East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc plans to retire from public service at the end of the year and will not seek reelection when his two-year term ends then.
The supervisor said in a statement Friday morning he made the decision after “thoughtful consideration and consultation" with his family during the holidays.
Van Scoyoc, 63, a Democrat from the town's Northwest Woods area, has served as supervisor since 2018 and has been a member of the town board for 12 years.
“This time has been marked by daunting challenges but also many successes,” his statement also said. “I am proud of the work that has been accomplished by the Town Board under my leadership and I feel that the Town is currently on solid footing.”
Van Scoyoc told Newsday in an exclusive interview later Friday that the earlier primaries in June, rather than September, have sped up the timeline on the election cycle, making now the right time to announce his decision.
He said it's been a gratifying experience to serve and a time filled with challenges, from the ongoing saga Involving noise complaints related to the East Hampton Town Airport, to energy and pollution issues related to wind farms and wastewater treatment.
The town board recently unveiled plans for a controversial wastewater treatment facility in Montauk.
The supervisor said he also was focused during his tenure on issues related to climate change, the environment, housing and open space preservation.
He joined other East End officials Friday at a forum in Sag Harbor to discuss the next steps to take in connection with the Peconic Bay Community Housing Fund. East Hampton voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum in November to establish that fund for affordable housing initiatives.
Van Scoyoc became emotional at one point during the forum when reflecting on the story of a Marine Corps veteran who received a new home in December through Habitat for Humanity.
Matt Charron, the new homeowner, had been living in a small basement apartment in East Hampton with his teenage son — where they slept in bunk beds — after refusing to leave his hometown so his son can graduate from the local high school.
"He was willing to do whatever he had to do and he shouldn't have to do that," Van Scoyoc said outside the Sag Harbor Cinema. "To me, that really became an emotional thing."
Van Scoyoc said he was proud of the town's efforts when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, including setting up vaccination clinics and allowing outdoor dining so restaurants could continue serving customers when indoor space was limited.
Besides civic service, Van Scoyoc, who has two adult children with his wife Marilyn, had been a charter fishing boat captain for over 35 years and primarily worked operating a residential construction company.
Deputy Supervisor Kathee Burke-Gonzalez announced Friday morning she will screen for the supervisor position with the East Hampton Democratic Committee as soon as next week.
She currently is serving a four-year term on the town board and voters reelected her most recently in 2021.
In a statement, Burke-Gonzalez said profound shifts — including the growth of the year-round population coupled with a shrinking labor pool — require a change in the way local government operates.
"We need to professionalize town government so that it can operate more effectively," she said.