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Jan 24, 2018 11:47 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Developer Behind Proposed Hampton Bays Senior Community Seeks PDD Revival

The site where a developer plans to build 50 condos for seniors in Hampton Bays. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Jan 24, 2018 12:00 PM

The Southampton Town Board must decide next month if it wants to resurrect a special zoning designation dating back more than a decade—and which actually expired in 2010—that allows the construction of 50 senior citizen condominiums on just shy of 8.3 acres on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays.

Instead of developing the land as originally pitched 11 years earlier—a plan that has lacked the required financing—RTW Associates LLC of Hampton Bays now intends to sell the property, along with its special zoning if it can be revived, to an undisclosed party that has the money to develop the complex, according to Wayne Bruyn, an attorney with O’Shea, Marcincuk and Bruyn LLP in Southampton, who is representing the property’s current owner.

Though he declined to identify any of the involved parties, Mr. Bruyn said his client has two people who are interested in buying the property, which sits just east of Allomara Road in Hampton Bays, and that they intend to build the 50 condos originally envisioned by his client.

The planned development district, or PDD, secured by RTW Associates actually expired in 2010, but the Town Board failed to hold the required public hearings to revert the zoning back to highway business, explained Kyle Collins, the town’s planning and development administrator.

As a result, the applicant has the right to request that the current Town Board revisit the proposal and, if it sees fit, to revive and extend the special zoning that it had outlawed just last year after determining that PDDs unfairly favor developers.

If the Town Board agrees with the request, the PDD would be revived and extended for two years, meaning that it would expire again in February 2020. RTW Associates never requested an extension of the PDD prior to its expiration in 2010.

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for Tuesday, February 13, starting at 1 p.m., at Southampton Town Hall.

After that hearing is closed, Mr. Collins said the Town Board will have two options: revert the zoning back to highway business, or grant the PDD extension.

In the original proposal approved in 2007, RTW Associates planned to build 50 condominiums in eight buildings, a clubhouse, and an outdoor swimming pool. Of the condos, 15 would be set aside for affordable housing. The units were only to be sold to those 55 and older, however.

The land in question is now listed on Zillow for $5.9 million. In 2002, RTW Associates purchased the property for $825,000, according to town records.

Before securing the zoning change more than a decade earlier, the applicant noted that its proposal was closely aligned with the town’s 1999 Comprehensive Plan—a point repeated by Mr. Bruyn in an interview this week.

“Senior housing is something that the Town Board indicated there is a need for in the community,” Mr. Bruyn said on Friday.

He also said that his client was unable to break ground on the project for more than a decade due to both financial issues and what he described as a lengthy review process. He also noted that the community did not oppose the zoning change before it was approved in 2007.

“RTW obtained the town approvals and re-approvals after more than five years of review, but was left trying to market and obtain financing for the project in the middle of a downturn in the economy,” Mr. Bruyn wrote in a letter to the Town Board over the summer. “The change in the market over the last year or so has created renewed interest in the project, but the current status of the zoning classification has become an impediment.”

Though he thinks that affordable condominiums for those 55 and older are needed in his municipality, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said he is going to solicit input from the community before deciding if he will sign off on the request to revive the PDD.

“It could be a good thing,” Mr. Schneiderman said about the plan, which includes more affordable housing than required under the now-discarded law that permitted PDDs.

The supervisor added that he is not concerned with the applicant’s intention of selling the property if the Town Board agrees to revive the PDD.

Though he did not represent the applicant at the time, Mr. Bruyn said it took RTW Associates nearly five years to secure the required permits, including those from the town’s Planning Board. At one point, he continued, the application even went back to the Town Board so it could add language to allow a natural vegetated buffer between the condominiums and Montauk Highway, as requested by members of the public, instead of landscaped berms as originally planned.

As required with other PDDs, the original approval came with a list of community benefits. The developer promised to install new sidewalks along the north side of Montauk Highway to the Tiana Shopping Center in Hampton Bays—about a quarter-mile east of the proposed development—to provide a “walkable environment.” It would also pay the town $1,000 per unit for each of the market-rate condo to offset additional facilities costs that the development would cause, fund the construction of a bus shelter to promote the use of public transportation, and make a $15,000 contribution toward traffic safety improvements along the Montauk Highway corridor.

Additionally, the developer agreed to purchase two Pine Barrens credits toward the preservation of open space in Hampton Bays, to help offset the increase in residential density.

Mr. Bruyn said all of the community benefits will still happen if the PDD is revived and extended.

The PDD is the last of its kind on the books that would require action by the Town Board, according to Mr. Schneiderman.

Robert DeLuca, president for Group for the East End, and a vocal opponent of the defunct PDD law, said he wasn’t directly involved with the RTW Associates project, explaining that the proposal did not raise any notable environmental concerns. That being said, Mr. DeLuca suggested that both town officials and residents review the application again in case anything has changed—such as volume of traffic on Montauk Highway—since the PDD’s approval in 2007.

“The applicant should be willing to work with community and Planning Board,” Mr. DeLuca said.

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I’m going to get some popcorn and sit right here. This is going to be good.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Jan 24, 18 6:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jan 24, 18 9:39 PM
Why? Many 55+ people in Hampton Bays are leaving and moving to the same developments in Riverhead.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jan 25, 18 5:48 AM
1 member liked this comment
There really is nothing for them to do here.
By Pacman (273), Southampton on Jan 25, 18 9:39 AM
I am not sure I understand. People moved to the same type of 55+ communities proposed here in Riverhead and they still come back to Hampton Bays to socialize, volunteer and work. If there are three or more successful ones in Riverhead, why would this not be successful in Hampton Bays? Not trying to be difficult, just wondering.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jan 25, 18 10:13 AM
2 members liked this comment
I know someone who owned a unit right next door on Montauk Hwy at Southampton Pines (think that's the name). They couldn't give it away. There were many vacancies and the prices were too high.

Where have they been all this time?

People were just losing their minds about the Canoe Place Inn PDD which was going to expire and they didn't want it to be renewed. Even though the hadn't broken ground because they were still awaiting permits. NOW after 11 years, because they had ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jan 30, 18 9:44 AM
PDDs are evil. We have gotten rid of them for a reason. I hope that the Town Board doesn't continue to support them just because it sounds like a nice project.
By CleanWaters (80), Southampton on Jan 25, 18 12:56 PM
Reversing the decision to end PDDs is opening up a pandora's box. 10 years later and the owner wants the rules bent so they can sell the land for a huge profit?
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Jan 25, 18 12:59 PM
No one has answered the question why this is bad for Hampton Bays.
It shouldn't matter if someone is making money or it was approved as a PDD. Why is the project bad?
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jan 25, 18 5:08 PM
Whether or not the project is good for HB or not, it seems absurd to extend something that expired 8 years ago. There is nothing to extend. It expired.
By Marrrmin (17), Hampton bays on Jan 25, 18 5:59 PM
Valid point, but if this is good for Hampton Bays, then a procedural error should take a backseat to a good project.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jan 26, 18 7:19 AM
Allowing this project to move forward by reviving the PDD law will set a precedent for projects in the future. The PDD disaster has been retired and should do.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jan 26, 18 12:14 PM
I don't see how this is reviving the PDD law. At the hearing to extend the PDD application for the CPI MPDD, Supervisor Schneiderman mentioned that there was one more development that was approved under the pre-existing PDD that would be looking for an extension. I did not relate that statement to this development that I saw for sale at that time. I would personally be inclined to support it as someone who is in the 55+ age group and looking to downsize to a condo and would like to stay in Hampton ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 26, 18 12:58 PM
This 2007 PDD approval expired in 2010. Time to live in the current world with the current laws. PDD law was flawed and revoked. Let the developer live by the rules of everyone else, lest revisiting old PDDs opens the door for legal questions and issues with any PDD decisions and deadlines from the past.
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Jan 26, 18 1:29 PM
We can respectfully disagree on this since I am not sure I would just want to see a potential beneficial project that may need some updating go back to highway business without a better understanding of the proposal. The highway business properties do not seem to be doing very well. If something new even started nowstarts now, the way the Town works, it will be 10 more years before we see anything done at that site. Some in our community seem to want to preserve" commercial business property", ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 26, 18 1:45 PM
We can agree to disagree. It's a pleasure to see the word respectfully posted here. We wait for more info.
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Jan 26, 18 1:54 PM
Yes, we can but the Board will need to make a decision. They say that "perfection is the enemy of good". I just hope that we all don't hold out for something better when we may have something good here. We will see. Hopefully, there is more information on the Town website on this - haven't looked yet.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 26, 18 2:09 PM
But we must all strive for perfection even knowing that it is not attainable. Shoot for the stars and maybe you can get to the moon!
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Jan 26, 18 2:22 PM
Yes, theoretically, we should all personally strive for perfection and not compromise our principles, but we need to be realistic about the options available. if it s a good plan (whether or not it was formed via the PDD law), than I would support it. I would not hold out for a plan that doesn't exist and is not an option hoping some day some one will come along and put that plan on the table. A bird in the hand....However, I am not sure - this may not be a good plan.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 26, 18 3:54 PM
One issue is that by letting this PDD variance be considered as still "valid" even though the PDD law is gone would result in a precedent that the PDD law applies to other proposals, e.g. Discovery Land. Once a PDD variance is filed it never goes away -- so sometime in the future, say just before the current Town Board leaves office, revives a PDD variance that has been rejected maybe with some slight change to make it an "amended" PDD variance, and then passed over the objections of the community. ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Jan 27, 18 11:07 AM
1 member liked this comment
I am not sure that you are technically correct. The Town Board just approved the extension of the previously approved CPI MPDD which was after the law was rescinded. I don't see how this is any different except that they did not ask for the extension timely. It seems to me that it doesn't re-open the PDD law. Obviously, this is a question for the Town attorney and could be brought up at the Public Hearing.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 27, 18 5:50 PM
From what I understood from Superintendent Schneiderman's comments at the election open house in the Hampton Bays Senior Center, the extension was dependent on some work being done before the clock ran out, and the lawsuit holding up the development was not related to the PDD. This expands the concept -- finding this variance from the PDD era "in the back of the sock drawer" seems a lot more dubious. The property value creation from all of these variance proposals is what makes them a real focus ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Jan 28, 18 9:33 AM
There was a very specific term in the CPI MPDD that I can't remember that did not have a codified definition that need to start in the two years. The developers represented that they had taken more than 100 steps and spent $5 million, so for various reasons the Board approved the extension. In this case, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me that I saw this development for sale on line for years and yet the developer didn't know they needed an extension o f the PDD. That sounds like bad advice ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 28, 18 10:16 AM
2 members liked this comment
And this is a perfect example of why the PDD moratorium was a stupid idea to begin with. A simple change to the law requiring that the PDD itself be of a benefit to the community, along with a requirement that after the PDD is vetted and approved by the SHTB, the PDD must be put on a ballot for approval by the taxpayers would have ended all this nonsense. Unfortunately our politicians were just too lazy to do the work and then cede the real power back to the taxpayers.
By bird (829), Sag Harbor on Jan 28, 18 11:09 AM
While the project in question might provide some "community benefit", the possibility of moving forward has passed with the elimination of the PDD debacle.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jan 28, 18 11:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
Why not build badly needed assisted living facility there, already approved for highway and office business zones. See page A5 article in Western Edition of Press: "Senior Zone Added To Code":
"Assisted living facilities will now be allowed in highway and office business zones in Southampton Town by special exception, thanks to an amendment added to the town code this week.
After the planned development district, or PDD, law was struck from the books last year, the Town Board needed to ...more
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Jan 31, 18 12:41 PM
"explained Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.
“As the population ages, we want people to not be forced to leave our community,” he said. “There was no way to do it.”"

And this is a perfect example of why the PDD moratorium was a stupid idea to begin with. A simple change to the law requiring that the PDD itself be of a benefit to the community, along with a requirement that after the PDD is vetted and approved by the SHTB, the PDD must be put on a ...more
By bird (829), Sag Harbor on Jan 31, 18 7:02 PM
As someone who is 55+ and has now gone down the path of assisted living with my 89 year old mother, please do not put us in the category. Active "seniors" (really hated when I got my AARP card) is a way different demographic group. I agree Assisted Living has value but so does a 55+ community. I suspect the developer did his homework and sees this as economically viable for both him and I believe for the community.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Feb 6, 18 10:29 PM