To the editor:
I was saddened and dismayed to see that the 130-unit Heritage condominium project is back in front of the Planning Board and that the developer has essentially demanded the right to build this project without sewage treatment, risking the contamination of our groundwater as well as impacting our local seafood and waters. The developers have succeeded, through a lawsuit, in getting the town to agree to approve this development with no sewage treatment. If sewage treatment is required, the developers have the option of reinstating the lawsuit against the town.
In 2007, before the lawsuit was filed, county sanitary engineer Robert Farmer made clear that “project approval will be contingent upon public water being made available to private well owners that could have their water impacted.” In addition, in a preliminary Draft Environmental Impact Statement filed with the Town of Southold in January 2015, the developers admitted “groundwater in the vicinity of the subject property is expected to flow to the southeast, toward Wickham Creek and eventually Peconic Bay.”
The January 2014 Suffolk County Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan states in part: “We face an alarming trend in the quality of the water our families drink, compounded by impairment of many bodies of water in which our families play.”
I’m not at all excited about the possibility of losing my clean well water forever, but also, who is going to compensate boaters, fishermen and clammers if polluted groundwater makes its way to our creeks? Those familiar with Wickham Creek will know that at low tide you can see the springs feeding ice cold groundwater directly into the creek. What contaminants will this development pour into our local waters?
The stipulation also imposes many time limits and other constraints on the Planning Board and town officials as they review this proposed project. Just when we need the full expertise of our elected and appointed officials, the developer is looking to fast-track the review. Now, more than ever, the residents of Cutchogue and the town need to organize to investigate the effects of this massive project and fully participate in the Planning Board’s environmental review process.
Tom Wacker, Cutchogue