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Apr 21, 2015 11:50 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bridgehampton Gateway Could Be Approved By End Of This Year

Apr 21, 2015 7:18 PM

Plans for the Bridgehampton Gateway, a mixed-use development slated for the empty lot across from the Bridgehampton Commons, continue to move forward, with a vote on the project by the Southampton Town Board possible by the end of this year.

Last Thursday, Town Planning and Development Administrator Kyle Collins presented an updated conceptual plan for the Gateway to the Town Board for the first time, noting that public hearings on the project could take place by the end of summer. Those would be followed by a board vote to approve the planned development district, or PDD, a special zoning that permits uses that are otherwise not permitted under current zoning, all after a state environmental review is completed.

The environmental review for the project is already about 80 percent completed, as the Bridgehampton Gateway is nothing new to the town, or to Bridgehampton residents. The idea first materialized in 2003, when the PDD was to be anchored by a Barnes & Noble bookstore, but that project stalled and eventually fell through in 2009 after a portion of the land the bookstore giant owned was sold following a default on a property tax bill.

In September, Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Mr. Collins approached the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee about revisiting the Gateway, and since then they have been working closely with committee members to finalize the conceptual design, which includes up to 90,000 square feet of commercial and residential space on 13 acres, made up of eight individual parcels. The CAC has been active in letting town officials know what it wants and doesn’t want to see within the PDD, even coming up with alternative names for the project.

The Gateway, most of which is currently zoned for highway business uses, limiting it to retailers such as car dealerships and appliance stores, could accommodate a variety of different retailers once rezoned as a PDD. Restaurants, department stores, bookstores, real estate offices, hair salons, hotels and inns, and art galleries would all be permitted, while drive-through banks and eateries, auto body shops, and convenience stores would be prohibited. Fitness centers would be allowed, and there is currently a site plan application before the town for Equinox, a fitness facility that would occupy two barn-like buildings totaling just more than 27,000 square feet on 6 acres of land. Aside from the Equinox, the remainder of the Gateway would be relatively small in scale, with other retail spaces each falling somewhere between 3,600 and 15,000 square feet.

Pharmacies would also be permitted, something Bridgehampton CAC members have said would make the project much more attractive to them, especially as they fight to prevent a CVS from occupying the space on the corner of Montauk Highway, Lumber Lane, Ocean Road and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike in the hamlet’s business district.

The housing component of the Gateway would include up to 30 residential units, two going for market rate and the rest being priced to be affordable.

After Mr. Collins presented the concept to the Town Board during a work session last Thursday, Ms. Throne-Holst assured her colleagues that the Gateway would be a tremendous benefit to both residents and retailers, especially with its location on Montauk Highway, the South Fork’s “main artery.”

“There are few parcels like this in the town,” she said. “We’re looking to make this as beneficial to the hamlet of Bridgehampton and the surrounding areas as possible.”

While the majority of the Town Board offered no opinions on the Gateway at the meeting—Councilmen Brad Bender and Stan Glinka and Councilwoman Christine Scalera have previously said they supported the idea of exploring the project again, however—Councilwoman Bridget Fleming said she would like to see comments expanded beyond the CAC, as that group is just a small portion of the Bridgehampton community. “That doesn’t mean that I, or the whole community, have been involved in this discussion,” she said.

Other members of the community will have the opportunity to hear more about the Gateway when Mr. Collins rehashes his presentation at the CAC’s meeting on Monday, April 27, at 7 p.m. in the community room of the Bridgehampton National Bank on Montauk Highway. CAC co-chair Nancy Walter-Yvertes said she would like more voices to be heard in the planning process, as there are even some members of the CAC who are not completely on board.

Ms. Walter-Yvertes added that she thinks many people will appreciate the Gateway’s pedestrian-friendly design, with pockets of parking areas instead of one big lot, and building designs that will be consistent with the hamlet’s agricultural heritage.

“I expect this to be welcomed by the community once they realize that it’s going to happen anyway. There are some members who don’t want any development on the highway, but that’s not happening,” said Ms. Walter-Yvertes. “This is going to be very friendly, small-scale.”

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Yes.. our community is in dire need for yet another exercise facility. Seriously, that's the best use of the property? How about a reasonably priced casual restaurant that serves decent food? Sorry Panera, that ain't you.
By harbor (411), East Hampton on Apr 21, 15 1:22 PM
Southampton town does not have an enclosed pool since the Omni closed.

A place to swim in the winter would be nice...
By Mr. Z (11658), North Sea on Apr 21, 15 1:30 PM
Agreed. Fitness centers have a very high water usage also compared to retail use and that's not what you want in an environmentally sensitive area near the pond.
By H2O (85), easthampton on Apr 21, 15 11:24 PM
Any fitness center would be better than the Hampton Gym Corp. in Southampton. That place is falling apart and losing machines daily. It's about time that the Town recognizes the need for some developments that will encourage competition.
By Mouthampton (436), Southampton on Apr 22, 15 10:54 AM
The co-chair of the CAC, Nancy Walter-Yvertes, evokes literary references for me. When she says "I expect this to be welcomed by the community once they realize that it's going to happen anyway," that could be straight out of George Orwell. Then, she sounds like the Queen of Hearts when she decrees that "there are some members who don't want any development on the highway, but that's not happening."

Probably, Ms. Walter-Yvertes doesn't mean to sound quite so autocratic, but anyone who ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1966), Quiogue on Apr 22, 15 12:59 PM
how about affordable housing for local workforce middle class. subsidized rents in return for Town tax abatements and county/state/fed subsidies. Yes a developer makes money too, thats how you transfer the risk away from the taxpayer and accomplish a social goal without sending a taxpayer cent.
By GALAXIE (43), SAG HARBOR on Apr 23, 15 1:32 PM
2 members liked this comment
Accompanying article: New season brings same old traffic delays for eastbound commuters. So the gateway will provide a much needed rest stop after a long drive... Since 'it's going to happen anyway'.
Has the town planning board considered using this land for farming?? Or must everything be developed so we become an extension of Nassau county and miracle mile.
By bh nematode (10), bridgehampton on Apr 26, 15 10:52 AM
Yet another zone changing PDD courtesy of our pro-developer town board. This one led by our Supervisor who never seems to see one she doesn't like. How many PDD proposals so far this year, four, five, six? No community has been left out. Condos on the canal, Sandy Hollow, The Hills in East Quogue, shopping center in Tuckahoe, Now we have this Bridgehampton Gateway. The year isn't even half over, what's going to be next?

By moonpie (43), Southampton on Apr 30, 15 11:19 PM
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