Equal Time the last time

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Equal Time the last time

No Hospice on Quiogue

Hereinunder is Cherie Magee's lengthy sur-reply to the responsive Comments to Sun­day's "Equal time entry."

Ms. Mcgee, OtBB is for the final time, yours to advance your position:

Several points to answer here.

Aren't our zoning laws actually an answer to nimbyism? Really who would want cows or chickens on my mothers' 1/2-acre field in the middle of Westhampton Beach? Is that OK just because she has the space for it? No. Her neighbors would rightly be hollering for peace and quiet! (and better air quality!)

Who wants a business in the middle of a residential neigh­borhood? No one, that's why there are now zoned business districts.

But because this is a hospice that cares for the dying, people seem to forget that it is a business and like other businesses it draws traffic at all hours of the day, and in the case of a hospice, night too. No thank you – we do not want this busi­ness here in our residential neighborhood.

It was originally zoned R20 for a particular reason – to keep it residential and keep business elsewhere. That should not be changed simply because this is a hospice and not a clothing store.

I'm not saying it is exactly the same as a store but it still functions as a business and cannot possibly be as calm and quiet as a normal residential home.

Most of us have occasional visitors and workmen at our properties – a few times a week at most, not 24/7.

As for the wildlife, Dean, it just doesn't seem right nor even logical to me, to say "well the creek is already polluted from jet fuel 35 years ago, and there aren't too many species left anyway, so who cares?"

Shouldn't we all do what we can to maintain or improve our waterways?

The Creek as viewed from Brook Road is a valuable asset to our community. I can think of no other local place where families go regularly (year after year in the case of Summer visitors, or daily for the rest of us) and have such close and easy access to a creek.

The Village has maintained this area as long as I can remember for the public to use – it is in essence a mini-park. We go to simply sit and enjoy the view, we paint, we feed the ducks and geese, we fish and crab. It is a lovely place where our diverse population share a love of our natural surround­ings and can use it without need for an expensive beach sticker.

It upsets me to think that this area in particular might be ruined for the future. It is hard to say how much of the pro­posed buildings would be viewed from Brook Road, but the photos used in all East End Hospice's literature and news articles show a view up from the water, to the back of their new eight patient rooms.

Given that that entire shoreline is covered with fragmites and other natural vegetation which Southampton Town Code, Article V 111-28, specifically forbids destroying, how is that an accurate picture of what the patients view will be? Unless they are planning to destroy that vegetation. Why should Southampton Town give them special permission to deci­mate this area, ruining nesting areas of the wildlife?

At any rate, I figured that our Bay Keeper{sic} would know more about what will and won't be harmful to our waterways than I do, so I went and spoke to him to get more information.

Well, Mr. McAllister was definitely concerned when I spoke to him about it and he has in fact contacted East End Hospice about installing a waste water system because of those con­cerns. In his words, "Their response was not what I was looking for." But East End Hospice planners may yet be looking into that – I certainly do hope so.

Gordie; thanks for the info about Northport's facility also providing space for administrative services – no, I was not aware of that.

However, my math is straightforward – the last plan on file at Southampton Town shows 12 parking spaces. There are six employees and if even only half the patients have family stay­ing with them, that leaves only two spaces for visitors. Sorry I just don't see how that can be enough. And that would mean that there will be additional cars parking down the street.

As I have been saying all along, this is not a good place for street parking due to the traffic coming so fast off Montauk Highway.

It is for that reason also, that we in fact made complaints in the past re: Hampton Watercraft's boat trailers parking on both Hampton Street and Meeting House. As a result there is now far less parking there than in the past.

In my opinion also there is a difference in that the boat yard has been there for nearly 60 years. That business is on Montauk Highway, where businesses should be located.

Unfortunately for us, their property goes all the way through to Meetinghouse Road, and of course they have full access to their property from the rear entrance and they do sometimes park – usually for no more than an hour to accommodate moving boats around in their storage yard. It is unusual to see them take a boat onto any other streets in the neigh­borhood.

They also shut their doors at 5:00 pm, and we don't hear anything again until their rear entrance opens at 8:00 am. I don't think it is reasonable to try to shut them down when I am the one that bought my home near them, not the other way around.

The hospice is a different story – their land was zoned resi­dential and they got the zoning laws changed specifically to accommodate them. How is that right?

To Nutbeam – I never said the zoning was changed for Quiogue alone – it was definitely changed for all of South­amp­ton Town.

It was however changed specifically with this project in mind. They did not ask for a change of zoning for their property alone, but got the code to now allow hospice anywhere in residentially zoned neighborhoods.

So yes, in the future that allows more hospice facilities in other neighborhoods in Southampton Town. And yes, this requires a Special Exception application with part of the requirement being no parking within the 50-foot setback. The design on file has parking 40 feet from the street as well as a large part of their drive through area at 30 feet. The natural screening they have proposed will not block that.

No, I don't think this is a good thing to impose on a neighbor­hood. Yes – it is still pretty calm here in Quiogue – this end of Hampton Street is perhaps not as quiet as other areas be­cause we can hear traffic on Montauk Highway, but that doesn't mean Hampton Street should now be used as a thoroughfare. East End Hospice's plan to have their main driveway on Hampton Street will send cars and delivery trucks into and through the neighborhood.

Gordie – Fear mongering is an ugly term and I do take ex­cep­tion to that – we are not trying to terrify anyone into turn­ing against East End Hospice. Far from it, I think the type work they do is, unfortunately, all too necessary and any care­giver that works with the dying on a daily basis is nothing short of amazing.

That said, there was no one questioning the wisdom of this project, and for the future of this hamlet; there needs to be!

As for new construction following regulations, especially con­cerning wetland – DEC regulations stipulate no con­struc­tion within 100' of wetlands, yet the plans on file have a large portion of their proposed building within that setback. I was at a meeting at Southampton Town where this was shown to the Planning Board and at that time the Board did not require them to make any change in that.

Also there are in fact "Dark Skys" laws in effect that they and all new development are supposed to follow. These require lights to be shielded and face downward. That would help. I suspect though that the amount of lighting that will be re­quired to make the parking area and walkways safe will still have the place very well lighted at night.

By the way I was recently told that Peconic Hospital in Riverhead now has four beds for hospice care, though I haven't checked that out myself. I hope they do and that they create more – I'm sure they will be used.

As I said there are other more appropriate places for this, in areas zoned for businesses requiring more space and that would allow for better access and traffic flow.

There was one public hearing last year which my husband and I attended, after which we wrote a letter to the Planning Board listing our objections. Unfortunately, as so often happens here with questionable projects – and one must wonder why – the meeting was in October, shortly after our part-time residents left for the season. So very few of the residents saw the small sign that was posted on the property announcing the hearing. Many we have spoken to knew nothing about this project. Since the pre-plan that was filed last October is only good for a year, and no further hearing was held since then, I expect there will be another coming up soon – again, after our Summer residents have left and are no longer here to attend any hearings.

Cherie Magee

Okay, Cherie, this is actually more... much more... than "Equal Time," and I'm done! Wanna make further Comments, keep'em "Comment-length."

One point in particular: I did what you should have done, and that is call Peconic Bay Medical Center to learn if they do in fact have four, or any number of, beds specific to hospice.

They don't, although they do have a Palliative Care Center, similar to hospice care, but more expansive.

O, and you might want to rethink your conspiratorial suggestions about the timing of the hearings before the Town... I've made the point on numerous prior occasions that if the subject of a meeting is important to you, you'll attend, even if it requires a team of sled dogs.

A simpler alternative is to write a letter to the Board, and ask that it be made part of the record.


1. Cherie Magee said...

Thanks Dean for posting my whole letter, and for clarifying Peconic Bay's care situation.

Writing to the Board instead of attending a hearing is okay – but shouldn't be made necessary by scheduling off-season on controversial projects such as this. Writing in only works if you are aware there is a meeting! Only very close neighbors receive notification by mail of hearings, so if you are back living in your Winter home elsewhere, you will never know about the hearings at all. That is why I sent a letter out to the neighborhood last October.

Good, but if you persist in "feeling" that there's a plot against you, you're going to have a lot of uneasy nights ahead of you...but welcome to the not-always-rewarding life as an activist.
– Dean

2. Ray Overton said...

Here's a great solution. As suggested, the Town can trade some of the Bailey property for this lot with EEH. Then the folks at the Hospice facility can overlook the cemetery plots already planned for that location in their final days. If it was a perfect world, Gordon could buy the old Pastor Chevrolet property and move his operation there. With all that space, he would probably have room for a crematorium - a sort of one stop shopping.

By the way, these statements are dripping with sarcasm. I think suggesting the EEH facility be built adjacent to property already being traded for the expansion of the cemetery is at best thoughtless and at worst cruel.

Whew! Had me concerned for a moment, Ray.

3. Cherie Magee said...

That was not my intent at all – they could certainly block any cemetery view, and in fact my thought was that they could be on the hill and overlook the pond from across the street! I have no idea which part or exactly how much of the Bailey's property went to the cemetery but I'm sure it could be well separated.

What we intend, and what is perceived by others, are often light-years apart.

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