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Feb 25, 2009 9:03 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Some concerned Bridgehampton project will harm community character

Feb 25, 2009 9:03 AM

An application to tear down a beverage store in the historical heart of Bridgehampton and replace it with a new retail and office building left some members of the Southampton Town Planning Board concerned that the new building’s design could set a bad precedent for the hamlet.

At a meeting of the Planning Board last Thursday, February 19, board members required that the application, filed by a company called BNB/Lumber Lane Ventures and Leonard Ackerman, an East Hampton attorney, be subjected to a more lengthy environmental review because the proposed 10-foot setback and some architectural details of the new building might detract from the character of the hamlet. The concern was raised in a report issued by the town’s Landmarks and Historic Districts Board, which noted that historic buildings around the property are set back much farther from the road and feature classic architecture.

The proposed design of the new building, which includes some brick siding, would be more modern than its older neighbors, including the Bull’s Head Inn and the Hopping House, both of which were constructed in the 19th century and have wood frames.

The plan calls for the demolition of two existing buildings, including the beverage store and a vacant building also on the lot, and the construction of one new building, proposed to be 5,300 square feet. The plan also includes the installation of some additional parking spaces.

A hearing where members of the public can comment on the project’s impacts on the environment and the hamlet has been scheduled for March 26.

During last week’s meeting, Planning Board member Jacqui Lofaro said that the parcel, located on the corner of Lumber Lane and Montauk Highway, was traditionally part of the gateway to the hamlet, and is part of the historically significant Triangular Commons.

Also part of the hamlet’s gateway is the Bull’s Head Inn property and the Planning Board is now considering an application to redevelop that site, with a renovated inn, four new cottages and a wellness center.

According to a report submitted by the Landmarks and Historic Districts Board to the Planning Board, the Triangular Commons was where the Suffolk County militia and the Third New York Regiment mustered and trained in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

“The impact on community character is often overlooked,” Ms. Lofaro said, responding to a comment from attorney Wayne Bruyn, who is representing the applicants. Mr. Bruyn had said that it was a “real stretch” to require a more lengthy environmental review because many people had commented to him and his clients that the beverage store on the corner is an eyesore and needs to be redeveloped.

Ms. Lofaro and other board members agreed that the corner should be redeveloped, but in a character that is recommended in a hamlet study that was recently submitted to the Town Board that would be in keeping with the traditional look of the hamlet. That study has not yet been adopted. Although the proposed setback is permitted in the code, Planning Board and Landmarks and Historic Districts Board members said they are concerned that it would detract from the historic nature of the area.

During their discussion, board members said that one positive aspect of the plan is that it will eliminate two entrances onto Lumber Lane, which will help redesign what Ms. Lofaro called a “deadly corner.”

“That whole intersection needs to be redesigned,” she said.

Meanwhile, an application to expand a gas station just down the road in Water Mill was given the green light to proceed with a shorter environmental review, because the project is not expected to have a significant impact on the environment. The property is located on Montauk Highway.

The application proposes to construct a 4,300-square-foot building with a convenience store on the first floor and company office space on the second floor, install additional parking, and add a driveway that will exit onto Deerfield Road. A second phase, to be undertaken at a later date, includes the construction of two additional buildings to the rear of the property; one will be 4,000 square feet while the other will be 4,500 square feet. Both phases are being evaluated concurrently by the Planning Board.

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Oh my goodness! Worried about the "character" of Bridgehampton? Have you seen the beverage store? Are you crazy!!!! Tear that building down and put up an outhouse and the village would be improved. It has been an eyesore for way too long. Couldn't happen soon enough!
By private (27), sag harbor on Feb 25, 09 6:09 AM
I agree it is an eyesore...has been since I was child and it was an old gas station...at least I think it was. But it is part of the community, I think what some people seem to loose site of is the community. All the board is asking is that the design be in keeping with the original style... Progress does not mean we have to loose out on chararcter and charm....
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Feb 25, 09 11:04 AM
Where will I get my 40's!?!?!

has anyone thought of that?
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Feb 28, 09 7:46 AM
Is Dennis Suskind one of the corporation members on this project too?
By Hampton (50), Westhampton on Mar 3, 09 8:50 AM