The East Hampton Town Board hit the pause button, at least temporarily, on a purchase of a half-acre property on Isle of Wight Road in the Lionhead Beach Association area of Springs at a meeting June 6. The town is looking to buy the property for $650,000 from Dao Spencer, who, along with her husband, purchased the land along with an adjacent property many decades ago. The couple developed the adjacent plot, but left the land at 87 Isle of Wight Road undeveloped. The land slopes sharply down into Hog Creek.
Scott Wilson, who is in charge of land acquisitions for the town, using Community Preservation Funds, explained the value of the property to the board. He said that the purchase would protect the Springs watershed. Development of the property, he said, would allow contaminants to flow downhill into the already troubled creek.
The Lion Head Beach Association had sent a letter to the town board, asking that it delay approving the proposed purchase until its members could weigh in on it.
Alex Miller, the head of the association, addressed the board, saying he was not speaking for the association, but, rather, as a neighbor of the property in question. He commended Spencer for selling the land to the town, saying the thickly wooded site supports various birds and other creatures, many of which are endangered.
He said that Hog Creek, which already has high levels of nitrogen, must be protected. There was a time, Miller said, when Hog Creek provided an abundant home to wild scallops. The current levels of pollution, Miller added, is not sustainable.
Other neighbors spoke, all in favor of the proposed purchase. However, they felt it important for all members of the association to be involved in the decision.
However, they also warned that there is a misconception about the results of such a purchase. Some, they said, fear the land will be overused recreationally if it becomes town property.
Ira Barokus countered, “There is no such thing as an overused preserve.”
The town board agreed to keep the record open for written comment until after the Lion Head Association’s next board meeting June 22.