Potter Seeks Return To East Hampton Town Board


Job Potter, a former East Hampton Town councilman, is running for his old seat back, a four-year position that pays $61,750 a year.

The Democrat, who is cross-endorsed by the Working Families Party, served on the board from 1998 to 2005. He also served on the Town Planning Board from 1994 to 1998.

A Springs resident with Amagansett roots, Mr. Potter considers himself semi-retired, holding a real estate license and working for Sotheby’s International Real Estate. He also pursues music.

Mr. Potter has a daughter, Cary, 23, and son, Ben, 20.

The candidate graduated from Connecticut College, where he majored in botany and studied ornithology, particularly seabirds.

“I love our town and have been frustrated by the current board’s inability to get much done,” he said. “Personally, I enjoy helping people and like solving problems.”

Reflecting on his past time on the Town Board, Mr. Potter said he was most proud of rescuing $5 million in federal tax credits by completing the “derelict and abandoned” Accabonac Affordable Apartments, working with an “excellent team of town employees and citizens under a tight deadline.”

His legacy, he said, is the protection of more than 2,000 acres of open space during the first eight years of the Community Preservation Fund, a program which he served as Town Board liaison.

Other achievements he named were bringing the Suffolk County health clinic to town, serving tens of thousands of patients—although he acknowledged that it is now leaving—and creating four historic districts.

“Perhaps the most popular single thing was saving the Poxabogue golf course and driving range from becoming 11 house lots,” he said. “Yes, the town will sell our interest to our partner, Southampton, but it is there in perpetuity.

Looking forward, code enforcement is the top priority, Mr. Potter said. “We need to fully understand the effectiveness of a rental registry and craft it for maximum impact on violators and minimum impact on those who follow the law, if it is done.”

He said the board must reach consensus on a range of issues related to the commercial use of residential lots, take a hard look at the Town Code as it relates to the occupancy of nightclubs and to the ability of motels to create second uses without getting site-plan approval. The town needs a better system in which the chief building inspector consults with the town attorney and relevant town departments before determining whether a project requires a site plan.

Also, affordable housing must be revitalized, having been “completely neglected” by Supervisor Bill Wilkinson’s administration, he said.

Mr. Potter also wants to get the CPF program into “full activation mode.”

In terms of personal qualities and experience, Mr. Potter said he is patient, a good listener, compassionate and has deep personal roots in town stretching back to the 1950s.

“I understand that I don’t know everything, and I often learn the most from people I disagree with,” he said. “I want to be remembered for having made a positive difference in people’s lives. I believe that the natural world is extraordinary—perhaps unique in the universe—and mankind needs to wake up and understand that this planet, its air and water are all we have, and it can be destroyed.”

The biggest issues in town are holding the line on taxes while delivering better services and tending to infrastructure, getting serious about code enforcement, refocusing on groundwater protection and water quality, protecting public beach access (imperiled by the assertion of private property rights to beaches), erosion and bringing back civility and respect to the board.

About the latter, he said, “This is the single biggest issue we hear on the street. Fortunately, it’s the easiest fix.”

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