The owners of the Barcelona Inn, a motel located just outside of the Village of Sag Harbor on Route 114, hope to revamp the property into a resort boasting pool and spa facilities. However, it appears after an East Hampton Town planning board work session on Wednesday, April 1, the developers will have to answer to a series of concerns both board members and the town planning department have regarding the expansion.
According to a memo prepared by town planner Eric Schantz, the project aims to demolish the existing motel, four sheds, five stand-alone units and a garage on the nearly 260,000 square foot parcel. In its place, the owners, 734 Route 114 LLC, hope to build 12 cottages, two storage buildings, an office, a pool, a pool house and cabana, two spas and an open air pavilion.
This project has been in the pipeline since 2007, although it has been redesigned several times.
The project would require the clearing of existing native forest, according to Schantz’s memo, and will increase building and total lot coverage on the property.
Schantz notes the current motel site is mostly cleared with a few lawns and scattered oak and maple trees, but the rest of the property is largely undeveloped and contains a “unique remnant of native White Pine forest.”
“It is the only White Pine forest on Long Island and occurs only in the Northwest Woods Region of East Hampton,” writes Schantz. “Also, to the northeastern border of the property are wetlands that are fed by Little Northwest Creek.”
He added the parcel is also within an area considered a “significant fish and wildlife habitat” by both local and state standards, and borders wetland areas and state owned property.
The new plan reduces clearing on the site by 900 square feet. The total amount proposed to be cleared is 40,543 square feet – about 1000 square feet less than what is allowed. Schantz asked the board to seek a re-vegetation plan for the site, focusing on using native plant species, in particular the White Pine. This plan could also be used for screening the property from Route 114, he added.
Planning board members were reportedly troubled by the clearing of white pines on the property, and said they would need to see a re-vegetation plan. They also expressed concerns about whether or not the site contained enough parking.
Schantz notes a new design provided by the developers reduces previous concerns about the septic systems and impacts on both the appearance of the property from Route 114 as well as storm water runoff concerns.
The planning department is also seeking complete plans showing all of the pool and spa facilities.
From a design perspective, Schantz notes the department prefers a new square design as opposed to an original circular design, but would like to see the board request the input of the town’s architectural review board. There are also questions about the size of some of the units, which are smaller than town code allows.
Once all these questions are answered, writes Schantz, the board can deem the application complete and schedule a public hearing on the project.
The next town planning board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 22.