Fred Ruvolo, owner of Village Cobbler Shoppe in Riverhead, is...

Fred Ruvolo, owner of Village Cobbler Shoppe in Riverhead, is retiring after 53 years in business. He started repairing items at age 19. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Liberty Gardens plan: Listen to opposition

The editorial “Housing setback for East End” [Opinion, June 17] reads more like a developer’s pitch than a fair analysis of Liberty Gardens’ substantive failure. In fact:

State-supported housing cannot be solely reserved for Southampton’s workforce.

This project expanded to supportive care only after the application was accepted.

The proposal requires a massive density bonus over existing zoning.

Local Emergency Medical Services have pleaded they are overburdened to handle this facility.

The acceptance of a developer’s Final Impact Statement is an administrative requirement for decision-making, not a blessing for any project’s suitability.

The proposal’s single access onto County Road 39 is located on one of the region’s most dangerous and heavily burdened commercial roadways, and its traffic impacts have never been resolved.

We have to do better, and good intentions cannot ignore decades of fact-based planning and zoning that sustains public trust and balances growth.

Let’s explore these issues, but not by turning a blind eye to rational community planning concerns or drifting into destructive innuendo just to make a point.

The problems with this site were well known from the outset — the applicant wanted too much, and that is why Liberty Gardens failed.

— Robert S. DeLuca, Southold

The writer is president of the Group for the East End.

The “stain that will be difficult to erase” is not the Southampton Town Board’s decision to deny Liberty Gardens, but besmirching by Newsday’s editorial board, which parrots Concern for Independent Living’s debunked talking points and sales pitches under the heading of “reasoned opinions, based on facts.”

Pumping for a lawsuit, along with the developer, which hopes to intimidate both the public and the town board, the editorial ends with the hope that litigation could mean: “Liberty Gardens may still have a future in Tuckahoe.” One question is: Should the editorial board — vilifying the issues, opposition and the concerns of Tuckahoe residents — have a future in Tuckahoe?

The intemperate editorials and columns — which fan the developer’s ire and reiterate his anti-veteran accusations in hopes of launching a fair housing action — are irresponsible and harmful. The board’s unquestioned rush dissemination of the developer’s spiel is transparent. Want to encourage debate? Contact the opposition.

— Frances Genovese, Southampton

As a Southampton Town resident, I understand the town’s decision regarding Liberty Gardens, as this has been debated a lot in recent years. I see no indication that a town board majority is against the project’s worthwhile goal of building veterans and workforce housing.

Town Supervisor Maria Moore has been outspoken in her recognition that this is one of the biggest issues facing not just Southampton but surrounding towns. To depict a decision — made after weighing years of legitimate concerns coming from the community and experts about the cost and benefits of adding 50 housing units off the only major thoroughfare in the town — as “poor governance” is an unfair characterization.

— Patti Schaefer, Westhampton Beach

Fixing old items helps save our environment

It was sad to learn that Fred Ruvolo, the last cobbler in Riverhead, is retiring. But I was glad that Michael Dobie used his Sunday column to point out what’s causing the loss of repair businesses — our building-for-obsolescence and “throwaway” cultures “Cobbler’s goodbye is a loss for us all,” Opinion, June 9].

These two mindsets have helped create a “linear” consumer economy, one where we extract, use and trash our limited natural resources to build new (often nonessential) stuff. Nothing is reused, recycled, repaired or repurposed (the 4 R’s), and guess what? There is no “away” place except for our Earth’s land and waters.

Changing our mindsets and behaviors about “stuff” is essential for the well-being of our Earth and us. While we work on that, we can participate in the “redesign and repair” movements. These help create a “circular” economy and value mindset.

Here on the East End, the North Fork Environmental Council, of which I am a board member, has already run five rotating three-hour Pop-Up Repair Cafes. Skilled volunteers help fix for free broken items that owners bring in — lamps, dresses, tools, shoes, furniture, vacuum cleaners, etc. — averaging 45 items per event.

— Margaret Rose de Cruz, Greenport

WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO JOIN OUR DAILY CONVERSATION. Just go to and follow the prompts. Or email your opinion to Submissions should be no more than 200 words. Please provide your full name, hometown, phone number and any relevant expertise or affiliation. Include the headline and date of the article you are responding to. Letters become the property of Newsday and are edited for all media. Due to volume, readers are limited to one letter in print every 45 days. Published letters reflect the ratio received on each topic.


FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.