East Hampton Democrats To Hold Amagansett ‘Listen In’

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The Democratic candidates for East Hampton Town Board are set to continue their series of “Listen In” forums with a stop in Amagansett on Tuesday, August 20.

The public has been invited to voice concerns about life in the hamlet at the event, which will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the community room at the St. Michael’s housing complex on Montauk Highway. A 15-minute social and refreshment period will precede the forum.

Supervisor hopeful Larry Cantwell and board candidates Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and Job Potter, who are all running for office in November’s election, will provide brief opening remarks and short responses to community input, but the floor will primarily belong to the public.

“The purpose of the event is to inform the candidates running for office, because the Democratic candidates believe their job is to develop policies that respond to community needs and concerns,” said Jeanne Frankl, the town’s Democratic Committee chairwoman. “They decided the very first step in this campaign before developing a final platform is to listen to the people.”

Holding the forum at the senior affordable housing complex, which opened this year, is symbolic, as it is a source of pride for the Democrats, Ms. Frankl said.

“Almost all the affordable housing that’s been initiated in this town has been initiated by Democrats,” she said. “Occasionally, the other party has had a role, but we’ve been the champions and initiators of affordable housing.”

Among the issues expected to be raised at the forum are those related to quality of life, she and Mr. Cantwell said.

“Amagansett is feeling a sense that our quality of life is being eroded by tourism in a way that hasn’t been experienced before,” Ms. Frankl, herself a hamlet resident, said. “It’s the code enforcement issue that has bedeviled the whole town, during the current administration and before. … I think people feel as though there’s been no code enforcement at all the last few years.”

Share houses and crowding at Indian Wells Beach—which has seen an influx of young beachgoers getting dropped off by the vanload—are two big issues, she said. The proposed senior and affordable housing project known as “555” that is pitched for an open tract of land on Montauk Highway is another item residents have questions about, she said.

Mr. Cantwell said he looks forward to hearing what Amagansett residents have to say and said he anticipates the maintenance of beaches, overcrowding and better enforcement of the existing laws to be among the topics of discussion.

The Amagansett event follows similar forums in Springs and Montauk. A “Listen In” for the East Hampton, Wainscott and Northwest Woods communities is being planned for late September.

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