East Hampton has challenges. Its economy depends on the ocean, but the town is vulnerable to rising seas and extreme weather. It needs to protect its bucolic landscape while managing its vibrant tourist industry. Its charms attract wealthy property owners but its high cost of living makes it inhospitable for many workers.
Town Deputy Supervisor Peter K. Van Scoyoc, 58, a Democrat from Northwest Woods, has worked fruitfully with retiring Supervisor Larry Cantwell on these issues, and is likely to continue that progress. East Hampton has 60 units of affordable housing in the pipeline and is working on more, has adopted a septic replacement program to improve water quality, and has tested a successful shuttle bus in Montauk that will be a model townwide when daily train service begins between Speonk and The End, taking cars off the roads.
Republican Manuel Vilar Jr., 57, of Springs, a 33-year state parks police member and founder of the Police Benevolent Association of New York State, supports most Cantwell-Van Scoyoc initiatives. We understand his urgency in wanting to seek state and federal loans to augment town dollars for septic replacements, but Van Scoyoc is right to cite the danger of saddling a town that’s been reducing its debt with even more.
More troubling is Vilar’s response to the threat to East Hampton in general, and Montauk in particular, from storms and coastal erosion. Hurricanes come and go, he says, and pumping sand to replenish beaches will continue to be the right remedy. Van Scoyoc knows that won’t work forever, and is helping develop a comprehensive plan to determine which oceanfront properties might benefit from relocation, allowing the natural dunes to expand and improve resiliency.
Van Scoyoc, on the town board since 2012, and on planning and zoning boards before that, also runs a construction firm and a charter fishing business. It shows in his detailed knowledge of East Hampton and grasp of the issues. His steady competence makes him a worthy successor to Cantwell. Newsday endorses Van Scoyoc.