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Aug 11, 2010 11:57 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Town Board agrees to postpone public hearing on Speonk condo application

Aug 11, 2010 11:57 AM

The Southampton Town Board on Tuesday agreed to postpone a public hearing, originally scheduled for that evening, to discuss a developer’s plan to build 60 condominiums in Speonk.

Wayne Bruyn, who is representing developer Barry Bernstein of Manhattan, asked Town Board members for more time to garner additional comments on the application’s environmental reports. The Town Board granted the request, pushing back the hearing until November 9, while also advising Mr. Bruyn to go back to the community to get a consensus on a new development proposal that addresses environmental and density issues that have been raised in the past.

The applicant is requesting a change of zone to a planned development district so he can construct what has been dubbed Serenity Estates. The project calls for the building of 60 condominiums on 15 acres located on the west side of North Phillips Avenue. The units would be sold only to senior citizens.

Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming was the only Town Board member to oppose the postponement, stating that she still isn’t happy with the plan. She said the project’s density and proximity to a nearby plume of contaminated groundwater have not been addressed by the developer.

But Mr. Bruyn said the plume has already been adequately addressed by the applicant’s consultants. “That’s there, that’s in the record,” he said.

Some hamlet residents on Tuesday voiced their opposition to the plan’s density. Those objecting included Speonk-Remsenburg Civic Association member Andrea Spilka and Jennifer Hartnagel, a representative of the environmental organization Group for the East End.

Ms. Spilka said the community would like to see something smaller built on the site, possibly a medical office or treatment center. Current zoning allows for the construction of 13 single-family homes on the land. Ms. Spilka also said she took issue with the applicant’s traffic study, which she said is dated.

“I think we’re very clear in saying to him we were not in favor of such a large development,” Ms. Spilka said.

In addition, Ms. Hartnagel argued that the plan does not offer any community benefits, as required under the PDD legislation. “So right then and there that makes the whole proposal unacceptable,” she said.

Mr. Bruyn said community groups have not offered his client any advice on how to develop the land, and that a consensus has not been reached.

Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst advised Ms. Spilka and her group to “put their heads together” and come up with some ideas for how they would like to see the property developed. “I think it would be helpful for the applicant at this point if you were to get together and come up with some real suggestions,” Ms. Throne-Holst said.

After Ms. Fleming raised her objections, Ms. Throne-Holst explained that the postponement should allow the developer extra time to come up with a new plan that is “dramatically different” from the one now being proposed.

“My feeling is we’re giving the applicant a last chance, really,” she said.

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