Battle over billboard heats up on Long Island

Neighbors who live in and around Hampton Bays are outraged at the prospect of sixty-foot tall electronic billboards in their quaint community.

More than a dozen people armed with signs and banners came out Wednesday to protest the project.

The Shinnecock Indian Nation began construction on multi-million dollar project a couple of weeks ago, which will include two large signs on both sides of Sunrise Highway, between exits 65 and 66.

Local elected officials, like Town of Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, cite several environmental and safety concerns.

“We’re concerned about traffic safety, that drivers will be distracted. We’ve had a number of accidents already on Sunrise Highway in this area,” he argues.

However, members of the Shinnecock tribe, who own the land, say the billboards are a way to generate significant revenue while leaving a relatively small footprint.

“Where the actual signs are gonna be, are completely to code to what New York State has asked of us. We did that as a courtesy,” says Seneca Bowen, Treasurer of the Shinnecock Council of Trustees.

The tribe did not say how much it will profit from the two billboards, but it did mention that the income will be used to fund a tribal police department, education, and affordable housing programs.

The Hampton Bays Civic Association has scheduled a meeting on the topic to be held next Monday at 7pm.

A representative from the tribe plans on attending.