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Nov 12, 2014 10:19 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Southampton Town Board Lends Support To Revisit Bridgehampton Gateway PDD

Nov 12, 2014 10:19 AM

The Southampton Town Board has thrown its support behind a proposal to revive the Bridgehampton Gateway, a proposed mixed-use, planned development district in the hamlet that Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst brought back to the table for consideration in September.

At a Town Board work session on Thursday, November 6, Town Planning and Development Administrator Kyle Collins gave the same presentation to the Town Board that he did just a couple of weeks ago to the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, which outlines where the project left off in 2009 and what could be done moving forward in order to bring it to fruition.

The 13-acre cluster of properties, west of downtown Bridgehampton on the south side of Montauk Highway and across from Bridgehampton Commons, currently allows for 60,000 square feet of building space, which could include both commercial and residential spaces. The majority of the site is currently zoned for highway business, which limits commercial uses to retailers such as car dealerships and appliance stores.

The Bridgehampton Gateway proposal envisions a PDD, which is a localized change of zone, to increase the development to as high as 80,000 square feet, and adds numerous uses currently excluded by zoning, which would allow the development to focus on establishing space for retailers that would “build on the agricultural heritage of the hamlet.” Town officials have not been specific about what kinds of retailers would be targeted, saying that the community would have the opportunity to give input on that decision.

A key part of the development also would be residential properties incorporated into the site, which would be, by nature of the type of development, more affordable in nature.

The former Town Board had abandoned the project after two of the parcels that make up the Gateway site were acquired by Suffolk County because of tax default, and also because technicalities involving who owned which pieces of the property created confusion, as three different owners—Barnes & Noble, Ralph and Steve Macchio, and Carol Konner—managed them, making an overall development plan more challenging.

Today, the entire collection of properties is under one owner, Ms. Konner. As a result, Mr. Collins told the Town Board that the process of developing the Gateway PDD would be much easier this time around, especially since the earlier plans are 80-percent complete.

Upon hearing the presentation, board members agreed with Ms. Throne-Holst that exploring the possibility of completing the Gateway PDD would be beneficial to the Bridgehampton community. They all concurred that while they found no reason to turn the project down, it would ultimately be up to residents whether or not the town should proceed.

At the October Bridgehampton CAC meeting, its members encouraged Ms. Throne-Holst and Mr. Collins to move forward with the plans.

Town Board member Brad Bender said he thought the Gateway would be a great way for more retailers to come to Bridgehampton, using the controversy over the proposed CVS as a possible option to explore for the PDD.

“We’ve had a lot of people that don’t like the CVS. I don’t know if that’s an opportunity for that corporation maybe to get in there as well,” Mr. Bender said. “We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.”

Christine Scalera, who was working in the town attorney’s office when the project was originally proposed, said it was worth exploring again, but she added that she would like to know more about any conversions needed for septic systems the property would feed into, as it would consist of both residential and commercial buildings.

“It presents an interesting concept,” Ms. Scalera said. “I’m interested to know what the analysis will be based on the underlying zoning.”

While board member Stan Glinka said that it’s a little too early to be commenting on the Gateway proposal, since it was just presented to the Town Board last week, he did say that he was looking forward to hearing what the community would like to see come out of it. “That’s the most important part of our job,” he said on considering the community’s thoughts. “I think it’s great that we’re revisiting it. I’ll be anxious to see where it goes.”

Up next, Ms. Konner and her son, Greg, will work with land use advisers and architects to start drawing preliminary plans based on the model from 2009. Mr. Konner told Bridgehampton residents at October’s CAC meeting that he might be able to have something ready to show them at this month’s meeting, slated for Monday, November 24.

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How does paving over 13 acres of vacant land to build an upisland mall "build on the agricultural heritage of the hamlet"?
By New Guy in Town (10), Westhampton on Nov 13, 14 11:39 AM