After Some Setbacks, East Hampton Town Moves Forward With Flooding Abatement Project On Route 114

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With Suffolk County approval, East Hampton Town will be able to construct a swale on Route 114 that would greatly reduce a severe flooding problem on Sulky Circle and Harness Lane, according to East Hampton Town Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc.

The proposed swale, or ditch, would be 6 and a half feet deep at the edge of farmland on Route 114 in East Hampton and include three leeching pools to slow water down. Plants would be placed at the top and bottom of the swale.

Mr. Van Scoyoc said sediment was being lost from the farm fields every time the area flooded. The swale is meant to reduce sediment loss and keep the fields farmable.

The plan is a second attempt at tackling flooding in the area, according to Thomas Talmage, the town’s engineer. Originally, the project was slated to be a 300-by-300 14-foot sump with fencing. But while construction crews were in the middle of things, the county sent the town a cease-and-desist letter, explaining that the county had purchased that property’s development rights to preserve farmland on 114.

After going back to the drawing board, but with County Planning Department and Farmland Committee approval this time, the town has a much more palatable project. Mr. Van Scoyoc said that because prime agricultural soil had been removed from the site during the initial construction, the county made a deal with the town—instead of paying for the lost soil, the town must commit to purchasing other farmland for preservation, which is one of its goals anyway. That way, the town would get “credit” for the soil it removed.

The farmland on 114 belongs to a private landowner, Elizabeth Fonseca, so the town is acting on her behalf to get this project completed.

After the town gets final approval from the county, the contractor will begin work once again.

“You have worked very hard with the county to resolve the matter and have come up with a reasonable solution that will help protect the subdivision by reducing flooding as well as preserving as much farmland as we can,” Supervisor Larry Cantwell told Mr. Talmage at Tuesday’s Town Board work session.

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