The idea for incorporating Wainscott as a village was conceived by Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott as a trump card to kill the South Fork Wind Farm project. Notwithstanding its oft-repeated claim that it believes in climate change and supports wind energy, the group’s plan was to give zero weight to climate concerns. Its village was, from the outset, designed to reject any conclusion by the town and the town trustees that Beach Lane was the best place to land the cable. The proposed village would ignore the results of the Article VII proceeding before the Public Service Commission if it favored the Beach Lane route over possible alternatives. C.P.W.’s village would unapologetically stand in the way of the town’s realizing the benefits of clean wind energy supported by the vast majority of East Hampton residents.
The incorporation effort, animated by grievance as it was, wrapped itself in slogans of liberty and freedom from the town’s oppression. It even called town officials liars. It promised to stop the cable and also to make Wainscott bucolic again. But the budget, once released, failed to provide the resources necessary to deliver on the promises, to do any of the things required to control future development in Wainscott. It was to be a village in name only, an instrumentality simply to say no to the cable. But even the exercise of that veto was not funded.
In a letter to the Star last week, Gouri Edlich, C.P.W.’s president, explained that there would be no need for the village to fund the cable opposition because that fight would be over by the time the village was formed. If Ms. Edlich is taken at her word, then all that appears to be left is the sense of grievance that animated the committee from the start.
The village has become a zombie. But the work ahead for Wainscott is not for zombies or for part-time volunteers, no matter how earnest they are. The issues facing Wainscott will require substantial resources, money and expertise available only through close and effective cooperation with the town. A village conceived in grievance and nourished by spite is the antithesis of what the circumstances require. Wainscott and its citizens advisory committee need to work with the town, not fight with the town. It’s time to get on with that work.
JOHN H. HALL