Wainscott: The Incredible Shrinking Hamlet

The unincorporated hamlet of Wainscott is shrinking, according to a new map community leaders recently published. 

This new map comprises two-thirds the land area of an earlier map published in July. And though it is smaller, it is arguably quicker and feistier, still, pound for pound, the best hamlet in the Hamptons. The earlier July map had been attached to a petition designed to make the hamlet of Wainscott into the Incorporated Village of Wainscott so it could better fight off a proposed offshore wind farm.   

Enough people had signed. The village would include 900 citizens and take up 6.4 square miles.   It did not go from sea to shining sea. But it did include the East Hampton Airport, the 57-acre Perlman Estate and a good chunk of oceanfront property in what is now the Village of Sagaponack.

Sagaponack, of course, didn’t like that. But Wainscott explained that the law said if a proposed village exceeded 5 square miles, then its boundaries had to coincide with the boundaries of its school district. And that included this piece of Sagaponack. 

How did Sagaponack not have to go by the school district when it incorporated back in 2008? Sagaponack was less than 5 square miles. So the rule did not apply.   

Wainscotters liked that their proposed village would be so much bigger than puny Sagaponack. And they might have decided to fight for the strip they had taken since their population was almost triple the number of Sagaponackers.   

But instead, Wainscotters decided to take hedge clippers to their map and lop off a little here and a little there so as to get under the 5-square-mile requirement.   

Off came the strip of Sagaponack oceanfront. Off went the Ron Perlman Estate – a bitter pill as that property was throwing off such a huge amount of annual real estate taxes. The Wainscotters also took a little off the top, pretty much a lot of woods with few people living there, but they kept the East Hampton Airport with all its traffic, noise and fees.   

Thus Wainscott is now 4.4 square miles instead of 6.4 miles. Surely some people who were exhilarated about being in a new village were saddened to find themselves excluded, while others who mourned the prospect of being in this new village now happy to be excluded.

The new map has to be confirmed by the petitioners. But anti-wind farm people are out doing that. So now if everything about Wainscott is on the up and up, the vote to incorporate will likely take place in February.

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