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Sep 25, 2013 12:44 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Neighbors Still Oppose Redevelopment Plans For Shinnecock Canal Land

Sep 25, 2013 12:44 PM

A pair of Southampton Town Board members, and a representative of the developers looking to renovate the Canoe Place Inn in Hampton Bays and build 40 townhouses on the east side of the Shinnecock Canal, met with neighbors on Sunday to discuss their concerns about the connected projects.

The informal meeting, which took place in the living room of one of the members of the group—now being called the Concerned Citizens of Shinnecock—was, for the most part, cordial, but did not quell the opposition to the plans being pushed by Gregg and Mitchell Rechler.

Those who live in the neighborhood just east of North Road, near a 2.68-acre plot of land that would house a wastewater treatment plant to service the townhouses, said they are most concerned about the damage such a facility would cause to their property values and the character of their community. Neighbors said they oppose any such facility, and do not care that the one pitched by the Rechlers would not be treating solid waste and, therefore, is not a sewage treatment plant.

“A treatment plant is a treatment plant,” said Dorothy Donahue, a longtime resident of the neighborhood, which consists of privately built streets and is accessible only by Old Canoe Road. “I’m concerned about my property value. That is my equity.”

Jim Morgo, a spokesman for the Rechlers, listened to concerns raised about the increased density the project would bring to Hampton Bays, the restrictions the townhouses would have on canal access, and the overall impact such a development would have on the surrounding neighborhoods.

Mr. Morgo, who said he cannot personally make any changes to the MPDD, lofted ideas for potential compromises. He asked if allowing neighbors to hook up to the new Nitrix system, or moving the wastewater facility elsewhere on the property, out of sight from the main road, would make the proposal any easier for the neighbors to digest.

Neighbors rejected that suggestion, and countered with their own recommendations, all of which had a similar theme: build fewer townhouses on the canal property.

A few members of the Concerned Citizens of Shinnecock said they took a look at a similar Nitrix system installed elsewhere in Suffolk County. Although the system was impressive, they said, it wasn’t enough to change their minds.

“It seems like a fantastic system,” said Pete Bernagozzi, one of the neighbors who saw the facility in action. “If we were shopping for one, that would be at the top of our list. But the bottom line is, we aren’t.”

When asked if the Rechlers would consider going back to the drawing board and coming up with a new proposal, Mr. Morgo said he couldn’t say for sure but that it was unlikely. He noted that, to date, they have spent about $1.6 million in consultant fees alone.

Although Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, who attended the meeting with Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera, said she would like to see the Canoe Place Inn renovated to make Hampton Bays “a destination” again, she said the MPDD is still being weighed by herself and her fellow board members.

“The Town Board has not made up its mind on this,” she said. “This is not a done deal and it never has been.”

Mr. Morgo and Ms. Throne-Holst both urged the neighbors to contact the Town Board with any concerns they have about the proposal so they can negotiate with the developers. Ms. Scalera remained silent for most of the meeting.

Another hamlet group, the Hampton Bays Beautification Association, also weighed in on the MPDD this weekend, with its leadership deciding to rescind its endorsement of the project. Because of differing opinions throughout the group, the association had decided to take no stance.

“We’re trying to do what’s best for us and what’s best for the community,” said Maud Kramer, a member of the group and its former leader. “That’s why we decided to no longer endorse the project.” She opposes the MPDD.

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Hampton Bays needs this project to bring the hamlet back to life. I was never here when it was a prospering summer community but its obvious that it was once thriving and businesses were bustling. Residents should welcome the Rechlers and roll out the red carpet for future responsible developers who have the knowhow, ability and money to bring Hampton Bays back on the man as a Hamptons Destination.

Don't chase these guys away. They are legitimate business folks and Hampton Bays needs them, ...more
By Summer Resident (251), Southampton N.Y. on Sep 26, 13 12:59 AM
1 member liked this comment
What we need is to keep the tranquility of a beautiful small town...that's always been the reason for our prosperity! People come here for our beaches and has for generations been a place for artists and writers to relax and create! DO YOU REALLY THINK YOU ARE ALL SO INTELLECTUALY ADVANCED THAT YOU CAN'T SEE ANYTHING MORE THAN A QUICK BUCK FOR SOME...AND THE REST OF THE COMMUNITY CAN GO TO H*LL!
By UNITED states CITIZEN (207), SOUTHAMPTON on Sep 26, 13 11:51 AM
1 member liked this comment
What we need is to get Hampton Bays back to the hustling, bustling, happy place it was in the not too distant past, even if that doesn't make its business areas "tranquil". This proposal has signs of that on the west side but at the same time destroys the fiber of Hampton Bays, which is NOT "a place for artists and writers" but a recreational place for hard-working, fun-loving middle class people by its decimation of the east side.

I remember when early morning saw fishermen headed for ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Sep 26, 13 1:51 PM
3 members liked this comment
The current commercial establishments are/have been a "destination" and are the approved use to the property. Two restaurants, and a catering hall/club venue aren't exactly useless.

As a summer destination people traditionally came here to party for decades. It's a resort town fer cryin' out loud...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 26, 13 2:14 AM
2 members liked this comment
That's right. For decades politicians and planners said "Put it in Hampton Bays" so that "tourists" could come here to "party." That "party" gave us the bars, motels, group rentals and the generally bad and undeserved reputation that hard-working locals see in lower property values relative to the rest of the town. Very nice. And nice to see neighborly posts from North Sea and Southampton encouraging the situation to stay that way. Thanks so much.
By PQ1 (167), hampton bays on Sep 26, 13 9:52 AM
With Neptunes on the auction block for CPF - it looks like the era of HB being a party town is finally coming to a close. You think Condos will be helpful? Nope - what will be helpful is a continuation of successful restaurants that draw people in to the town and encourage people to hangout near the water. Despite the fact that the hamptons are surrounded by water, restaurants that are actually waterfront are at a minimum, HB probably has the most (2nd to maybe montauk). Let's keep it that way ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 26, 13 10:06 AM
6 members liked this comment
The lower property values are not because of the bars, motels and group rentals. The are beacause the supply of homes for sale in hampton bays is astronomical and the smaller lot sizes. There are just too many houses for sale in such a small area. It is a buyers market in and that means if you want to sell you are going to have to accept what the potential buyer offers you.
By user.name (46), the jungle on Sep 26, 13 10:12 AM
1 member liked this comment
That literally makes no sense
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 26, 13 10:50 AM
2 members liked this comment
I live nearby as a year round resident. How can I join The Concerned Citizens of Shinnecock?
By anydegger (4), 11946 on Sep 26, 13 5:37 AM
send email request to sco_b1@yahoo.com
By sco-b (3), Southampton on Sep 26, 13 1:26 PM
I'm sure it will attract wealthy summer people who can't wait for the new Dollar Tree to open.
By terriann1 (6), Southampton on Sep 26, 13 6:47 AM
You might be right about that, terriann1.
See "Why Dollar Stores are Hotter than Ever (Even Among the Rich)
By PQ1 (167), hampton bays on Sep 26, 13 2:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
Let's hope at least two town board members have the courage to vote no for this MPDD. This stupid idea will destroy the East Side of the Shinnecock Canal and lower the property values of the homes located where the Nitrex.Septic system is to be located. The solution is to build a new time share complex where the CPI is located. The new building should face the canal and remove the existing CPI eyesore. The east side septic system site should be rezoned residential and it's motel units transferred ...more
By Ernie (88), Hampton Bays on Oct 6, 13 12:54 AM