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Feb 20, 2018 2:26 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Corridor Study Inches Forward

Hampton Bays Downtown Overlay District. COURTESY SOUTHAMPTON TOWN
Feb 21, 2018 12:22 PM

The revitalization of Hampton Bays has been on the Southampton Town Board’s agenda for several years, and residents are growing impatient with the lack of attention paid to the hamlet, particularly its business corridor along Montauk Highway.

At the most recent meeting of the Hampton Bays Civic Association last month, several Hampton Bays residents pointed to a 2010 Corridor Study, approved by the Southampton Town Planning Department in 2013. They argued that the plan has gotten little attention by the board in recent years.

“We have had a plan for 10 years, and the town has not done anything to implement anything from that plan,” said Hampton Bays Civic Association director Mary Pazan.

Hampton Bays resident Gayle Lombardi, a member of the Hampton Bays Citizens Advisory Committee, agreed, criticizing Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman’s “vision” for Hampton Bays. “I know Jay has a vision,” she said. “But a vision without a plan is a dream.”

After nearly a decade, the town is finally starting to take action.

“Things don’t move quite as fast as people want them to,” said Town Councilwoman Julie Lofstad, a Hampton Bays resident, addressing some of the concerns at the HBCA meeting. “There are some challenges, and we’ve been working on those challenges.”

According to the Southampton Town website, town officials are working in conjunction with Historical Concepts, an Architecture & Planning firm in New York City, to conduct a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, to begin enacting some of the long-awaited zoning changes outlined in the Corridor Study of 2010. Southampton Town hired Cashin Associates in Hauppauge to complete the original corridor study.

The EIS is targeted for completion within six months. Assistant Town Planning Director Janice Scherer said last week that it will focus primarily on rezoning the hamlet’s stretch of Montauk Highway from Good Ground Road in the south to Good Ground Park in the north, and from Springville to Ponquogue roads west to east. The plan is to rezone those areas from highway business to hamlet commercial as a way to ease the progression from commercial buildings to nearby residential homes.

“Hamlet commercial zones are what we call transition zones,” Ms. Scherer said. “It starts to look more like a hybrid, [where] you might have the classic dentist’s office in a house. It blends more.”

Ms. Pazan and Ms. Lombardi agree that they want the hamlet to be more “builder friendly.” However, they said they don’t want to risk the residential feel that made them fall in love with the hamlet.

“We don’t want big-box stores that highway business could potentially allow,” said HBCA President Janice Landis. “Keeping more of the hamlet feel is a very good thing.”

Kyle Collins, the town planning and development administrator, said the first step is to revisit the hamlet’s “pattern book”—an illustrated guide for potential property owners and architects to see what type of businesses and buildings, including design elements and allowable heights, the community thinks would benefit the neighborhood. Together with the EIS and the rezoning of Montauk Highway, which is being promoted by the town as Hampton Bays’s new “Main Street,” will create the Hampton Bays Downtown Overlay District.

In general, building heights along Montauk Highway are to be kept low to reflect and strengthen the existing character. However, heights are encouraged to increase along Good Ground Park, Good Ground Road and future connecting streets.

According to Mr. Collins, the pattern book design will preserve the unique characteristics described by both Ms. Pazan and Ms. Lombardi, while acknowledging that there will be similarities with other East End neighborhoods.

Ms. Scherer pointed to other East End hamlets, such as Water Mill, East Quogue and Bridgehampton, which have already transitioned from highway business to hamlet commercial. “It lends itself more to mom-and-pop businesses,” she added.

The Planning Department is currently in the process of updating an environmental study under the guidelines of the State Environmental Quality Review Act, or SEQRA. “If we’re really going to land it we have to update that data,” Ms. Scherer said.

Both Ms. Scherer and Mr. Collins will attend the next HBCA meeting where they will discuss the specifics of the pattern book and the proposed rezoning of Montauk Highway. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, February 26, at the Southampton Town Community Center on Ponquogue Avenue in Hampton Bays.

“We really want to dive into the nitty-gritty of it at the meeting,” Ms. Landis said last week.

The zoning change will not affect pre-existing businesses, according to Ms. Scherer. “No one is expected to change anything if they’re already existing,” she said. “Only when someone comes in to build new.”

Still, longtime Hampton Bays resident Robert Jay said he isn’t convinced that the town’s proposal will be enough to save his beloved town.

“I’ve been coming to civic associations for many years. It’s so much talk and very little action,” he said. “Things are not getting done, or they’re getting done at a snail’s pace, and government needs to be accountable. If there’s no deadline, things can just be put off.”

Ms. Pazan agreed, noting that in addition to the rezoning of Montauk Highway the original Corridor Study included plans to create “green corridors” at the beginning and end of Main Street. “That was in the master plan, but nobody has seemed to take any steps to pursue any of those ideas,” she said. “What I expect from the town is a fair shake at reasonable time frames.”

“It’s all well and good to have a pattern book,” Mr. Jay added. “But I think the town should be doing things to help bring Main Street closer to the street. You go to any of the other villages, the buildings are on the street.”

Mr. Jay explained that he would like to see Montauk Highway feature a mix of small businesses and quaint restaurants, as well as a place to hold street festivals and other events. “These are things I think the town could easily do,” he said.

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yes and let's not forget that on page 13 of the study it states that “buildings (are) to…comply with all State and local codes; (and) conditions of overcrowding and illegal occupancy are (to be) corrected”. Maybe the Town Administration can start implementing THAT part of the study.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Feb 21, 18 11:59 AM
2 members liked this comment
Thought Julie would take good care of HB since she lives there but I was wrong. A no vote next time around
By Resident tax (186), Hampton bays ny on Feb 21, 18 12:35 PM
4 members liked this comment
A point that was made by another speaker at this meeting that was not quoted here is that all of our officials are AT LARGE - NO ONE represents HB. All the officials have to represent all of the Town equally. What is good for the Town may not be good for Hampton Bays. The only people that can stand up for Hampton Bays....is the Hampton Bays residents. We all need to keep that in mind if we want to effect positive change. I certainly don't want to be quoted in a 27east article - I had my 15 ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Feb 21, 18 12:50 PM
Slow learners, Julie did nothing the first time and I sincerely she'll do anything this time. "Things don’t move quite as fast as people want them to,”...obviously.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Feb 21, 18 9:12 PM
2 members liked this comment
Julie was never concerned with Hampton Bays. She was put there for one reason and it has nothing to do with Hampton Bays it was to be a no vote for the East quogue Resort golf course. Kick her out and incorporate Hampton Bays it's the only where you are going to gain control of what they are not doing for you
By widow gavits (219), sag harbor on Feb 23, 18 4:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
One other thing to note about these "master plans" for Hampton Bays - they are 10 to 20 YEARS old with mostly 20 year old data, so the Town is now dusting off the plans to implement them without any real validation if they are still relevant i.e. change in demographics, change in shopping patterns, tourism etc. They are also "cherry picking" sections they are implementing here and there thereby invalidating any real value these plans may still have. Just my opinion after reviewing these documents ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Feb 21, 18 4:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Feb 21, 18 8:13 PM
LOL -I feel so special that you noticed. It is important to me that Hampton Bays moves forward in a positive way. What is your reason for posting?
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Feb 21, 18 9:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
I don't think anyone really gets it, HB is all about the waterfront scene and activities. Changing the look of a few stores on Montauk Hwy is not going to help anything unless you raze the whole area and start over and that's not going to happen. They should instead think about developing the "town" in a waterfront location, maybe the area between Cowfish and Rumba, or something new near Tiana Bay just off Montauk Highway. Think of Montauk, the main tourist area is with-in walking distance to ...more
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Feb 22, 18 2:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
Couldn't agree more - but the Town invested over $4 million on Good Ground Park that was supposed to open the back of the long narrow lots adjacent to the Park - instead it has become a concert venue for a handful of hours a year. The property should be prime property for development, but instead the Town has spent almost a decade going through this "visioning" exercise with people that have no skin in the game (including me). At this point, I have suggested let's start with the "vision" of someone ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Feb 22, 18 2:52 PM
So your plan is to let tourists walk around in property owner's yards?
By joeg (31), Hampton Bays on Feb 22, 18 7:39 PM
I am not sure what you mean, but I think you may mean the surrounding private residential properties to the Park. I was not involved when the Park concept and design was agreed to by the "community" and how necessary and relevant it really is, why it is so big and took on a life of its own, but it is here now. In my opinion, without controlled activity, that Park can be an attractive nuisance. I live by the Park and I found the lack of concern for the neighboring residential properties by those ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Feb 23, 18 6:34 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Tomjulie (43), Hampton Bays on Feb 22, 18 5:33 PM
cool - tnx
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Feb 22, 18 5:42 PM
Was was Tomjulie's comment delete? Then please delete Watchdog1 comment addressed to me.
Feb 23, 18 7:03 AM appended by G.A.Lombardi
should be why was....but it was taken down...
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Feb 23, 18 7:03 AM
1 member liked this comment
My comment was talken DOWN from the G.A.l colum and peace and harmony has returned to our quant hamlet.
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Feb 23, 18 4:47 PM
Quaint. Typo
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Feb 23, 18 4:51 PM
Nobody watches what goes on with these Southampton press comment boards more than I do and I did not even see this story. What gives anyway this story was shuffled down of the home page almost instantly ? WHY ?
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Feb 23, 18 5:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
I hope the new mom and pop stores are not taken over by signs that say" se habla espanol aqui" Should that start occurring maybe chain stores would be the other alternative.. I am all for diversity and believe in live and let live but don't change main street unless it is an improvement.
By fyi (17), westhampton on Mar 3, 18 11:32 AM