EHTB Under The Gun

Wainscott residents involved with a class action lawsuit against the Town of East Hampton want the municipality to pay costs associated with getting Suffolk County Water installed in their homes.

Daniel Osborn, the attorney representing the residents, sent the town a letter last week. He urged the town to find a way to pay for each home in Wainscott to get connected to the water mains that have now been installed.

“As you know, the town has stated that it cannot legally pay for such work on the grounds that it cannot use public funds to confer a benefit on an individual resident. The problem is, the majority of Wainscott residents simply do not have the financial means to write a check for tens of thousands of dollars to get connected,” Osborn said in an email to clients. Adding to his contention is that the private drinking wells were likely
contaminated by the town’s airport operations.

“Notwithstanding the town’s proclamation about its inability to pay, I have to believe that there is some way around this prohibition, particularly because we are talking about drinking water. The town must be able to invoke some emergency power or pass some emergency legislation to allow it to pay for the connections. The town needs to be creative and find a way. It is not fair for the residents to have to wait to win the class action lawsuit or pay the extortionate rates charged by Asplundh in order to get clean water,” Osborn wrote.

Meanwhile another citizen’s group, the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, notified the town via letter last week that it is ramping up for possible legal action over Deepwater Wind’s proposal to bring a cable from its South Fork Wind Farm ashore at Wainscott. “Residents are acutely aware about the lack of transparency and the flawed decision-making process shown by the town,” the letter stated.

The attorney David Seiler of Friedman Kaplan made that clear in the missive that the town shouldn’t have green-lighted the Deepwater request for access to Beach Lane because “doesn’t have sufficient information.”

“The town board’s process regarding Deepwater’s Proposal has obviously been flawed,” the attorney wrote. “Deepwater doubled the potential voltage to run under Wainscott Beach to 460,000V from 230,000V, even though Deepwater’s own electric and magnetic safety study only purports to address the effects of a 138,000V transmission line.”

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