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Apr 9, 2014 10:51 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Developers Propose 48 Townhouses For Downtown Water Mill

Apr 9, 2014 10:51 AM

Developers will submit an application to the Southampton Town Board for a zone change that could allow for 48 townhouses to be built on 6.4 acres in Water Mill, immediately east of the Water Mill Shoppes complex on Montauk Highway.

Representatives for the developers, Philip Young and Joel Kaye, told the Town Board that they plan to submit an official application for a planned development district, or PDD, in the near future.

On Thursday, April 3, the developers’ planning consultant, Richard Warren, said that town planning study of the Water Mill hamlet had recommended that the property be developed with a mixture of residential and office space, but that the residential-only plans have been generally supported by the local citizens advisory committee, members of which were in the audience at the Town Board work session.

The property’s current zoning, hamlet office, would allow the construction of 53,000 square feet of office space and 270 parking spaces. Mr. Warren said local residents have said they prefer residential development over an office complex.

The property would not access Montauk Highway directly, instead using Nowedonah Avenue as its egress, leading to Station Road, which has a traffic light at its intersection with the highway.

Thursday’s unveiling was only an informal, preliminary presentation. The process for review of a PDD, the town’s much-debated circumvention of zoning codes for projects that present a “community benefit,” requires a pre-application submission and public hearing before the Town Board members decide whether to allow the application to proceed toward a detailed review and consideration of redrawing zoning district boundaries.

The plans to be submitted, Mr. Warren said, will reduce by three units the number proposed in an earlier version, but will not include any reduced-cost units as required by town affordable housing statutes for high-density housing. Instead, Mr. Warren said, the developers would make a cash contribution to the town’s affordable housing fund, equivalent to the value of 25 percent of the total number of units, which he estimated at more than $3 million.

Town planning and development administrator Kyle Collins told Town Board members that if they were going to consider allowing the developers to make the “cash-in-lieu” contribution instead of creating the housing as part of their project, the board should require that the money be directed to creating new housing in the immediate vicinity.

“Our view is that the affordable housing units should be in the hamlet district also,” Mr. Collins said. “The PDD is in Water Mill—those units should be in Water Mill also.”

Mr. Collins noted that the property’s zoning would allow as many as 24 housing units as of right as part of a mixed-use development. He also noted that the town’s development blueprint, the Comprehensive Plan, recommends that high-density housing be sited in hamlet centers, as this project would be.

The town has struggled for years to find places to site new affordable housing east of the Shinnecock Canal, where land values are high and opposition from neighbors to any increased density housing is fierce. The code requires that in any high-density developments at least 25 percent of the units be priced for middle-income residents.

Despite the obvious hurdle the affordable housing component would present, board members welcomed the application’s submission.

Councilwoman Bridget Fleming said it was encouraging to see that there had already clearly been a back-and-forth discussion with members of the local community in the drafting process for the project and that the overhauling of the PDD laws by the Town Board in recent years was smoothing the process and clarifying the need for sound community benefits from such projects.

The property owners and Mr. Warren have been working on development of the Water Mill property since 1986. The initial plans were for a 28,000-square-foot supermarket, but those were derailed, multiple times, by zone changes in the area. In the 1990s the Water Mill Shoppes were built, dampening the demand for more retail development. The 2001 hamlet study and a follow-up in 2004 recommended that the property be directed to a mixture of residential and office space.

“When I started work on this project my son wasn’t even born yet—now he’s a teacher at the Ross School,” Mr. Warren said. “Mr. Young has been a patient client.”

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No thankyou
By Soundview (89), Hampton bays on Apr 9, 14 1:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
Rape the world for all it's worth, every inch of planet Earth.

Like we've got somewhere else to go...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Apr 9, 14 3:52 PM
Absolutely there should be affordable housing units among them, if the town OKs the project. Turn down the $3 million!
By oystercatcher (126), southampton on Apr 9, 14 4:03 PM
demoralizing.
.
By david h (405), southampton on Apr 9, 14 5:03 PM
In all the years I have been here David has never met a development project he likes
By joe hampton (3461), southampton on Apr 9, 14 10:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
JOe H you made me smile!!
.
I respect so much the local individuals who demonstrate great leadership to counter every whim of predatory developers. they get to these town meetings and stand up for ALL of us!
..
the natural beauty of the east end is so spectacular & unique. its just sad to see it go.
DH
By david h (405), southampton on Apr 10, 14 8:51 AM
1 member liked this comment
Yes David... but there comes a time when spectacular & unique just looks old and rundown,

We all have wonderful memory's but you cant just freeze the trail forever like a Robert frost paragraph... Its not fair to the people who look at that same old porch and might not see it with the same romantic patina. to those looking at it with out the filter of nostalgia they they just see rotting boards. We should preserve history but also walk responsibly into the future. because if we do not ...more
By joe hampton (3461), southampton on Apr 10, 14 10:12 AM
well said.
I am not against change. I like classic and I like modern. I do like Farrell design but just don't understand how it is so easy for him as a person to have all the money in the world yet seemingly accelerate his pace of building - its the woodland to 'instant neighborhoods' that violate me so much.
..
not a fan of norm jaffe - at all. his spaces are uncomfortable, contrived & nonsensical to me.
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I love AND hate the new art museum. its classic 'pave paradise to put ...more
By david h (405), southampton on Apr 10, 14 12:05 PM
did I light that fuse... lol
By joe hampton (3461), southampton on Apr 10, 14 8:35 PM
This is a terrible idea and I hope the community rejects it. Way too many units for that one location.
By rouff11 (10), water mill on Apr 9, 14 7:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
I think they should be allowed to up thirty stories too.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Apr 10, 14 2:08 AM
Stop the madness. Is this why the Water Mill CAC did not have a meeting this month?
By watermillluvr1 (11), watermill on Apr 10, 14 7:16 AM
listen folks we need to get to the end of these battles either preserve the property's that are left through purchases or stop obstructing
By 27dan (2854), Southampton on Apr 10, 14 9:09 PM
Remain clam and mussel through . . .
By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Apr 11, 14 8:37 AM
2 members liked this comment
Or flounder around without porpoise!

Fiddle Fiddle Fiddle
By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Apr 11, 14 3:43 PM
how about they refurbush the almost totally vacant commercial spaces to the west into apartments and give this parcel to the hamlet for recreational etc uses?
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Apr 19, 14 5:43 PM
1 member liked this comment