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Jan 28, 2009 10:01 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bank gets cold reception in Hampton Bays

Jan 28, 2009 10:01 AM

A new plan for a TD Bank in Hampton Bays, which includes a large mural that would be visible from the street and illuminated 24 hours a day, did not sit well with Southampton Town Planning Board members and some hamlet residents attending a hearing held Thursday evening, January 22.

The plan, submitted by architect Douglas Cohen of Bergmann Associates, based in Pennsylvania, and Water Mill attorney Michael G. Walsh, had been redesigned to include a roof that is 6 feet lower than previously proposed. The updated proposal also reduced the number of lanes in the drive-thru from four to three, and included some minor architectural changes to the roofing profiles, window openings, and appearance of the front canopy and columns.

The application still calls for numerous large windows around the building, which Mr. Cohen explained are part of the bank’s branding. The lights of TD Bank branches stay on 24 hours a day and those in the Hampton Bays branch, which would be built on the corner of West Montauk Highway and East Tiana Road, would illuminate a mural painted inside the building that is intended to create a sense of community and warmth, he explained.

“This branch was created for Hampton Bays,” said Mr. Cohen, responding to comments from Planning Board members suggesting that the architectural team take a look at other buildings in the hamlet to ensure that their branch would fit in. “Our task as architects was to blend the character of the area with the branding of the bank.”

Mr. Cohen noted that if board members were unhappy with the lights being on 24 hours a day, he could work with them to come up with a more suitable plan. However, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Walsh stopped short of saying that they would redesign the bank entirely. Mr. Walsh noted that the plan, which has been in the works for three years, had already been reduced in scope in response to comments made by members of various boards and the community.

Specifically, Planning Board members said they did not want the building to look like the TD Bank branch in Westhampton Beach, located at the corner of Montauk Highway and Oak Street. That building features a brick facade and many windows.

“You have to realize that Southampton is different than most suburban or urban places,” said Planning Board member Alma Hyman. “We want to see how your building can fit into our community, not how our community can fit in with the bank’s branding. We prefer dark skies and not buildings that glow.”

Hampton Bays resident Mary Jean Green, who is the president of the Hampton Bays Civic Association, echoed the comments made by board members and stated that the proposed building would be out of place in the hamlet.

“I don’t know if you have imagined this bank on this property...” Ms. Green said. “The property needs to be revitalized, but if it is revitalized the wrong way it will be a permanent blight.”

One problem she had with the design of the building is that it appears to be two stories even though it is only one. “It will sit there like a great big sore thumb,” Ms. Green said. “To see this thing glow like the Disney castle, and to see the mural visible from the highway ... it’s way, way over the top.”

Bonnie Doyle, another resident of Hampton Bays, agreed that the building would not fit in with the character of the community. “I don’t believe the architecture reflects Hampton Bays,” she said.

Planning Board members instructed the applicants to return to the Southampton Town Architectural Review Board to receive additional feedback, and held the hearing open for an additional 30 days. A second hearing has been scheduled February 26.

Closer Study Required

Also on Thursday, the Planning Board voted to require an extended environmental review from the applicants of an 82-lot subdivision proposed for 430 acres in East Quogue.

The subdivision, which is proposed for the northeast side of Lewis Road, near Spinney Road, is called The Hills at Southampton and will feature 82 single-family homes. Town Planner Matthew Briones offered several reasons why the application should require a more lengthy and expensive review, including concerns that the development could cause erosion and would significantly reduce the amount of remaining open space in the hamlet. It might also have a significant impact on traffic in the area, he said.

Southampton attorney Wayne Bruyn, who is representing the applicants, East Quogue Partners, said his clients volunteered to do the lengthy study and said he expects any adverse effects of the subdivision to be mitigated.

A public scoping session, where members of the public can comment on potential environmental impacts, has been scheduled for February 12.

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Lights are on 24 hours in Westhampton Beach and they look good.
By Lefty46 (56), Westhampton on Jan 24, 09 10:52 AM
I feel the idea of another bank in Hampton Bays is just rediculous not to mention the waste of energy with lights on 24 hours a day. I also agree with Ms. Green the building would not fit in.
By Ruby (1), Hampton Bays on Jan 25, 09 11:12 AM
Currently there are 8 banks in Hampton Bays: BNB ,Cap One, Hudson City, Wamu,Chase,Citibank, HSBC and Suffolk County Nat'l Bank.. Why would we need another one? What could another bank possibly offer us? Except to take business from the others or close and/or change it's name like Wamu ..Where is all this TD Bank $$ for branches coming from anyway?Are they using bailout $$ for new branches?
By pmofo (37), East Quogue on Jan 25, 09 11:48 AM
"Why would we need another one? What could another bank possibly offer us?"

How is that your concern? Don't like it? Then don't support it.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jan 26, 09 6:30 PM
More competition usually means a better deal for consumers.Maybe better C.D. or loan rates. This is called capitalism. Maybe you like the idea of a couple of corporations dominating a business sector, so when they fail we have to bailout with our tax dollars.
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Jan 27, 09 8:39 AM
To Frank Wheeler...Actually since I live nearby it is my concern. I think your remarks are both hostile and smacks of a builder or developer.There is an expression "I thinks thou protest to much". Obviously I don't support having another bank in Hampton Bays. That is why I am voicing my opinion. I'm sorry if you can't handle the truth!. Perhaps if you'd like to give an honest reason why another bank should be built you should tell us..... As a reminder Toronto Dominion Bank aka TD bank is in sorry ...more
By pmofo (37), East Quogue on Jan 27, 09 7:30 PM
No. A new bank would be a bad idea.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Jan 28, 09 10:08 AM
Hmmm new bank=new jobs. There's a reason.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Jan 30, 09 9:42 AM
How about TD bank moves into the soon to be vacant Wamu bank in the King Kullen shopping center? Wamu is closing and sending its customers to Chase bank.
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Feb 2, 09 8:42 AM
The TD bank in WHB is one of the nicest looking buildings in all of WHB.

I would expect that the TD Bank in HB would be one that HB could be proud of having in their hamlet.

As far as another bank goes, it seems that the banking industry feels that another bank is needed in the area. Who are we to question that? It is their business and gains and lost sheet.
By firemanli (1), Southampton on Feb 3, 09 11:38 AM
To firemanli.. Yet another seller/builder/developer who seems to have forgotten the extremely bad economy and the the fact that his services can not be afforded and are no longer needed in SH Town.He also seems to have forgotten that the now Canadian owned Toronto Dominion bank in WHB was a different bank last year. An American one... So I do have questions and yes it is our business..After all it's all of our $$ not yours.......
By pmofo (37), East Quogue on Feb 4, 09 1:52 AM