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Mar 26, 2008 1:45 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Moratorium Likely

Mar 26, 2008 1:45 PM

The Southampton Town Board appears set to hit the brakes on development in Hampton Bays, announcing this week that it intends to move forward with an in-depth environmental study for the entire hamlet and leaving the door open for a possible building moratorium.?According to a press release issued Monday by Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot, a resolution giving the green light for an environmental report, known as a Generic Environmental Impact Study, will be introduced at the Town Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 8.?The same release notes that board members will most likely then discuss the idea of adopting a building ban in Hampton Bays at its next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, April 22. The board intends to hold a public hearing on the proposed hamletwide moratorium at the second meeting, according to the press release.?Ms. Kabot said the purpose of the public hearing on April 22 will be ?to determine the scope of any ?town-imposed building freeze, as well as to receive further input from ?community residents. An undetermined write-in period will likely follow the public hearing.?Considering that such action will probably have the support of Hampton Bays residents, who have been demanding a moratorium in their hamlet for years, and already has the backing of several Town Board members, a building ban could go into effect as soon as May.?Ms. Kabot said she has asked Town Planning and Development Administrator Jeff Murphree for a list of all Hampton Bays applications that are now pending before the Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and Conservation Board. She said a list of pending projects will aid in defining the parameters of any future moratorium.?The supervisor said she was more concerned about passing a moratorium targeting overdevelopment in ?the hamlet, not small projects such as requests for area variances that ?might be sought by homeowners ?looking to add a deck or build an addition.?"This is to prevent big developments, such as condos, from harming the character and charm of the community," Ms. Kabot said. "Not to step on the little guy."?In response to overwhelming demand from concerned citizens in the hamlet, the Town Board plans to sign off on a GEIS for Hampton Bays, a capital project, at a special meeting this Friday, March 28. According to the supervisor, the study will cost $100,000.?Putting pedal to metal, Town Board members are bypassing the bidding process, known as a Request for ?Proposals, and will be commissioning the Hauppauge-based engineering consulting firm Cashin Associates to conduct the environmental impact study. Ms. Kabot said Cashin will ?be tapped because of its familiarity with the hamlet and expertise in the field.?Town Board member Anna Throne-Holst, who attended last month's Hampton Bays Civic Association meeting, said she thinks that hamlet residents will fully support the proposed study and moratorium. She also said that she does not think residents will be upset if the town bypasses the bidding process on the project. "They just wanted us to get it done," Ms. Throne-Holst said.?After numerous complaints from Hampton Bays citizens about the number of proposed developments in their community, the Town Board on February 12—after giving the go-ahead to the construction of a 50-unit senior citizen development on Montauk Highway—decided not to entertain new applications for Planned Development Districts until the completion of an environmental study. The idea of holding off on additional reviews was suggested by Ms. Throne-Holst.?In a communique dated February 19 and sent to Mr. Murphree, Ms. Kabot called for the suspension of all change of zone applications in Hampton Bays, mirroring what had been done in East Quogue, due to the "intense amount of development proposed in Hampton Bays." The proposed moratorium could delay the completion of a number of projects, such as the Residences at Canoe Place and Tiana Commons, according to the document filed by Ms. Kabot.?The Residences at Canoe Place proposal calls for the construction of a four-story, 75-unit timeshare on two lots located on the northwest corner of Montauk Highway and Newtown Road. The $100-million project, if approved by the town, will be built on the current site of the Canoe Place Inn. The Tiana Commons proposal, estimated to cost around $30 million, calls for a mixed use development featuring 10 businesses and 20 apartments.?A land use study that examines all of East Quogue, also considered a GEIS, was recently completed by AKRF Inc., a Bohemia-based consulting firm, on behalf of Southampton Town. The report placed proposed caps on the number of new homes that should be built in East Quogue and provided estimations on the amount of open space that should be preserved in that hamlet. The document, which has not yet been adopted by the Town Board, was finished after a two-year moratorium that targeted all of East Quogue.

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