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Mar 28, 2012 7:05 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Board Agrees To Environmental Study For Canoe Place Inn Plan

Mar 28, 2012 10:11 AM

The Southampton Town Board on Tuesday agreed to commission a study of any possible environmental impacts of a proposal to preserve the Canoe Place Inn and build 40 townhouses along the Shinnecock Canal in Hampton Bays.

The study, under the terms of the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, would be the first step in the board’s consideration of the proposal, which was filed with the town on February 23 by developers Gregg and Mitchell Rechler, via their firm, R Squared Development. The town will assume lead agency status for the study.

The Rechlers would need the board to approve a change of zoning request, from resort waterfront business and motel business to a maritime planned development district, to build the townhouses. In exchange for the change of zone, the brothers would agree to renovate the old inn.

According to Freda Eisenberg, the acting town planning and development administrator, with the study’s approval, the developer’s official application, which has not been shared with the public, can now be posted on the town’s website.

“It basically initiates the public process,” she told board members during a work session on Friday, noting that it would still be a while before a public hearing would be held.

The plan calls for the restoration of the inn, at a projected cost of about $11.7 million, and the construction of 40 townhouses on 4.5 acres on the eastern shore of the canal where restaurants Tide Runners and 1 North Steakhouse now stand. The restaurants, as well as a bait shop and a residence, would be torn down.

The Rechlers have also agreed to build a sewage treatment plant to service the townhouses on an adjacent property.

Both were present at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting, but didn’t speak.

Golf At The Bridge

Due to what developers deemed a “misunderstanding,” the Town Board on Tuesday delayed a measure to accept the donation to the town of five parcels of land totaling 25 acres in Noyac, part of an overall 512-acre tract of land owned by the Bridgehampton Road Races Corporation.

The five parcels were part of a 20-home residential development connected to the Golf at the Bridge golf course. Under the terms of the subdivision, which dates back to 2001, the developers were required to keep some land undeveloped in order to allow for the increased use of fertilizer on the 20 residential lots, which sit on 70 acres. By deeding the five other lots to the town and preserving them, the developers could cover up to 15 percent of each of the 20 residential parcels with fertilizer-dependent vegetation.

The town’s Planning Board last month approved a measure identifying the five parcels to be deeded to the town to mitigate the pesticide use on the residential lots.

The land falls within the Aquifer Protection Overlay District, an environmentally sensitive area that contains a deepwater recharge sole source aquifer, much like the Central Pine Barrens to the west, from which much of the area’s drinking water is taken.

The Noyac Citizens Advisory Committee, in a letter to the Town Board, objected to the land transfer, claiming that it would be utilized to allow for more fertilization to be used at the nearly 300-acre golf course, which could prove detrimental to the aquifer. “The need to keep this 500-plus acre piece of property as pristine as possible remains as critical as ever,” the letter reads. “Even more so today.”

Noyac resident and CAC member Julie Penny objected to the transfer Tuesday night, saying the CAC had little information about the plan—or last month’s Planning Board approval.

The attorney representing the developer, Anthony C. Pasca, a partner in the Riverhead firm of Esseks, Hefter and Angel, said the transfer would not affect the golf course or impact groundwater. “What we’re here before you today to discuss has nothing to do with the golf course,” he said. “What we’re here to talk about is whether you want to be owners of the donor parcels.”

Councilwoman Christine Scalera, who sponsored the resolution to accept the land donation, asked that a public hearing on the measure be kept open until April 10 and the resolution to authorize the transfer be tabled until then as well to allow the people of Noyac to better understand the plan and offer comments if they wanted to. The board agreed.

License Agreement

The Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike may soon be able to use the adjacent Southampton Town-owned Senior Center for nighttime programs under a license agreement being considered by the Town Board.

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