New president takes over Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association

The Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association is now under new leadership, as its founder stepped down last month to assume the role of past president.

Mary Eisenstein of Mattituck, a Democratic candidate for Southold Town Board in the upcoming election, had served as president since organizing the association in 2015. John Carter of Mattituck, who was previously board member at-large, was elected president of the civic group June 26.

Ms. Eisenstein said a transition was always in the works, as the group set two-year term limits for its board positions, and that it is not related to her campaign for a Southold Town Board seat. She said the new board, which includes Laurel resident Susan Palmer, who was voted in as vice president last year, is of the “highest caliber.”

“They are so dedicated and committed to carrying forth our mission,” Ms. Eisenstein said. The civic association sums up that mission in three words: inform, enhance and preserve.

Mr. Carter said he was encouraged to run for the position, but also felt compelled to step up.

“I feel that what the civic association does is important for the community at large,” he said. He first became involved when he saw a need for traffic management.

“Anybody who drives through Mattituck and Laurel, and certainly anyone like myself who lives on a street with a double yellow line, knows that speed and volume of traffic are both safety and quality-of-life issues that extend to the broader community,” he said.

Ms. Palmer was looking to get involved in the community when she joined the group in March last year. The first meeting she attended dealt with a traffic calming project that in part called for safety improvement at the intersection of Main Road, Love Lane and Old Sound Avenue in Mattituck. She was impressed by the group’s ability to bring in experts, such as town officials, to discuss issues, she said.

“The important thing is the civic allows people to have a safe place to come, get informed and be better equipped to go out and discuss local issues,” Ms. Palmer said. One project she’d like to focus on is establishing a village green for the hamlets.

Ms. Eisenstein sought to launch the group after being inspired by how the East Marion Community Association was able to organize a meet the candidates event in 2013.

In more than two years since the Mattituck-Laurel group formed, Ms. Eisenstein said she is most proud of how quickly it got organized, called attention to traffic calming and held a public forum last month on maintaining the area’s rural character while planning for strategic growth. In addition, she said, she is proud of the group’s participation in the land use chapter of Southold Town’s comprehensive plan.

Moving forward, both Mr. Carter and Ms. Palmer see the civic association continuing what Ms. Eisenstein started, offering community members an opportunity to share their interests and concerns at monthly meetings.

“That sort of opportunity is lacking in many communities and I think we’re lucky that we’re able to bring enough people together that we can organize, sponsor and host these events,” Mr. Carter said.

Photo caption: Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association vice president Susan Palmer and president John Carter at the Love Lane street fair July 8. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

[email protected]