By Mara Certic
Members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee on Monday weighed in on aspects of the proposed development at the gateway to Bridgehampton across the street from the Bridgehampton Commons shopping center.
Town Planning and Development Administrator Kyle Collins presented the members of the CAC the draft plans of the development that he discussed with the Southampton Town Board last week.
Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, Councilwoman Christine Scalera, planner Amy Pfeiffer and landscape architect Tim Rumph also attended the meeting, and were on hand to answer the many questions and concerns community members had about chain stores, potential restaurant capacity, landscaping and land use.
Many of the questions revolved around the type of restaurant that could turn up in the development. Mr. Collins explained that by looking at the proposed septic system, as well as the number of housing units included in the plan, the town had determined that a maximum of 125 restaurant seats would be permitted on the 13.3-acre lot.
The developers said the county health department would have a hand in determining how many seats would ultimately be allowed—it must account for 30 gallons per seat for the advanced denitrification system currently being considered with the development.
Some community members were concerned that even though fast food and drive-in restaurants were listed as prohibited in the town’s land-use table, a McDonald’s or Burger King might be able to dress itself up enough to fit into the aesthetic of the development, and end up there.
Supervisor Throne-Holst assured members of the community that “even if they make it look like Versailles,” a McDonald’s would not be allowed at the development.
The supervisor and Mr. Collins explained that the very stringent façade and space requirements mean that the formula-based architecture one might see at chain restaurants along Route 58 would not be allowed in the project, and added that the developer had wanted to find an appropriate family-style restaurant.
One Bridgehamptonite thought perhaps there were too few trees on the plans, and suggested that more be placed to block the development from the road, but Mr. Rumph said the planning department had actually asked him to remove some of the trees.
“We didn’t want to just hide the thing,” said Mr. Collins, “We wanted to create a streetscape you’d actually want to see.” The development will be surrounded by a three-or-four-railed fence, reminiscent of what one might see on Mitchell or Lumber lanes.
But when it comes down to it, Supervisor Throne-Holst reminded residents that, “The truth is, [the developers] don’t have to take any of our guidance.”
“This has to be a viable entity for them,” she said, adding that the CAC should continue to explain to developers exactly what they’d like, but leave some leeway in terms of what could be allowed a few years down the line. The town is moving forward with plans and hopes to finish a traffic study in June with plans to hold public hearings in July and August.
In other action, the CAC celebrated news that the hamlet will soon be getting a new crosswalk in front of the Hampton Library, like the ones on Main Street in East Hampton. Town officials had initially thought the location would not work for a crosswalk, which will have lights in the road that flash when pedestrians wait to cross.
Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst explained that by reengineering the crosswalk to traverse Montauk Highway at an angle, the high-tech crossing will no longer interfere with infrastructure or existing trees. The town issued a request for proposals for the crossing two weeks ago, and expects responses by the middle of May.