Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst has called on the president of a sand and gravel company to “be a good neighbor” and adhere to certain environmental protocols when it comes to monitoring the impact that his company’s operations could have on a key aquifer.
At Monday night’s Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, Ms. Throne-Holst asked John Tintle, president of Wainscott Sand & Gravel Inc.—both of whom attended the meeting—to follow the same environmental procedures that facilities like The Bridge golf club do when measuring the quality of groundwater in an aquifer directly under the golf course. Mr. Tintle’s mine, known locally as “Sand Land,” sits on top of the same aquifer, which supplies water to eastern Southampton and western East Hampton towns.
At The Bridge, water quality is measured with 16 test wells. Ms. Throne-Holst confirmed that it costs the club more than $200,000 a year to conduct that testing, along with other environmental monitoring procedures. The Bridge is required to run the testing because of its use of fertilizer to maintain the club’s grounds.
In addition to mining, Sand Land also has mulching and composting operations, which is why the supervisor has asked that it implement more thorough water testing. A study conducted by the State Department of Environmental Conservation found last year that a residential well, along with several other groundwater monitoring wells in the Horseblock Road area of Yaphank, contained unhealthy levels of different contaminants. The DEC has said it believes the Long Island Compost/Great Gardens composting facility is the primary source of the contamination.
In response to Ms. Throne-Holst’s request, Mr. Tintle said he did not wish to conduct as much testing as The Bridge unless the town would implement that much testing at its own composting facilities in Westhampton, Hampton Bays and North Sea. “I won’t follow a golf course’s water-testing protocols,” he said. “I will follow the town’s lead and do the same testing protocols that the town feels is necessary to protect groundwater quality at its three facilities.
“I do not mind monitoring the test wells on site,” Mr. Tintle continued, explaining that there are two at either end of the mine, one of which runs 150 feet deep from the base of the mine.
Ms. Throne-Holst did not offer an immediate response on Monday night.
Sand Land has been a subject of concern since the DEC determined that an application to expand the mine’s operations would not be subject to extensive environmental review under state law. Wainscott Sand & Gravel is seeking permission to expand by 4.9 acres, and also to excavate 40 feet deeper than authorized under its existing state Mined Lands Reclamation Act permit, which was issued November 5, 2013, and expires November 4, 2018. Before it can expand, the company must secure approval from the DEC to modify the permit.
Sand Land is currently mining 50 acres, and the excavated area now extends about 65 feet below its original grade. The mine has been permitted by the DEC and in operation since 1981.
Also at Monday night’s CAC meeting, town planning and development administrator Kyle Collins presented the first concept plans for the Bridgehampton Gateway, a proposed mixed-use, planned development district across from the Bridgehampton Commons on Montauk Highway that the town is revisiting after it put a pause on the project years ago.
The concept included two designs drawn up by Southampton-based Araiys Design, both of which included 90,000 square feet of retail and residential space. Each design features barn-like buildings and a pasture to “build on the agricultural heritage of the hamlet,” along with streetscapes and walkways to make the Gateway pedestrian-friendly for shoppers.
The PDD will also include 36 housing units: eight at market value, with the rest being community benefit units.
When asked if there will be enough retailers to fill 90,000 square feet, developer Greg Konner, who owns the property with his mother, Carol, said that wouldn’t be a problem at all.
“I have an application in front of the town with Equinox,” he said of a pending site plan application for a gym that would be part of the Gateway. “And I have a lot of people asking. I’ll have no problem filling it.”