SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Long Island residents plan to protest today over the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s effort to build two 61-foot-high electronic billboards along Sunrise Highway in the Hamptons.
The Southampton town supervisor told CBS2 he was blindsided when trees were cleared on tribe-owned land to make way for the six-story signs, which he says are more suited for Times Square than farm country.
“The town is appalled by what is going on. I mean, we are outraged,” Jay Schneiderman said. “They will completely change the character of our community we have fought long to protect.”
The federally recognized, sovereign Indian nation has reportedly ignored stop-work orders and police summons, but tribal leaders claim they are exempt from state and local regulations.
“Our community has suffered greatly over the last several decades due to a lack of resources. Now, we have the opportunity to generate revenue and have access to the same standard of living as our much wealthier neighbors,” Shinnecock trustees said in a statement.
The state Department of Transportation is now investigating to determine whether the billboards violate federal highway regulations.