Political Storms

Hamptons Editorial

It is no understatement to say the voters are restless.

And we are not just talking about national politics and the yawning divide between Republicans and Democrats.

Look no further than East Hampton Town, where incumbent Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc is feeling the heat from all sides despite the fact — or maybe because of it — that he is presiding over an all-Democratic town board.

Van Scoyoc will face a primary challenge from former Democratic leader David Gruber, and should he get past that, he’ll meet Gruber all over again in the general election because Gruber has already won the Independence Party nomination and is rumored to be under consideration for the top spot on the Republican ticket as well.

Meanwhile, in Southampton Town, incumbent Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor, who has often found himself at loggerheads with Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, has announced that he will mount a primary challenge for the Independence Party nomination for supervisor.

But Gregor’s challenge is hardly Schneiderman’s only problem. Last week, a group of East Quogue residents marched into Town Hall and dropped a petition containing nearly 800 signatures of people who want to incorporate their hamlet into its own village.

The group is unhappy for many reasons. One of those reasons is certainly linked to the town board’s decision to pull the plug on the Hills Planned Development District. When that happened, East Quogue lost out on a number of sweeteners the developers had offered as part of the deal that would have allowed them to build a golf course and more than 100 residential units.

Instead, the developers have returned with both a $100 million lawsuit and a traditional subdivision plan that will be reviewed by the planning board instead of the town board and will not include any special community benefits.

In general, though, members of the incorporation drive say they are just tired of being governed by outsiders who don’t seem to know what is important to or needed in their community, and they think they can do better themselves.

Schneiderman will be required to weigh in on whether the petition is valid by early next month. If East Quogue is successful, don’t be surprised if similar incorporation drives take flight in Hampton Bays, Bridgehampton, or other parts of Southampton Town.

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