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Westhampton Beach wants a slice of $2.5B water-quality pie

Westhampton Beach village officials are working on a plan for a local waterfront revitalization program that they expect could put them in better position to get state grants for improving water quality.

Patricia Schaefer, chairwoman of the village’s Conservation Advisory Council, cited New York State’s recent approval of a water infrastructure bill when she recommended that the village board of trustees draft a proposal. The state will provide $2.5 billion for projects geared toward ensuring clean drinking water.

“In light of the vision that the board has for future work and infrastructure work in the village, it just makes sense to have some sort of a planning document,” Schaefer told the board.

A local waterfront revitalization program is a state program that allows local municipalities to do community planning around land and water use, and highlight critical issues facing much of its waterfront. A planning document prepared by the community is required to enact the program.

Westhampton Beach Deputy Mayor Ralph Urban said last week the mayor had contacted the village’s grant writer and village officials would be proceeding with the application process to get a state grant to develop a waterfront plan. The grant application deadline is July 31.

Earlier this month, Mayor Maria Moore said the village would also work with Southampton Town planning officials, who have told Westhampton Beach officials that some elements required for the village’s waterfront revitalization plan are already featured in Southampton’s plan.

Moore said she was intrigued that creating a plan could help the village get more state grants for future water-quality initiatives.

“The board is in favor of taking any steps that would improve water quality in the village,” she said.

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