Tag Archive | "Bridgehampton"

Environmental Impact Study Ordered for Potential CVS in Bridgehampton

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The Southampton Town Planning Board ruled last Thurday it will require an environmental impact study for CVS at the corner of Montauk Highway and the Bridgehampton Turnpike. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Mara Certic

At the end of a three-hour meeting on Thursday afternoon, the Southampton Town Planning Board ruled that it would require an environmental impact study for CVS pharmacy that has been proposed for a busy intersection in Bridgehampton.

Southampton Town Planner Claire Vail presented her recommendation to the board on Thursday after she discussed the standards of the State Environmental Quality Review Act. The application is considered “unlisted,” which means the planning board has the final say in whether or not an EIS is required.

CVS Caremark filed for a special exception permit in July to allow the pharmacy giant to occupy a 9,030-square-foot-building at the intersection of Montauk Highway, the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike and Lumber Lane.

Ms. Vail said on Thursday the proposed pharmacy could have significant potential adverse effects on both traffic and the community character, which lead the board to adopt what is called a “positive declaration,” requiring the environmental study.

In 2011, the planning board approved plans by BNB Ventures IV—the company that owns the land—to demolish the Bridgehampton Beverage store in order to put in its place a two-story Greek revival building. When approved in 2011, the planning board had determined the building would not have any adverse impact on its surroundings.

It was initially proposed the building would have a couple of retail spaces with offices or apartments upstairs, but the entire building was zoned for retail uses, which allows CVS to seek to merge the different retail spaces together to make one large store. But the town code requires developers seeking to build retail spaces larger than 5,000 square feet in the village business district to apply for a special exception permit, although the use is not prohibited outright.

News of CVS potentially taking over the busy corner caused outcry from members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, who in turn created the offshoot organization Save Bridgehampton Main Street in an effort to raise money to fund a potential legal battle.

A few dozen people showed up to Thursday afternoon’s planning board meeting, many of them sporting anti-CVS pins in their lapels, to listen to Ms. Vail discuss the board’s determination. Although members of the CAC had tried to make arguments that there might be impacts on the historic district or nature of the lot, which is the site of a historic tavern, Ms. Vail determined it unlikely the CVS would affect the historical character of the area.

“That triangle has some historic importance, but you already approved a building there,” said John Bennett, who is representing CVS Caremark.

Ms. Vail did, however, say that an almost 10,000-square-foot pharmacy on the busy corner would have a significant negative effect on the community character of Bridgehampton’s Main Street. Ms. Vail used copies of the Bridgehampton Hamlet Study and plans for the hamlet center as criteria, all of which named maintaining the community character as the village’s primary goal.

Ms. Vail also found there to be a significant potential negative impact on traffic in the area, thus requiring a traffic study.

Questions remain about how many parking spots there should be, as well as the scope of any traffic study. Mr. Bennett appeared to be frustrated following Ms. Vail’s presentation to the planning board.

He told the board the developers had already hired BHB Engineering to do a traffic study. “The first thing I insisted upon was a traffic impact statement,” he said. “You cannot under any guise use the traffic concerns here because that ship has sailed.”

Members of Save Bridgehampton Main Street also hired an engineer for their own traffic study, which will be read into the record at one of the upcoming public hearings on the application. Following the adoption of the positive declaration, a third traffic study will likely be conducted on the busy corner.

Mr. Bennett told the board this move was “textbook arbitrary action,” and warned the planning board to use only substantiated facts and expert testimony when making its decisions.  Mr. Bennett several times made reference to appealing the board’s decision. At one point, he said, “I guess a court will have to decide that.”

Wayne Bruyn, who is representing BNB Ventures IV, accused the board of standing alone with its staff on “a twisted interpretation of the code.”

The two attorneys spent approximately 45 minutes responding to Ms. Vail’s presentation and accused the board of acting illegally.

“I know you’re under a lot of political pressure, I ask you to consider what you said, I don’t see how you have the authority to do anything you’re doing today,” Mr. Bennett said.

When the board asked the lawyers for an adjournment in order to consider its reply, Mr. Bennett flatly refused and said “You’re going to do what you’re going to do.”

“You’ve had more than enough time” to prepare, Mr. Bennett added.  “You should have anticipated what I was going to say, you should have known it all along.”

The six members of the board present voted unanimously to accept the positive declaration. Public hearings and further environmental review will take place in the coming weeks.


Century-Old Raceabout To Highlight Bridgehampton Road Rally

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Cars lined up for the Bridgehampton Museum Road Rally. Photo Courtesy Brigehampton Historical Society.

Cars lined up at the Bridgehampton Museum. Photo courtesy Bridgehampton Historical Society.

By Tessa Raebeck 

After first racing in Bridgehampton 100 years ago, the 1913 Mercer Raceabout is returning to the hamlet.

At this year’s Vintage Automobile Poker Rally hosted by The Bridgehampton Museum, Silas Hiscock will bring his legendary speedster back to Bridgehampton for a leisurely tour around the roads it once raced.

An expected 60 to 75 cars will be on display on the grounds of The Bridgehampton Museum on Saturday for the vintage automobile show and poker rally, an annual event held in honor of the hamlet’s rich racing history.

The oldest car will be Mr. Hiscock’s 1913 Mercer, which “was actually raced on the streets of Bridgehampton in the early 1900’s,” according to Earl Gandel, a Bridgehampton resident well-versed in the hamlet’s automobile history.

“It was his father’s car,” Mr. Gandel said of Mr. Hiscock. The car was passed down to the family, but then sold in the 1950’s.

“I guess it made the rounds and it was in somebody’s collection and then it came back to auction [many years later until Silas Hiscock] heard about it and he went to California and bought it,” Mr. Gandel said of the Mercer, which recently returned to Bridgehampton.

The famed car is an icon of early films, in which drivers in bucket seats seem to be sitting atop the vehicle, bouncing along turns at almost alarming speeds. In 1911, the first year the Raceabouts were made, Mercer entered its new cars in six major events—and the Raceabout earned the top spot in five of them.

Bridgehampton’s car contests started when firemen began to sponsor street races on a three-mile course around the hamlet in 1915 as a way to liven up their summer carnival. Drivers, going up to 50 mph, began on Main Street and made a rectangular loop, turning left onto Halsey Lane, left onto Paul’s Lane, left onto Ocean Road and finally another left to return to Main Street.

The firemen’s circuit ended in 1921, but in 1949 Bruce Stevenson revived Bridgehampton’s road races, and mostly European cars dashed around a four-and-a-half-mile course at speeds of over 100 mph. From 1949 to 1953, the circuit ran directly to the east of the first course, starting on Ocean Road and going clockwise, cutting right down Sagaponack Road, turning right onto Sagg Main Street, and taking a right onto Bridge Lane to return to Ocean Road.

The 25-lap Bridgehampton circuit, one of the first permanent road racing venues in the United States, was considered an excellent high-speed road course, further enhanced by the natural beauty of Bridgehampton’s ponds, farms and sand dunes. The course joined the SCCA National Sports Car Championship in 1951, the year it was created, and hosted many major international events, such as Can-Am, NASCAR Grand National and the World Sportscar Championship.

The races ended tragically in May 1953 when a driver was killed during practice and an accident stopped a race on the ninth lap, when spectators flooded the course after one driver and three spectators were injured. The Mecox Trophy Race, Hamptons Cup and others were cut short and New York State banned racing on public roads shortly thereafter.

In 1957, the course was revived once again when the Bridgehampton Race Circuit opened on 500 acres just north of the village, where The Bridge Golf Club is now located.

“Racing on the streets was banned in New York State, so the track was built,” said Mr. Gandel, who once managed the track, which closed its doors in 1998 after over 35 years of car and motorcycle races.

Photo courtesy Bridgehampton Historical Society.

Photo courtesy Bridgehampton Historical Society.

In homage to the hamlet’s connection to cars, Jeffrey Vogel and the Bridgehampton Historical Society started the first Vintage Sports Car Road Rally in 1993.

“The rally started 21 years ago because Bridgehampton has a very rich racing history compared to a lot of places where rallies are run,” said Mr. Gandel. “We have a reason to do it and I think people appreciate that.”

All the cars participating in Saturday’s show and road rally, which includes Mustangs, Corvettes and Cabriolets, to name a few, were made before 1960. The tour still enjoys the natural beauty of Bridgehampton, but at much safer speeds.

Drivers start out with a parade around the “old course,” said Mr. Gandel, following the exact same four-mile route along public roads as their early 20th-century predecessors. Following the parade, cars start on the main course with a map and an instruction book, stopping at four checkpoints along the way to collect poker cards. After all of the drivers finish at the museum’s Main Street location, the car with the winning poker hand wins in a game of sheer luck. Other awards are given for going the exact mileage and taking the “ideal time,” Mr. Gandel said, adding that both of those winning amounts are unknown to drivers prior to the finish line.

“A lot of rallies are very technical and they take a lot of navigation and equipment, but we don’t do that,” Mr. Gandel said. ”It’s a fun rally.”

The Bridgehampton Museum’s 2014 Vintage Automobile Poker Rally is Saturday, October 11, at The Bridgehampton Museum, located at 2368 Main Street in Bridgehampton. Gates open to auto exhibitors at 9 a.m., with a $10 fee to show cars. At 10 a.m. gates are open to the public with free admission. The rally begins at noon and has a $100 entry fee for participants. For more information, call (631) 537-4225 or visit bridgehamptonrally.org.

Plein Air Peconic Celebrates Land, Sea, Sky

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Hendrickson Farm by Kathryn Szoka.

Hendrickson Farm by Kathryn Szoka.

“Land, Sea, Sky,” Plein Air Peconic’s Ninth Annual Show, will debut with an artists reception this Saturday, October 11 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Ashawagh Hall, 780 Springs Fireplace Road in East Hampton. The show will be on view throughout Columbus Day weekend.

“Land, Sea, Sky” celebrates art inspired by direct observation of the East End’s cherished local farmlands, wildflower fields, salt marshes, and beaches in an exhibition and sale by the artists of Plein Air Peconic.  Many landscapes that have been conserved by Peconic Land Trust will be included.  Plein Air Peconic includes painters Casey Chalem Anderson, Susan D’Alessio, Aubrey Grainger, Anita Kusick, Keith Mantell, Michele Margit, Joanne Rosko, and photographers Tom Steele, Kathryn Szoka.  Plein Air Peconic has announced that two guest painters, Ty Stroudsburg and Gail Kern, will be exhibiting as well.

The show will partially benefit the Peconic Land Trust. To learn more about the artists of Plein Air Peconic visit PleinAirPeconic.com.


BNB Announces Quarterly Dividend

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Bridge Bancorp, Inc., the holding company for The Bridgehampton National Bank, announced the declaration of a quarterly dividend of $0.23 per share. The dividend will be payable on October 31 to shareholders of record as of October 17.  The company continues its trend of uninterrupted dividends.

Bridge Bancorp, Inc. is a bank holding company engaged in commercial banking and financial services through its wholly owned subsidiary, The Bridgehampton National Bank (BNB).  Established in 1910, BNB, with assets of approximately $2.2 billion, and a primary market area of Suffolk and Southern Nassau Counties, Long Island, operates 27 retail branch locations.

For more information, visit bridgenb.com. 

Bridgehampton Test Scores Fall in Wake of Common Core

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By Tessa Raebeck

Following the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards last year and the immediate alignment of student assessments to the new curriculum, Bridgehampton School saw its scores on standardized tests drop across the board.

The Common Core, which according to its philosophy, aims to enhance learning essentially by teaching students to be thinkers rather than memorizers, was largely criticized last year for its implementation, which many educators, parents and students said was haphazard and too fast.

“There’s a difference between pre-Common Core and post-Common Core,” Bridgehampton Superintendent/Principal Dr. Lois Favre told the school board at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, September 24.

“By all measures that we have here our kids are growing,” she said, adding that 96 percent of Bridgehampton students met local growth targets, which are measured by where students are in September “to where we expect they will be at the end of the year.”

For English Language Arts (ELA) tests in grades 3 to 5, less than half of students scored the higher scores of a 3 or a 4 on the new state assessments. Dr. Favre said what needs to happen now is for the district “to understand better what the state tests are asking,” adding “that’s the training that the teachers are going through now.”

“This year is the first year that the state is actually releasing some questions, so we finally have an idea of what the test looks like,” Dr. Favre said.

Dr. Favre said Bridgehampton’s numbers tend to appear worse than they actually are, because the school’s small class sizes make for more extreme percentages. If two students fail in a class of eight, for example, the pass rate goes from 100 percent to 75 percent, whereas those same two students failing in a larger class would have a much less significant effect.

The superintendent said in moving forward, a primary goal of the district is to look at vocabulary development and to “change strategies we use to teach so that kids start to think in a different way.”

“I couldn’t understand why they would change standards and the test at the same time,” Dr. Favre said of the New York State Department of Education, saying she would have preferred to “watch our kids grow on the tests we’re familiar with.”

Students performed better on the math assessments, which the district had made an “area of focus,” the superintendent said.

Dr. Favre announced her intention to team up with other small schools, such as the Amagansett School District in East Hampton, so that teachers have colleagues to strategize with. Many Bridgehampton teachers are the only instructors in their subjects at their grade level and she believes they would benefit from a relationship with others experiencing the same challenges. Dr. Favre is in talks with Amagansett Superintendent Eleanor Tritt to make such an alliance happen.

Despite the poor showing on many primary tests, Bridgehampton did “beautifully” on high school exams, she said.

“That’s why I have every faith we have a great curriculum. We have great teachers, it’s just a matter of getting to know this test,” Dr. Favre said of the Common Core assessments.

In an effort to address weaknesses, the district has established data teams, groups of teachers that will meet for two hours every month to “really talk about these things” and plan curriculum alignment across the board.

Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton Voters Approve Library Budgets, Elect New Members

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By Stephen J. Kotz

Sag Harbor voters overwhelming approved the John Jermain Memorial Library’s $2.4 million budget by a 198-32 margin on Monday.

Two incumbent library board members were also re-elected to three-year terms on the board. Ann Lieber received 154 votes, and Jacqueline Brody received 129 votes. Newcomer Ann Sutphen, who received 144 votes, was also elected to a three-year-term.

Also running were Susan Sabin, who received 127 votes; Robert Hooke, who received 84 votes; and Caleb Kercheval, who received 71 votes. Trustee Toby Spitz did not seek another term.

“The staff and board are just so grateful for the community support of the library,” said library director Catherine Creedon on Tuesday.

The budget pierces the state-mandated 2-percent spending cap. It carries a 5.8-percent spending increase of $111,367, which Ms. Creedon said was largely tied to the library’s eventual move back to its building at the corner of Main and Union streets.

She said the budget covered increases for things like utilities, the need for more custodial hours, given that the building is four times larger than the library’s temporary quarters on Long Island Avenue, as well as the need to bring back two part-time positions that were eliminated through attrition at the start of the renovation project.

“This place has been a real gift,” Ms. Creedon said of the library’s temporary home. “Our door count, the number of patrons who have come in, has actually increased in the temporary space.” She said she thought that might because the temporary space is now closer to the business district.

Ms. Creedon said she still did not have a firm answer for when the library would be able to move back to its permanent home, saying it would be late winter at the earliest.

Hampton Library Results

Bridgehampton and Sagaponack voters on Saturday approved the Hampton Library’s proposed operating budget for 2015 and elected five trustees to the library board.

Dr. Louise Collins, Tom House and Jackie Poole, all of whom ran unopposed, were reelected to three-year terms on the board of trustees. John Vendetti ran unopposed for his first term and was voted in by 42 Bridgehampton votes. Sagaponack voters elected Matthew Rojano for his first term as library trustee.

After serving four three-year terms, board president Elizabeth Whelan Kotz stepped down because of term limits, and Trustee Sarah Jaffe Turnbull did not seek re-election.

The five trustees were sworn in on Wednesday, October 1.

The budget, which was proposed at $1,551,700 passed easily. In Bridgehampton, voters approved the budget 38 to 6. In Sagaponack, all nine voters passed the budget unanimously.

“We really appreciate the support of our patrons and voters,” said library director Kelly Harris. “And we thank the people who took time out from a very busy weekend to come out and vote.”

Arrest in Bridgehampton Home Invasion

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Southampton Town Police on Tuesday said they had arrested a man last week they said was responsible for a Bridgehampton home invasion in August.

Keriam Beauford, 27, of Amityville was charged on Thursday, September 25, with four felonies: burglary in the first degree, assault in the first degree, robbery in the first degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree.

He was held overnight in Southampton Town Police headquarters and arraigned in Southampton Town Justice Court on Friday and taken to Suffolk County jail in Riverside.

Police said Mr. Beauford was located in Nassau County by town detectives with the assistance of U.S. marshals.

On August 12, town police were called to a house on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike at about 11:30 a.m. Residences told them an armed man had forced his way into the house, pistol whipped one of the residents, demanded drugs and money, and made off with a Playstation 4. X-Box One, iPad, and a small amount of marijuana.

Town officers and detective responded to the scene along with Sag Harbor Village Police, and the Suffolk County K-9 unit.

The victim who was pistol whipped during the attack was hospitalized at Stony Brook Hospital.

Burgers and Football at Fresh Hamptons

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Fresh Hamptons at 203 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton is offering Manly Mondays each week at its bar.

A flat screen television will show the Monday night NFL game and a dinner special featuring a grass-fed beef burger or grilled veggie burger with a draft beer or glass of house wine will be available for $14 plus tax and gratuity.

For more information about Fresh Hamptons, call (631) 537-4700 or visit it on Facebook.

Almond Announces New Prix Fixe Menu

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Almond restaurant at 1 Ocean Road in Bridgehampton has announced a new prix-fixe menu available from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday. The three-course menu, which will be rotated daily, will be available for $29.

Among the items on the menu will be warm Amagansett beet salad or herbed goat cheese ravioli for appetizers; steak frites or roast chicken entrees; and buttermilk panna cotta peach and ginger compote pop tarts for dessert.

Almond debuted in the spring of 2001. The affordable French bistro quickly became one of the top spots on the East End for locals and tourists alike.

“Almond has brought French bistro to the Hamptons,” said Joanne Starkey of The New York Times.

Chef Jason Weiner quickly established himself and has established a strong commitment to using locally farmed products and local produce in order to support the local community.

For reservations call Almond at (631) 537-5665.

Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz

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By Mara Certic

Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz is the chair of Slow Food East End, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. She discusses some of the group’s successes over the years, future projects and an upcoming fundraiser in Westhampton Beach.

Slow Food East End just celebrated its 10th anniversary. How has the organization evolved and expanded over the past 10 years?

Our quest for universal access is manifested in our novel programming, which is centered around education and the concept of Farm to Table. Master Farmers Program, Chefs to Schools, school garden mini-grants, educational outreach and curriculum development are our most important initiatives of the past few years.  We have had the good fortune to develop powerful partnerships with some incredible like-minded groups such as Edible School Gardens, Josh Levine Memorial Foundation, Cornell Cooperative, Peconic Land Trust, Project Most and Sylvester Manor.  That expression “Many hands make light work,” comes to mind. We have become much more effective by sharing resources and goals.

What do you consider some of the greatest accomplishments?

Our greatest accomplishment in my mind is the formation of a very dedicated group of Slow Food leaders and community supporters that is very focused on changing the way people eat and the way food is produced. Through team effort and hard work, we have accomplished some pretty incredible things. The school garden movement—and soon the school cooking movement—on the East End of Long Island would not be the same without the amazing financial and programmatic support of Slow Food East End. We owe all of this to the network of chefs, farmers, fisherman, educators, producers, concerned citizens, journalists, nutritionists and foodies that have donated so much of their time, energy and resources to our common goals. It takes a community!

Slow Food East End has been advertising the need for a master farmer. What does that position entail?

When educators, parents and community members wanted to teach children about food: where it came from, how to grow it and how to eat it, school gardens seemed the best place to accomplish that task. Today, the Edible School Garden Group counts about 25 school districts with school garden programs on the East End. It became apparent that many of us did not have the technical growing or gardening skills to run successful programs. Farming requires special knowledge! Monthly meetings did not translate into help on the ground, where questions from “Where should I put my garden?” to “How do you harvest sweet potatoes?” perplexed many.  The Master Farmer program was born. Master farmers bring different levels of gardening/farming experience to the table.  Our four master farmers have truly been inspirational as well incredibly helpful in getting programs off the ground and into sustainability.

On Sunday, September 28, the American Culinary Federation Eastern Long Island Chefs Chapter is co-hosting the first annual S.E.E.D. fundraiser with Slow Food East End. What will the fundraiser benefit?

The chefs of the Eastern Long Island chapter of the American Culinary Federation very much want to give back to the community and make an impact on changing the way people eat too.  S.E.E.D. aims to celebrate the chefs, wineries, breweries, farmers and fishermen who produce the delicious bounty that we enjoy so much out here. Proceeds from S.E.E.D. will help fund Slow Food East End’s Chefs to Schools Program, which aims to bring chefs into schools.  Chefs will receive a small stipend covering time and supplies to visit schools with the aim of teaching children of all ages how to prepare, cook and enjoy food. The program is still in development and will be officially launched sometime very soon. This new initiative completes the circle of farm to table.

For more information about Slow Food East End or Sunday’s fundraiser, visit slowfoodeastend.org.