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Aug 27, 2013 6:16 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Proposed Wastewater Treatment Plant Angers Hampton Bays Residents

Aug 30, 2013 4:46 PM

While the eyes of many residents, elected officials and business owners in Hampton Bays are fixed on the two properties that sit opposite one another overlooking the Shinnecock Canal, a third parcel tied into the Canoe Place Inn redevelopment plan is stirring up a controversy of its own—at least among a small but growing number of people.

More than 30 residents who live next to the easternmost property have banded together in an effort to prevent Southampton Town from granting a change of zoning to R Squared Development LLC, a move that would allow the company to renovate the Canoe Place Inn and reopen it as a catering hall and also construct 40 townhouses on the east side of the canal. Those plans would require the closure of two restaurants, Tide Runners and 1 North Steakhouse, on the east side of the canal.

But approval of the proposed Maritime Planned Development District (MPDD) would also give the company, which is owned by cousins Gregg and Mitchell Rechler, permission to build a wastewater treatment facility that would service the townhouses near their homes.

“[We] don’t want the gold-flecked fecal matter from this luxury neighborhood being pumped into another neighborhood that’s not quite as luxurious,” said Rita Knox, who lives on Seneca Drive and just down the street from where the wastewater treatment facility would be built, on behalf of the group of neighbors. “There’s something politically incorrect about that.”

Rather than being identified by a popular restaurant or an iconic eyesore, the easternmost property included in the MPDD is defined by its lack of development—and Ms. Knox and others want it to remain that way.

The 2.68-acre, heavily wooded property that sits east of North Road and north of Old Canoe Place Road would house a 225-square-foot wastewater monitoring building, a 100-square-foot pump station and a 1,400-square-foot parking lot. A leaching pool covering just over three-quarters of an acre would also be constructed to treat wastewater from the townhouses. The solid waste would be managed by an on-site system, Jim Morgo, a representative for R Squared, said this week.

The primary concern for the neighbors is what the addition of a wastewater treatment facility would do to the value of their properties, Ms. Knox said, though many also are worried about potential leaks in the leaching pools and the increased traffic the facility will bring to the small, privately constructed roads in their neighborhood.

Some also worry that the metal fencing around the property will detract from the aesthetics of the neighborhood and that the facility itself will emit foul odors, even though the structure is supposed to handle only liquid waste, Ms. Knox said. “There is a social stigma attached to a wastewater treatment facility,” she said. “But that shouldn’t be our stigma.”

Ms. Knox said she and her neighbors were unaware that the eastern property would be incorporated into the Rechlers’s newest proposal until days before the Town Board hosted a public hearing about it on August 13. Some are taking issue with the fact that the developers reached out to certain groups, such as the Hampton Bays Historical Society, Civic Association, Chamber of Commerce, Beautification Association and the Concerned Citizens of Hampton Bays, but left out community members like themselves who are not affiliated with those organizations.

“No one reached out to us. They did speak to civic groups, but we don’t have a civic association,” said Peter Bernagozzi, another resident of Seneca Drive. “I think anyone would see that the residents next to a wastewater treatment facility would have some issues, or at least some questions about it.”

Mr. Morgo said when he began reaching out to the community, he and the Rechlers were told that the best way to reach out to residents was through the hamlet’s four main organizations and, later, the Concerned Citizens of Hampton Bays. “I suppose we should have thought about people who don’t belong to any organization,” Mr. Morgo said.

He added that he and the Rechlers have been made aware of the issues raised by the neighbors and he spoke with some of them following the August 13 hearing, but would like to set up a more formal meeting with the group as soon as possible. He also pointed out that many issues about the easternmost property and the wastewater treatment facility that would be built on it were not fully delved into during the public presentations earlier this month. He said that has contributed to the lack of understanding about the plan among certain community members.

Mr. Bernagozzi countered that he and his neighbors understand that the Rechlers are looking out for their best business interests. Still, he added, he would like for the developers to come up with an alternative plan for how they are going to handle the waste coming from their proposed development.

“It was creative thinking that got them to this point,” Mr. Bernagozzi said. “I think they can go back to the drawing board and, if they use a little more creativity, they can come up with something that benefits everybody.”

As of right, the Rechlers can build a 21,032-square-foot, 160-seat restaurant, or a 10-room motel on the easternmost property, which is targeted for the wastewater treatment plant. Many neighbors, however, are skeptical that either is an option due the shape of the property and its uneven ground.

On the west side of the canal, where the CPI now stands, the cousins could raze the inn and build a 49,187-square-foot, 338-seat restaurant without requesting a change of zone. They could also, as a right, demolish both Tide Runners and 1 North Steakhouse and replace both with a 17,176-square-foot, 238-seat restaurant or a 15-room motel, according to the draft environmental impact statement prepared by the Rechlers and on file with the town.

Mr. Morgo also pointed out that regardless of what happens with the MPDD application, Tide Runners will close its doors next month and the building will eventually be demolished.

On Saturday, Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi met with some of the neighbors who oppose the wastewater treatment plant, according to Ms. 
Knox. She said they inspected the property, toured the neighborhood and answered some of the questions posted by neighbors.

Ms. Throne-Holst and Mr. Nuzzi did not immediately return calls seeking comment on the proposal.

Dorothy Donahue, who has lived on Seneca Drive since 1976, described the proposal of building 40 townhouses along the east side of the canal as “absurd,” and said that while she would like to see the Canoe Place Inn brought back to glory days, she questions the feasibility of such an undertaking.

Both she and her neighbors also agree that the inn’s preservation should not come at the cost of destroying a wooded property on their side of the canal.

“I’d love to see a nice little pocket park there, or if they could get a lovely home there to overlook the canal with a nice view,” Ms. Donahue said. “Or whatever is going to be left of it.”

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Good for the residents - standing up for their rights.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 28, 13 9:26 AM
3 members liked this comment
Increased density on the east side of the canal is a no win situation for everyone except the Rechlers.

By C Law (354), Water Mill on Aug 28, 13 9:59 AM
Thank you for your support!
By Ccs1 (9), Hampton Bays on Aug 28, 13 10:10 AM
2 members liked this comment
Thank you for your support! I am standing up for my rights AND my property value.
By ShinnecockHills (5), Southampton on Aug 28, 13 10:08 PM
2 members liked this comment
everyones property value will go up including yours if this plan is successful
By 27dan (2854), Southampton on Aug 29, 13 9:41 AM
3 members liked this comment
Based on what? What the Rechler's tell you? Bet your taxes will go up too...
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 13 2:47 PM
Based on what? What Nature tells you?
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 13 7:25 PM
Based on the idea taxes go up no matter what. Taxes will go up if they were to do what I propose as well...
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 13 7:59 PM
Taxes always go up. Not sure why that is mentioned in this debate.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 13 8:12 PM
For the first time in decades, Linda Kabot brought down out of control taxes in 2010 as memorialized in her 2010 budget, reducing the previous $81 Million budget to $78 Million which arrested the previous years' doubling of the budget in 5 years.

ATH tried to increase it like her bosom buddy Skip Heaney but was voted down. It ended up at $79 Million +.

So yes, taxes can go down with the right people.
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Sep 3, 13 6:20 PM
The group of residents only just found out about the sewage plant proposal when the town posted signs for a public hearing on the parcel on August 2. The Rechlers did not reach out to the members of the residential community until after they showed up and spoke at the town board meeting.

I wonder how many other residents were not informed of the sewage plant but were dazzled by the presentation for the rehabilitation of the Canoe Place Inn.

There are now upwards of 60 people who ...more
By Ccs1 (9), Hampton Bays on Aug 28, 13 11:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
If you were unaware it is because you weren't paying attention. This has been known since the original plan was presented to the public. Where were you?

There have been numerous public meetings. Countless news articles. etc. If you aren't paying attention it isn't the Rechlers or the towns fault.

Not to mention, at least 2 of the people who complained don't actually leave close the the property in question.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 13 7:27 PM
2 members liked this comment
Ummm, that was supposed to be:

"don't actually live close to the property".
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 13 8:13 PM
The original plan? Are you sure? Is that the same plan which was rejected by the TB in 2012?

Numerous meetings? Which one included the residents of the Rechler radius study in 2011? Were you at the diner meetings? Even Morgo admitted that they never reached out to the residents-refer to the above article.

Do people have to live close to the proposed sewage plant (Nitrex) to speak up against it? Perhaps they see, from where they live, that the plan stinks!

The density ...more
By Ccs1 (9), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 13 10:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yes. It was in the original plan. Yes I am sure. Ask the Town Board.

There have been meetings held at all of the local community organizations. Were you there? Are you a member of a community group? Are you involved in the community? If so, you would have heard about this. Do you read the newspaper? If so, you could have read the news coverage. Watch our public TV station's coverage of the Town Board Meetings? You would have seen it. There was a PUBLIC meeting held at the ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 13 11:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
I live a few blocks from there. I was unaware. How can I get involved?
By anydegger (4), 11946 on Aug 29, 13 2:43 PM
2 members liked this comment
There is a petition you can sign- how can you be reached? I will forward.
By Ccs1 (9), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 13 4:25 PM
Get in touch with the Town or the Rechlers or the Suffolk County Dept. of Health. They can give you the facts on the Nitrex System. Find out what is being proposed. If you have missed the entire thing up until now, it is about time you did due diligence and find out the facts. Make an educated decision, not one based on groundless fears.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 13 7:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
The Rechlers should get what they want. If Nature truly understood zoning she would understand this is good for HB. Instead she is counting their money.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 29, 13 3:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
So I'm a she? Also, what money am I counting? I'm confused...
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 13 3:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
Why would you want to privatize land that is zoned resort waterfront and privatize by turning it residential?
It was zoned resort waterfront so that the public can access it. These properties are few and should not be used as bargaining chips.
Once lost , its gone forever. You can't get it back.

Now what?
If The Inn Spot on the Bay wants to go residential, you will have to grant it, or risk a lawsuit.
Cow Fish? Tully's? Modern Yachts?

This is absurd and shameful.
All ...more
By ADAMSG (53), EAST QUOGUE on Aug 29, 13 9:43 PM
3 members liked this comment
Definition of PRIVATIZE
: to make private; especially : to change (as a business or industry) from public to private control or ownership

The Rechlers and their investors own the property. The Rechlers and their investors will own whatever is built on this property. Private property will still be private property. Please explain what is being privatized.

50 years ago the Inn was not a nightclub.

Public access...I have never ever seen anyone 'access' this piece ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 13 10:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
As it is now zoned, you or I (public) can enjoy the temporary use of services provided by this property(access) for a fee during their hours of operation.
Once it goes residential, only the property owners and their invited guests will have this privilege 24/7. (private, access denied).
Build a motel or hotel, you or I (public) can STILL enjoy this same property for a fee. Put up a motel, It is still zoned for that.
Put the catering hall with the fake facade on this property and call ...more
By ADAMSG (53), EAST QUOGUE on Aug 30, 13 7:55 AM
As it is zoned now I can go to a private business and pay for the ability to see the canal. Under the PDD we can all walk along the walkway for FREE!

Who is putting up a fake facade? Please share your source on this one.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 8:18 AM
Access the west side for free.
By PQ1 (167), hampton bays on Sep 4, 13 9:50 PM
Which would impact property values more? Living next door to a 21,000 sq. ft. restaurant or 325 sq. ft. of shed?

By PQ1 (167), hampton bays on Aug 30, 13 5:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
I don't get it?
Most of these large condo/PDD projects have sewage treatment plants.
Go look at the new project underway between Tuckahoe La. and Bishops on the border of SH village.
They're building the sewage plant right now--and selling million dollar condos right next to it.
I heard they were over 50% sold out.
By aging hipster (201), Southampton on Aug 30, 13 6:31 AM
1 member liked this comment
Yes they absolutely do and have.

Why let a little thing like the facts get in the way of a discussion based on misinformation and personal, uneducated opinion.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 8:22 AM
Fact: the density of the 40 town houses is immense for the acreage which is why the developers are seeking a zone change

Opinion: the number of townhouses should be reduced and the Nitrex system should be put on the same parcel; not in another residential neighborhood

Fact: the 40 town houses proposed will be built near the railroad, alongside a busy canal, in a high traffic area, in Hampton Bays

Opinion: the Tuckahoe project is not comparable-not built near the railroad, ...more
By Ccs1 (9), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 11:02 AM
3 members liked this comment
"Fact: the density of the 40 town houses is immense for the acreage which is why the developers are seeking a zone change"

"Immense" Source please?

Fact: It is typical for the town board to send developers back to the drawing board during this process.

Fact: The NITREX systems - by design - can not be placed on property on the canal. Have you spoken to anyone with knowledge about the system yet?

Fact: The Town Board will make their decision based on input ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 12:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
"Immense" is derived from the fact that recent memory (decades?) cannot point to a single residential development within the Town of Southampton that was constructed at a rate of 10 units/acre. In fact, 10 units/acre is being generous as 1/2 acre of the site is underwater and therefore has no yield.

Show me the approval of another project in Southampton Town in the last 20 years with density of 10 units/acre or more (and on a property which was NOT previously a motel/hotel/cottages) ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 1:00 PM
"Immense" is not a quantitative figure. It is an opinion.

Thanks for agreeing. That was the point I was attempting to make.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 1:06 PM
adjective: immense1. extremely large or great, esp. in scale or degree.

Based on my comment - the word "immense" is appropriate to use in a "factual" statement until proved otherwise
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 2:23 PM
Immense as compared to?

Sorry considering the posters have already said they have no clue what goes on in our town saying it is 'immense' is designed to cause issues, not based on any fact.

Dang, there is that word again.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 4:37 PM
Compared to any other approved housing project in the past two decades
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 13 11:30 AM
I am sure Nature that you would be able to say this based on the fact that you have been paying attention for the past two decades. However the op (who I was responding to) didn't know anything about the MPDD until the Town put up the legal notices and TOLD them. There is no reason to believe that when they state it is "immense" it is based on anything factual. Just more scary sounding words. Debate is good. But at least try and learn what is truth before you go spouting off nonsense.

Let's ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 13 4:06 PM
Are you assuming that I didn't know about the zone change? I believe I said the residents of the area where the signs were posted.

Do you assume that I didn't know about the MPDD since I am a new "op"? Being new or not, it is clear that if I agreed with your standpoint you would embrace my comments, perhaps even "like" me.

Assumptions can be dangerous.

The word "immense" may not be used in the DEIS- it does however state that the "density" requires using the three ...more
By Ccs1 (9), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 13 6:05 PM
Will the sewage treatment plant emit that distinctive, heavy, nauseating, noxious odor that is characteristic of all sewage treatment plants? Can we locate it next to Anna Throne-Holst's home?
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Aug 30, 13 11:47 AM
3 members liked this comment
Nitrex systems are different than standard STP's as it's a new technology and it's newly approved for use by SCDHS. It's unlikely it will have the same odors as older technology - but that remains to be seen.

As for ATH, she's moving target. Only rents, doesn't own so good luck with that
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 11:54 AM
Has been there been a problem with existing treatment systems in our town?
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 12:37 PM
yes in the village, thus making the hospital's treatment facility so valuable to the houses nearby.
By david h (405), southampton on Sep 3, 13 6:59 PM
... what's gonna happen when the people buying these condos start to freak out because of the traffic noise going over the Montauk Highway canal bridge? . There not gonna be happy sitting on their verandas, or trying to sleep with that racket going 24/7. Build a big wall like on the side of the L.I.E. - or move the bridge, or cover it, like they do in Madison County, or bury it, like the Midtown Tunnel. All you need is a PDD - it's that simple.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Aug 30, 13 12:32 PM
Are you suggesting they won't know they are purchasing next to a road going over the bridge? LOL

Not that they can't complain - look at the North Sea Residents who want to close the entire North Sea Rd because there is noise. That didn't go to far.

By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 12:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
They'll sell?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 12:58 PM
2 members liked this comment
What a concept- you mean they'd be allowed to do that?
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 1:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
(Pssst bb! I'm agreeing you your comment! Stop being so advesary)
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 2:22 PM
2 members liked this comment
(Psstt...I know, I was being factious! Insert appropriate emoticon here)
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 4:38 PM
The article was just updated.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 30, 13 4:01 PM
IMMENSE as in the # of posts by BB .. ok at 411 posts you are already quite vocal .. but wow I think your vociferous participation is quite suspicious .. or not suspicious at all >>are you one of the rechlers ??
if a developer team can live 50 or so miles away, why does the opposition have to live within a few blocks ?
By david h (405), southampton on Sep 3, 13 6:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
What's most interesting about BB is the total support of this project paired with the complete disdain for all things Rumba. It makes no sense, unless... well, you fill in some blanks.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 4, 13 9:12 AM
1 member liked this comment
lets put a water treatment facility on every 2.7 acre undeveloped lot !!
By david h (405), southampton on Sep 3, 13 7:02 PM
Considering the state of the bays, that might be an idea worth looking into.
By PQ1 (167), hampton bays on Sep 13, 13 8:17 PM
this development alone could cause H Bays to add another police officer! at 100K per year and 100%+ pension ..this will quickly suck out the alleged increased tax revenue and just be an higher cost to the town, higher tax burden coming right back to ME & YOU .
By david h (405), southampton on Sep 4, 13 6:46 PM
It would be helpful if the editor would remove photo 11/11 from the article. It is from a previous plan discarded years ago and has nothing to do with what's being discussed today.
By PQ1 (167), hampton bays on Sep 4, 13 9:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'd like to understand the reasoning of Hampton Bays Chamber of Commerce that the Rechler Hospitality Development will re energize business in their hamlet without self investment by these businesses, from what they offer to how their storefronts look. How the Chamber believes that folks who can afford the new inn and townhouses will not instead choose traveling east to Southampton Village....their Historical Museum and buildings programmed marvelously by Tom Edmonds. It might be best for the Chamber ...more
By blue moon (7), Southampton on Sep 12, 13 4:50 PM