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Jun 23, 2009 6:56 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays moratorium likely to be extended

Jun 23, 2009 6:56 PM

A building ban targeting the commercial corridor along Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays that is set to expire at the end of this month will likely be extended to the end of this year.

The Southampton Town Board on Friday set a public hearing to discuss the possible extension, which town planning officials say is necessary in order to allow for further study of how future development and growth will impact the hamlet. Continuing the moratorium is something the Town Board first discussed back in March.

After adopting the moratorium in June 2008, the Town Board widened the boundaries of the moratorium two months later in August after civic groups complained that the scope of the moratorium was too narrow. Initially, the targeted area reached from Jones Road in the east to Peconic Road in the west—with a focus on three sectors of the hamlet: the western sector, running from Jones Road to Route 24; the central sector, or the hamlet center, along Montauk Highway from Route 24 to the intersection of Ponquogue Avenue and Squiretown Road; and the eastern sector, stretching from that intersection across the Shinnecock Canal to the hamlet’s border.

In August, the borders were broadened from Jones Road into Tiana Bay reaching as far south as Oakwood Road, and a new boundary was drawn from Shinnecock Road in the north to the Shinnecock Bay in the south, and from Gardners Lane extending east to the water. North of Sunrise Highway, the Peconic Road marker remained, but the boundary was extended past Newtown Road in the west and from Sunrise Highway into the Great Peconic Bay.

Overdevelopment in Hampton Bays has been an issue for some time, with civic leaders arguing that the build out in the town’s most dense hamlet has been destroying the community and its environment. A series of community forums, which began in 2006 to address these concerns, blossomed into a strategic study aimed at enhancing the hamlet. That study, according to Assistant Town Planning and Development Administrator Freda Eisenberg, will not be concluded by the moratorium’s current sunset date of June 30.

A potential re-use of the Boardy Barn site, improvements to Munn County State Park, a new railroad overpass across Montauk Highway on the western and central borders of the study area, new roads to connect the newly opened Stop & Shop with Good Ground Road as a link to the commercial center, a renewed aesthetic focus on Route 24, and beautification of the gateway entrance from East Quogue are some of the study’s suggestions to enrich the hamlet.

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