at the meeting show that Wilfred Gench, the chairman of the Zoning Board, expressed the board’s consensus opinion concerning Willbury’s proposal thusly: “Our vote is unanimous. What could be more American than a friendly game of baseball? All of those with business before the board should start your warm-ups—we’re going to settle this on the diamond.”
However, as it was raining outside, a decision was made to move the game indoors—into the Zoning Board’s own meeting room.
“It was a terrible idea,” said Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch. “It’s an historic space with antique furniture and leaded glass windows. It’s going to cost a lot of dough to repair the damage.”
According to witnesses, the game proceeded for two calamitous innings before breaking down in fighting between the opposing teams. The zoning questions that occasioned the game remain unresolved.