- The beautiful village by the sea has gone Green in the midst of summer's glory as wild flowers bloom, potatoes grow, and the few remaining farm stands on Sagg Main cater to the well-heeled Village regulars who are out for the summer months.
While many found repose from the heat wave at its ocean beach, long-time Sagaponack resident and well-known author Linda Bird Francke appeared before the Village Board at their regular meeting Monday afternoon, July 21, to urge the formation of a Green Committee.
Renown author Linda Bird Francke is at the front of the
Green movement in Sagaponack.
"We need to form a Green Committee," Francke said. "I don't think anything should be mandated by the Village but we have to realize that we do not have endless resources." Francke volunteered to head the committee and Mayor Donald Louchheim and three of the four trustees present voted their approval without specifying the number of people who would serve on the committee or how the group would be formed.
"Who knows," Mayor Louchheim said, "we may get 300 volunteers." There are an estimated 520 registered voters in the village.
Francke noted the importance of getting the word out to Village residents, who have been given the honor of residing in one of the world's most expensive zip codes according to Forbes Magazine
"We need to let people know how to save money and save energy," Francke asserted as she described ways to insulate a domestic hot water heater, lower the thermostat, and encourage the bus company that leases a school bus to the Village's small district to make it more energy efficient.
"An advisory committee would be a beginning," Francke said. "The new Village Hall should be Green, the Sagaponack School should be Green too."
Francke pointed to the formation of a Green Committee in Southampton Town earlier this Spring that is now called the Sustainability Committee, devoted to ways to promote reducing the carbon footprint of Southampton Town. She also noted the cutting edge legislation being pushed forward by that town board calling for modifications of the town's building code, requiring homes to be built to energy conservation standards. The town also hopes to pass a law requiring homeowners to heat their swimming pools with solar panels.
"You are moving into a controversial area," Trustee Alfred Kelman said. "This is the beginning of a massive new public policy debate. This will lead to broad questions."
"It all comes down to economics," Mayor Louchheim cautioned, noting the modification of building codes designed to increase energy efficiency would result in increased construction costs.
"I wanted to start with banana steps," Francke said. Trustee Lisa Duryea Thayer noted the new East Hampton Public School will be the first Green school in New York State when its new addition is completed.
"This is an advocacy position," Francke said, "but it needs to be supported by the Village so you are not just dressing in a green shirt."
The Mayor noted wind farms, often touted as an alternative way to generate electricity on the East End, were often noisy and dangerous - before he dictated a resolution off the top of his head to Village Clerk Rhodi Winchell to establish the new Green Committee which was immediately approved.
Linda Bird Francke will serve as chairman and Trustee Lee Foster will serve as village liaison to the new committee once it has some members. Any and all Sagaponack residents wishing to serve should contact Linda Bird Francke at the Village Hall located on the corner of Montauk Highway and Sagg Main.