East Hampton Town Planning Board Vacancies

The current East Hampton Town Board will be reshaping the town’s planning board come the new year, with two or possibly three of the seven seats becoming vacant.

Patti Leber is one of those who will need to be replaced. Leber, whose seven-year term was due to expire at the end of 2022, recently sold her Montauk residence. The buyer wanted to take occupancy by the Thanksgiving holiday. Leber made the decision to move to Boulder, CO to be closer to her daughter and her newborn grandson, Hudson Samot. Unfortunately, in the process, she broke her ankle, and is now recovering in Boulder.

She and her now late husband had purchased a property in Montauk on the sound in 1980. In the mid-1980s, they built a house on the property, and began spending off-seasons there. They made the transition to full-time Montauk residents in 1994, she said on the phone Saturday.

“I will miss the planning board,” she said. Leber was always active in the community, whether as a 17-year member of the Montauk school board, or as a 17-year member of the Third House Nature Center.

Her proudest moment as a planning board member was the Amagansett affordable housing project. “That was nice to see that take form,” she said. While her assigned area was Amagansett, she also brought a Montauk prospective to the board, “keeping an eye on things.”

Job Potter, the board’s chairman, is also stepping down. Potter has two years left in his term. Since being elevated to the post of chair two years ago, he has been extremely influential on the direction the board has taken, particularly in controversial cases. He has been critical of the practice by some of building first, then seeking permits from the town later. He said recently about Journey East Hampton, a resort on Pantigo Road whose owners are seeking to legalize a bar they have already built, that they had the incorrect attitude of “Get a liquor license, open a bar, then fight it out.”

Potter was also very active in the community, formerly chairing the town’s business committee and community housing and opportunity fund advisory board.

Those two members are certain to be replaced. Up in the air is Nancy Keeshan, whose term as vice-chair ends on December 31. She, too, has been a voice for Montauk over the eight years she has served on the board, having grown up in the hamlet. She is a familiar face in
downtown Montauk, where she has worked for years with Keeshan Real Estate, which became part of Compass in 2017. Keeshan was originally appointed to the planning board in 2010 to replace the retiring John Lycke, whose term ran through 2014, after which she was appointed to fill out the balance of another retiring board member’s term, Patrick Schutte.

Keeshan’s appointments to the planning board in the past have been by town boards controlled by both major political parties, and she has been vice-chair of the board since 2013. The current town board will need to reappoint her in January if she is to continue holding a seat on the planning board.

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