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Dec 5, 2017 5:25 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Fate Of Canoe Place Inn PDD At Shinnecock Canal Relies On Pair Of Upcoming Votes

The eastern side of the Shinnecock Canal where the townhomes will be located.
Dec 6, 2017 9:28 AM

The Southampton Town Board is expected to approve a pair of key resolutions this week that should finally clear the path for much-anticipated redevelopment along both banks of the Shinnecock Canal in Hampton Bays—commercial along the west side, residential on the east.

At a special meeting set to begin at noon at Southampton Town Hall this Thursday, December 7, board members are expected to sign off on the final supplemental environmental impact statement for the Canoe Place Inn planned development district, or PDD. The addendum was required after a judge, ruling on a lawsuit brought by Shinnecock Hills neighbors opposing the construction of 37 townhouses on the eastern bank, determined that the supply of water to the area was inadequate.

The developers—R Squared Development LLC, a division of Rechler Equity Partners LLC—have agreed to invest $180,000 to tap a pair of nearby Suffolk County Water Authority mains to provide ample public water to the 4.5-acre property, on which the townhouses eventually will be constructed.

Then, on Tuesday, December 12, at 1 p.m., Town Board members will be asked to extend the Canoe Place PDD for another two years. The original PDD, which was unanimously approved by the Town Board in January 2015, is set to expire on January 21, 2018.

In addition to the townhouses, the PDD allows the restoration of the former inn, creating a new 25-room inn, plus a 1,900-square-foot clubhouse and a 300-seat catering hall on the 5.6-acre property on the west side of the canal.

Unlike the resolution to approve the supplemental environmental report, which needs only the support of three of five Town Board members, the PDD extension requires the backing of four board members, known as a supermajority. If the PDD fails to gain the required support, the town would most likely have to schedule a hearing to revert the properties back to their original zoning, according to Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. “It certainly would make matters complicated,” he added.

An informal polling of Mr. Schneiderman and his four board colleagues—including two who supported the original CPI legislation three years earlier, Councilwoman Christine Scalera and Councilman Stan Glinka—strongly suggests that both resolutions have ample support and could even be unanimously approved this week.

Mr. Schneiderman said he will vote to approve the extension, and Ms. Scalera and Mr. Glinka are leaning the same way. Both Town Councilman John Bouvier and Councilwoman Julie Lofstad said they also intend to support the extension.

“I am hopeful that the project, which has the capability to transform a long-standing eyesore into something productive, will move forward,” Ms. Lofstad, who lives in Hampton Bays, wrote in an email on Monday. She also noted that she supports the project, adding that the developer has been working diligently over the past three years to secure the required permits from both the town and Suffolk County.

Though he is a vocal opponent of PDDs and supported the law’s repeal earlier this year, Mr. Bouvier said he “respects” the decision of prior board members when it comes to the Canoe Place Inn project. Mr. Bouvier, who was elected to the board in November 2015, also noted that the lawsuit filed by neighbors did, in fact, hinder the efforts of developers to advance their vision.

The supervisor, meanwhile, was more blunt when offering his opinion of the resolution to extend the PDD: “Extensions are given every day in the Building Department. I see no basis for denial.”

Gregg Rechler said in a prepared statement this week that both he and his cousin Mitchell have been working tirelessly to move their project forward. He also noted that they have been working on both sides of the canal at the same time, work that included knocking down a section of the old Canoe Place Inn that was threatening to fall down and installing a series of groundwater monitoring wells along the west side of the canal.

“Since the time we had initiated this process in 2009, our team has worked diligently to secure … myriad … environmental, planning, infrastructure and other necessary approvals from federal, state, county and town entities,” Gregg Rechler’s statement reads, in part. “We have worked closely with a respected local historical architectural consultant to preserve the character of this property, and our engineers have designed a state-of-the-art sanitary system to reduce nitrogen from our groundwater, canal and bay.

“We have gone above and beyond to ensure that this project is nothing but an asset for this community,” he continued.

Mr. Schneiderman explained on Monday that the PDD law approved in January 2015 specifically states that building must begin within the next three years. But the Rechlers hit a series of roadblocks along the way, starting with the filing of a lawsuit several months later by homeowners in the Shinnecock Hills neighborhood where the sewage treatment facility servicing the 37 townhouses will eventually be constructed. Though State Supreme Court Justice Mark Cohen threw out most of the charges brought by those neighbors in May, he agreed that the developers needed to address the water pressure issues with the eastern property.

“In the court case, the judge asked us to look at the water pressure issue,” Mr. Schneiderman said, explaining what he and his fellow board members will be voting on this Thursday. “So that’s what we’re doing.”

He also underscored the fact that the Rechlers have, in fact, been working to move forward with their plans, and that the lack of progress has nothing to do with a lack of effort on their part. “The board is looking for evidence that the developer is acting in good faith on the [PDD] permit that the town granted three years ago,” Mr. Schneiderman added.

As for Ms. Scalera, she said she still thinks the project will benefit the greater Hampton Bays community. “We thought this was going to be the kind of push and boost that Hampton Bays needed,” she said.

Rita Knox, one of the Shinnecock Hills neighbors who opposed the development—and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit—said this week she is not sure if she will urge the Town Board to deny the PDD extension. She did note, however, that her home sits about 500 feet from the proposed sewage treatment facility that would service the 37 townhouses.

Prior to voting on the PDD extension, Town Board members must first meet with John Collins, a consultant with H2M Architects and Engineers in Melville, an engineering consultant with the Hampton Bays Water District, at a work session set for this Thursday morning. Once that session is finished, board members are expected to vote on the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

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Just get this damn thing done already!!!!!!
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Dec 6, 17 9:25 AM
3 members liked this comment
"The developers—R Squared Development LLC, a division of Rechler Equity Partners LLC—have agreed to invest $180,000 to tap a pair of nearby Suffolk County Water Authority mains to provide ample public water to the 4.5-acre property, on which the townhouses eventually will be constructed."

Are we sure there's "ample public water" because I seem to recall attending an entire presentation by SCWA at the Southampton public library about the need for conservation in Eastern SH town ...more
By rburger (82), Remsenburg on Dec 6, 17 9:56 AM
Go ahead and just try to start your BS on this Anti Hills people... Go ahead and just try!
By Undocumented Democrat (2065), southampton on Dec 6, 17 10:07 AM
Don't worry Zank and company are in a war room right now trying to figure out a way! Nobody ever told them that they lost this battle 3 years ago. Thank you Anna ! Thank you Christine! Thank you Stan!
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Dec 6, 17 10:18 AM
FINALLY.. let’s get this going and clean up that mess. Hampton Bays needs this and also needs to fill the diner and all other empty buildings. Instead of Hampton Bays becoming Flanders maybe it will trend up
By bigblue84 (89), Hampton Bays on Dec 6, 17 12:01 PM
3 members liked this comment
Too late now - it's done. Not against development, I just find it unfortunate to have lost the restaurants on the far side of the canal to townhouses. Particularly when the western side was begging for exactly that type of project, which is what the developers originally wanted!
By nyc511 (15), Southampton on Dec 6, 17 1:14 PM
Exactly correct nyc511 and who was responsible for that, The same gray haired build nothing crowd that just turned down the EQ golf course PDD, and there proud of it... so stupid, just remember when we get get 200 more homes and septics in EQ who was responsible.
By joe hampton (3461), The Hamptons on Dec 6, 17 3:30 PM
The sad truth is that when the last owner of the property wanted to build a "Gosman's Dock" sort of construction on that property, the community ranted, raved and said it was ridiculous! Now of course, they ranted and raved and said build a "Gosman's Dock"!

It is mind boggling.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Dec 6, 17 3:36 PM
Its all just stall tactics to make the builder go crazy like what they are doing to Carol and Greg Konner or what they did to Robert Morrow. Its criminal how they waste conscientious builders like the Konners time and money. They think they are slick but In the end they wind up screwing the community like what happened with the McDonald's drive tru and Stop and Shop in HB
By Erin 27 E (1281), hampton bays on Dec 6, 17 10:11 PM
Absolutely agree with you definitely would of kept the restaurant and probably added more. Also would of preferred to put the town houses on the west side. The thing I want is to just do something with it, such an eye soar for such a beautiful property
By bigblue84 (89), Hampton Bays on Dec 6, 17 1:19 PM
Looks like they've been doing some perfunctory pre-demolition work on the east side property while the CPI site looks worse than ever. Since the entire theme promoted by the Rechlers is that the condos are necessary to financially support the renewal of the CPI why is any work being permitted on the east side before the CPI project is complete?

I would expect that after the profits of the condos are realized the developer will "suddenly find" that the Canoe Place Inn structure has deteriorated ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 6, 17 3:24 PM
2 members liked this comment
If you have followed the news stories you would know that the work done on the east side is to mediate a leaking oil tank or tanks found on the property and reported a few years back to the DEC. The DEC is overseeing the project and was recently at the HB Civic Assoc. meeting discussing what is happening.

By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Dec 6, 17 3:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
I've never seen those stories and the search function here is almost useless. In any event, if you've been past the site in the past week there is certainly more going on east of the canal than simply removing a few oil tanks. Meanwhile the CPI parcel is allowed to continue to deteriorate. Do you think that is simply an accident?

Rechler wants the place to fall down so they can get out of their plan to renovate the Inn. They also are rewarded for allowing it to be such an eyesore as ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 7, 17 3:15 PM
No, I don't think any of it is an accident. It is all orchestrated by the Town/County/DEC. At the recent Civic Association meeting (which has not yet been posted on their website) the woman from the DEC who was overseeing the leaking tanks on the east side said that nothing further can be done until the buildings were taken down. Of course they need a demo permit from the Town to do that. Once the owners reported it to the DEC the DEC was in charge of the clean up, not the owners. As of Thursday ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Dec 9, 17 10:11 AM
It makes plenty of sense for the Rechlers to abandon the plan for the CPI site and claim a hardship which would enable them to develop that site as they see fit rather than renovate the building as currently approved. This would be especially true if they are permitted to develop the east side condos and reap those profits before the renovation of the Inn is initiated.

Permits are never granted before they are applied for; do we know that the developer has been proactive in the application ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 9, 17 11:55 PM
After 8+ years of planning. All the people they have hired to work on this project to renovate the Inn. The 100s of thousands of dollars invested. No, it makes no sense. It also doesn't make sense that they would then build what, condos on both sides? And of course, I will again state, even though you clearly don't believe it, that the deal is they may not work on the east side without working on the west. Remediating leaking oil tanks under the jurisdiction of the DEC isn't construction. ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Dec 10, 17 9:43 AM
Pissing away waterfront dining/small business for more density is just plain stupid.

By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 6, 17 3:53 PM
Do you have a method by you property owners can be forced to build what they don't want to build? There was never a plan to build a restaurant.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Dec 6, 17 4:41 PM
The establishments were extant already.

And yes, they can propose to build whatever. Doesn't automatically make it a good plan.

Trading business opportunity and tourist attractions for increased density is not a good plan. This is not the only instance.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 6, 17 8:09 PM
The method is called "Zoning."

The property has always been zoned for Resort Waterfront Business which allows for lodging, recreational and restaurant uses. It does not allow for residential dwellings. The comprehensive plan recognizes those uses as essential to the social and economic well-being of the area. The RWB zoning should never have been permitted to be abandoned for residences simply to provide a payday for developers. The properties east and west of the canal should be treated ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 8, 17 3:40 AM
Vos, Was it not a stipulation of the PDD that the CPI needed to be restored first, before the town homes could be worked on. Also lets not forget the developers had originally planned on razing the CPI to put up there project.It was the same kind of stubbornness we just witnessed on the EQ golf course PDD and Stop and Shop that inevitably backfired on the "activists"

You reap what you sow!
By joe hampton (3461), The Hamptons on Dec 8, 17 12:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
Some here have claimed that but I have never seen anything official and it certainly looks like Rechler is focusing on the condo site, not the CPI. This extension should not be granted without insisting on completion of the Inn prior to construction on the east side.

Their plans to raze the CPI would not be approved because that would eliminate all RWB zoning in favor of residences. The town made a lousy deal and now may pay the price. The CPI building was probably not economically ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 8, 17 2:08 PM
There were five years of meetings where this was all discussed and rediscussed and discussed again.

They builders can not build on the east side without restoring the Inn. They can work on both properties simultaneously. But they need to go through the process which has taken three years to date. All of your questions were asked and answered and asked and answered and asked and answered. There are scores of articles just in the Press.

Ask the Town Board or the planners the ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Dec 9, 17 10:17 AM
You seem to have a lot of faith in what the developers will attempt and what the town will allow. I don't share your optimism.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 9, 17 11:59 PM
Were you involved in the many town, civic and public meetings that were held?
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Dec 10, 17 9:44 AM
Have you read exactly what RWB allows? Those are a snippet of the things that are allowed and still will not guarantee restaurants. Not to mention, am I the only one who remembers the restaurant on the west side sitting empty for years? Or opening then closing again, repeatedly? As far as Tide Runners, it was a nightmare for traffic and the neighbors even though it was open for only a few months. It was more of a bar than a restaurant. History doesn't seem to support the we need restaurants ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Dec 10, 17 9:48 AM
I certainly have read exactly what the RWB allows and the businesses destroyed there all fit the definition completely while the current plan does not fit them at all.

There was no restaurant on the west side of the canal on the subject property unless you're calling the CPI snack bars restaurants. As for Tiderunners, it was precisely what was called for both by zoning and the comprehensive plan. Your "nightmare for traffic" line may have occasionally been true, but only in its own parking ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 10, 17 10:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
Then you know that while restaurants and what was there fit the zoning, (I never stated that they didn't) you also know that there are OTHER USES that are in the zoning. Again, how to you force the builder to choose what you want? Also overlooking the outcry when the last owner wanted to do just that...a Gosman's dock sort of arrangements with restaurants, snack bars, ice cream etc. The community didn't want that either.

I never said there weren't successful restaurants there. I said, ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Dec 10, 17 3:47 PM
I'm not sure what point you are trying to make but the bottom line is that the uses formerly on the properties in question were compliant with RWB zoning and the residential development planned for the east side is not. It is again noted that the prior uses were also identified as essential in the comprehensive plan and the uses in the current proposal are not. Spin it any way you like those are the facts. Whatever other RWB permitted uses that never existed on the properties or are not planned ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 11, 17 5:51 PM
Sorry, yes, there is an explanation you have missed. But, since you continue to disbelieve what has already been stated when the PDD was approved, I see no reason wasting the time to tell you. I strongly suggest that if you want answers you read the PDD, attending the meetings (or watch them on TV) or ask your Town Board member. Perhaps you will believe what they tell you. OR perhaps not!
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Dec 11, 17 10:01 PM
There is no explanation in the PDD for the transfer of the county property and I have found no requirement for completing the CPI work prior to beginning the condos in any of the binding documents.

But you heard something from a politician's mouth so you're okay with that. That would be laughable if it wasn't so sad. It seems to me the best way to prove your point would be to cite the section of the documents where you believe the information is contained or at least let us know who it ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 12, 17 4:11 AM
It was mentioned by Supervisor Schneiderman at the candidates "debate" that the approval expires in January if work has not begun. Personally, I think the OBI East, birthplace of the Long Island iced tea, is a poor excuse for preservation but I feel that way about the "fishing pier" that our Federal government is paying for, with money that was supposed to be for helping people rebuild their homes. If the project lapses and reverts to "as of" zoning it won't be a terrible turn of events and ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Dec 6, 17 5:30 PM
Have no fear, Jay will use all means , legal or not to insure that this ill conceived project moves forward. When it comes to sleazy dealings with developers he makes Anna look like a rank amateur.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 6, 17 6:07 PM
This project was on the drawing board for years and was approved unanimously by the 5 Board members after years of negotiating. This is a simple extension. Please don't turn this into something it is not.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Dec 6, 17 6:41 PM
2 members liked this comment
But, have you read the recent LTE in the Press? That's exactly what there is an attempt to do.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Dec 6, 17 8:01 PM
Yes I have, all three/four of them..same people for what...a decade...have they looked along Montauk Highway from the CPI site to Wild by Nature? How they seen what has happened thanks to them? I don't get it.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Dec 6, 17 8:39 PM
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Dec 9, 17 10:18 AM
Any update?
By BaymenNYC (59), Manhattan on Dec 8, 17 10:25 AM
1 member liked this comment
Let’s get this project on the fast track. Enough with the delays. Build baby Build...
By Tomjulie (43), Hampton Bays on Dec 8, 17 3:23 PM
2 members liked this comment
Being that the Town Board has the authority to extend the time frame for the PDD, they seemingly have the authority to add a caveat : the CPI property needs to be renovated before ground is broken on the west side. The developers get their project and the residents don't have to deal with a high density residential property and loss of public access without the "benefit" of a renovated eyesore.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 12, 17 7:09 AM
2 members liked this comment
BF, there is already a caveat that the developer cannot get the C of O on the condos until the CPI is complete. Please stop - you can't go two feet in HB without seeing the blight.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Dec 12, 17 9:59 AM
2 members liked this comment
That is not correct. The PDD calls for the work to be done on both sitesconcurrently and the condo CO's to be granted in groups as certain, yet to be specified, progress is made on the CPI building. The problem is that those milestones have not been disclosed and the developer appears to be focusing on the condo site.

Without delineating the progress necessary at the CPI site and without including the engineering needs of that building there can be no viable agreement.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 12, 17 6:56 PM
The Reacher's will do the right thing, you will see... The old Whitewater and 1 North buildings are down ! I don't know how the SHP Missed that ?
By joe hampton (3461), The Hamptons on Dec 14, 17 5:36 PM
It's pretty obvious that the CPI building is in an incredible state of disrepair and in all probability there's structural damage due to decades of neglect and postponed maintenance . My guess is that the developers will move forward on the condo project, disclose the structural issues with the CPI and claim that in order to do anything they have to wait until all the condos sell, after that they dissolve the corporation, take the money and run. Time will tell and Jay will be fine with it.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 16, 17 10:32 AM

The lawsuit and gas tank problems related to the canal site. Rechler could have been working on the inn for years.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 16, 17 2:14 PM
They are not going to run, why would they fix the CPI when as little as two weeks ago there were rumors that the town board were going to try and deny them there building permit extension. They fought 10 years for this just to finally get approval of the PDD and still they wound up back in court up island for 2 more years.

The inn will be rebuilt simultaneously with the boat house project. After what just went on att the hills who could blame them for not trusting us.
By joe hampton (3461), The Hamptons on Dec 19, 17 8:32 AM
During the many years of discussion on this project, the developers already admitted that they really aren't "preserving" anything. The current CPI, as we all know, isn't the original "historic" structure - that burned to the ground. There is a circa 1930's rebuild, with 1950's additions, little to none of which is salvagable or of any historic interest. They've already said that - if they do anything at all - they will essentially demolish the building and construct something to fit the part. ...more
By nyc511 (15), Southampton on Dec 19, 17 3:54 PM
It's quite an interesting list of people that Joe trusts just because they make promises. How's that wall coming along, Joe? The CPI renovation stands as much chance - I wonder if Mexico will pay for that also.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 20, 17 12:12 AM
Come on Vos they are prepping the site already this week, Curious why were you a proponent of the golf course PDD but not CPI ?
By Undocumented Democrat (2065), southampton on Dec 20, 17 12:17 AM
I have seen absolutely no recent progress made on the site of the Canoe Place Inn and believe you are confused enough about this project to believe that clearing the condo site on the east side of the canal is indicative of progress at the inn. That is precisely the problem with this entire PDD. There is no practical or operational relationship among the sites and the uses delineated. There was absolutely no reason to allow the developers to link the two sites for approval, destroying valid, ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 22, 17 9:00 PM