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Sep 15, 2010 1:23 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Forum on proposed CPI site use brings polarized, mixed reaction from the public

Sep 15, 2010 1:23 PM

More than 100 Hampton Bays residents turned out at a meeting Tuesday night concerning a proposal between Southampton Town and a developer to preserve the Canoe Place Inn property in exchange for constructing 40 condominiums on the east side of the Shinnecock Canal—and the crowd was divided in its opinion.

The meeting was hosted by Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst to gauge support for the plan and to educate the Hampton Bays community on what the developers, R Squared LLC of Melville, can legally do with the property according to current zoning. Gregg and Mitchell Rechler, cousins who head the development firm, are now offering to preserve the facade of the Canoe Place Inn, located on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays, and bring on a partner to run a catering facility at CPI after restoration is complete. In exchange, the Rechlers want a planned development district, a special type of zoning that would allow them to build 40 condominiums on the eastern side of the canal, where 1 North Steakhouse and Tide Runners restaurants are situated.

Opinion surveys were distributed at the meeting and collected when it was over. Of the approximately 100 that were turned in, an overwhelming number strongly opposed allowing the condominiums on the eastern side of the canal. According to Jennifer Garvey, a spokeswoman for the supervisor, many people reported feeling that way because of the increased density and tax implications the condos would have. Another factor, Ms. Garvey said, was concern that the public should have continued access to the waterfront.

The Rechlers are touting at least two public benefits to their proposal—public benefits are required for planned development districts—the restoration of the exterior of the Canoe Place Inn and public access to a waterfront walkway on the canal.

“There are strong emotions for and against this proposal,” Ms. Throne-Holst said while addressing the audience on Tuesday. “We can’t move forward without fleshing this out with all of you.”

One survey question asked how those at the meeting felt about granting the ability to construct the condominiums in exchange for the restoration of the CPI. Answers indicated a similarly negative response, according to Ms. Garvey, citing that they don’t want the condominiums, noting that they do not want to lose restaurants that are currently at the spot.

Those who filled out the surveys were almost evenly split on the issue of restoring the CPI: 31 people said replicating and restoring the inn wasn’t important at all, 26 said it was very important, Ms. Garvey said.

“This is obviously a situation where not everyone is going to be happy no matter how we do this,” Ms. Throne-Holst said.

The supervisor said she will continue trying to measure community reaction, either via an e-mail list, another hearing or by sending fliers home with Hampton Bays School District students.

“We’ve never done this before, this level of community outreach and participation,” Ms. Throne-Holst said. “In the end, we hopefully will be able to come to some form of consensus.”

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"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. "

~Abraham Lincoln (attributed)
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 17, 10 6:27 PM
Sending fliers home with HB School District Students??? Why is the school District doing the Towns Work?
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Sep 17, 10 9:37 PM
A few members of the audience asked what the "young" people thought. This was in response to that.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Sep 23, 10 5:42 PM
I would like to see the Canoe Place Inn live on as the modern hotel, restaurant & catering facility it once was. I personally feel that there is not enough of the original structure left to make preservation worth while. The whole place was gutted when it became a night club. A new structure designed to honor the memory and success of the original inn would be an asset to the Hampton Bays community. I would hate to see Southampton Town stuck with this sad old structure that only from a distance ...more
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Sep 17, 10 9:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
If you wanted a nice place to have a wedding reception or other event where you would need to house guests/participants overnight, where would you go in the Hamptons? There aren't many choices. I think the Rechlers may be missing an investment opportunity. A new Canoe Place Inn would have a lot going for it, including the history that would live on in the new structure.
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Sep 17, 10 11:17 PM
2 members liked this comment
A catering hall would be a great idea, but the Rechlers are developers so this probably isnt enough for their appetite. I dont think that condos that close to the water is a good idea either and I dont see how I will be able to acces the waterfront in front of someones unit. A public benefit would be to tear down the restaraunts and make the whole area a park where people could come and picnic or fish. Then they could build a boutigue hotel in conjunction with CPI That would be a win win scenario!
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Sep 18, 10 7:12 AM
1 member liked this comment
I am sure the Rechlers wouldn't mind having spent millions on those pieces of property on the east of the canal in order to let us build yet another park. Perhaps you would be willing to donate your property as a park. Sounds like a plan.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Sep 18, 10 6:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
The last thing we need are condos on the east side of the canal, or anywheres for that matter. Tear CPI down and put condos on that land.
By Walt (292), Southampton on Sep 18, 10 3:48 PM
I thought you just said the last thing we needs is condos anywhere.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Sep 18, 10 6:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
I feel the Rechlers should be allowed to build condos on their property on the east side of the canal in return for doing something the community will appreciate and support on the Canoe Place Inn site. The trick is to come up with an idea that will be beneficial to all involved, especially the Rechlers who own the properties. I suspect that if they are able to profit a little more from what they do with the Canoe Place Inn, perhaps they can make their condo proposal for the east side more agreeable.
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Sep 18, 10 8:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
As a member of the community, I feel that access to the east side of shinnecock canal is more important than the rotting hell hole that is CPI.

The the developers put whatever meets code on the CPI land. Leave the canal for the people.
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Sep 20, 10 6:02 AM
You do understand that they are building on the east side of the canal regardless of what happens to the Inn. The Rechlers own the property. They shall be building on the property. There will be construction on the east side of the canal. If people don't understand that they aren't paying attention.

Not to mention, they will RESTORE the Inn. Does anyone think it would be to their best interest to NOT restore the building? Has anyone said they will leave it like it is?
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Sep 23, 10 5:39 PM
They own it and they are developers, they are certainly not going to create a neighborhood park.

I am not sure what RESTORE means to the Reichlers and the partner(s) they seek to share the project with. My ideal version of restore is described in my post of 9/17. I would like to the as much of the original design incorporated into a new modern Canoe Place Inn that can be and have it be a successful business again. I suspect you would like to save and restore the structure that is there ...more
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Sep 23, 10 10:48 PM
No, I'm pretty sure we mean the same thing. What you just described is exactly what is now being offered.

The original request was to preserve the Inn via whatever method was feasible. It is clear that at least part of the inside has already been gutted and there was much disrepair. Adaptive reuse was an alternative that was suggested; saving the ballroom was another alternative. The save every single stick theory wasn't what was originally intended, nor does it seem possible.

The ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Sep 24, 10 9:56 AM
The Rechlers already offered a walkway and public access along the east side of the canal with their proposed condos. There are life-long residents of Hampton Bays who would like to see a piece of our communities history preserved in some way. I too have no special love for what the building is today, but appreciate what it once was.
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Sep 20, 10 6:34 AM
1 member liked this comment
I also feel I should point out that the Rechlers are offering more public access to the canal on the east side than there is at present. The canal by design, is a man-made public highway for boats and always will be, but if you like to sit by the canal with a fishing pole and watch boats go by, you will be able to continue to do so.
By mterry (5), Flanders on Sep 20, 10 3:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
Will the Rechlers leave access for future generations of HB youth to access the bridges for jumping?

This is important as it is a 'rite of passage' for male teens in the area.
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Sep 20, 10 4:41 PM
Rechlers don't own the MTK Hwy or the LIRR bridge, so I would guess it will remain the same as it is.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Sep 20, 10 11:10 PM
They aren't building on the bridge, if someone wants to jump they can jump. Not to mention, the "new" bridge pretty much took care of most of the bridge jumping that took place.

As for access to the canal, I haven't really seen anyone walking or fishing that stretch of the canal. There is plenty of canal still out there open and available.

And yes, as METCOMedia mentioned, the Rechlers are granting a right of way in front of the condos for people who want to stroll there.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Sep 23, 10 5:37 PM
I think leaping from the local bridges is not allowed. The local police and county rangers will not allow anyone to even swim in the canal any more if they see you.

I have, and have seen other people fishing on the beach/rubble just north of the Montauk Hwy bridge on the East side. I don't believe the fishing was any better or worse than any other spot along the canal.

You don't think the nice condo dwellers would welcome us with our folding chair, fishing pole, pail and six-pack ...more
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Sep 23, 10 9:14 PM
I don't believe anyone swims in the canal any more, let alone jumping from the Montauk Hwy bridge.
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Sep 20, 10 5:43 PM
I believe you are mistaken.
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Sep 20, 10 7:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
I think you are mistaken. I haven't heard of any teenagers jumping off the canal bridge. How many have you heard of living in Water Mill? Is that who is doing the jumping, kids from Water Mill?
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Sep 23, 10 5:41 PM
I Could be. I just haven't seen it in many years.
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Sep 20, 10 9:06 PM
The railroad bridge is where it all happens. Go big or go home.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Sep 20, 10 11:06 PM
2 members liked this comment
I searched YouTube, I figured if anyone was crazy enough to do it they would have had someone tape it. When I was a kid I remember looking down from the RR bridge and discussing it with friends, but none of us ever jumped. It truly looked suicidal. Jumping from that height, you might hit the bottom of the canal pretty hard.
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Sep 23, 10 8:05 PM
I'm not sure how this forum turned to a discussion about jumping off bridges...but if it has I'd like to add my two cents. People jump off the LIRR bridge. People jump off the Ponquogue Bridge. I dont know why this is new news to anyone?
By BaymenNYC (59), Manhattan on Sep 25, 10 9:09 AM
I grew up in HB and swam in these waters. I believe I have an idea of how deep they are. I think jumping from that height into 6 - 8 feet of water and living to tell about it is an amazing thing. Now I hear they are jumping from the Ponquogue Bridge!
I just hope some silly kid doesn't read about it here and decide to try it. The old Montauk Hwy bridge was much lower and closer to the water than the one that is there now. This was the bridge kids used to jump from.
If you want a thrill, ...more
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Sep 25, 10 10:41 AM