By Stephen J. Kotz
Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst told the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee on Monday that the town was ready to move quickly on the proposed Bridgehampton Gateway development.
The supervisor said she would have a resolution ready for Tuesday’s town board meeting to fund the completion of a study, which she said was already about 80 percent done, so the town could officially launch the process of having the site on the south side of Montauk Highway across from the Bridgehampton Commons shopping center designated as a Planned Development District (PDD).
“We can put this on a pretty fast track,” she said.
Ms. Throne-Holst appeared at the meeting with Kyle Collins, the town’s planning and development administrator, developer Greg Konner, whose company owns the property being eyed for a mixed use development, and representatives of Araiys Design Landscape Architecture.
The CAC said it would support the proposal, and, at Mr. Collins’s suggestion, CAC co-chairwoman Nancy Walter-Yvertes, said she would solicit the names of six to eight people from the Bridgehampton community who would begin meeting with Mr. Collins shortly after Thanksgiving to offer suggestions for the scope of the development.
According to preliminary sketches, the development would consist of nine buildings, ranging in size from 4,700 square feet to 15,000 square feet. Eight of them would be designated for some type of commercial use. A total of 28 subsidized apartments would be built on the second floor of those buildings. An additional eight apartments that would be rented at “market rates” would occupy their own building to the rear of the property overlooking Kellis Pond.
Mr. Collins said the development would try “to build on the agricultural heritage of Bridgehampton with a farmstead theme.” That means architects would take their design cues from barns and other typical farm buildings. The buildings would be arrayed around a one-acre “pasture” off Montauk Highway, with parking and access roads tucked behind and largely out of sight from the road.
Although committee members in the past have said the development would offer a better location for a CVS pharmacy than the site on the other end of Bridgehampton’s shopping district that is being considered for one, Mr. Konner said no such plan is in the works at this early stage.
CAC member Julie Burmeister fretted about whether Mr. Konner would be able to find tenants. “We’ve had enough trouble keeping tenants at the Commons,” she said.
“I’ve had lots of people asking. I’ll have no problem renting them,” replied Mr. Konner.
Others said they didn’t want to be promised a number of small-scale stores and find themselves staring at a Home Depot or some other big box store.
Committee members also had questions about how the apartments would be managed, who would qualify for the subsidized units and what impact the development would have on schools.
Although most assumed the development would be in the Bridgehampton School District, and provide a tax boon to it, it actually is in the Southampton School District, so any children living there would go to Southampton public schools, as would the tax dollars generated by the development.
No matter what school district the project is in, the tax dollars raised “will vastly outweigh the cost of any kids going to school,” said Mr. Collins. He also cited demographic studies that have shown the number of children entering the schools would be limited, even if most of the apartments were two-bedroom units.
CAC members also asked about whether the development would be pedestrian friendly. Mr. Collins assured them it would be much more so than the Commons, which consists of stores surrounding a huge central parking lot. He also said access to the site would be directly across from the Commons, where there is already a traffic light.
Mr. Collins told the board the town has long sought to coordinate the development at the site, given its position as a gateway to Bridgehampton. That was always difficult, he said, because the site consisted of several different pieces. Those individual lots are all controlled by the Konners now, which will make it easier to review the site at once rather than “having a piecemeal application before the planning board,” he said.
Plans for the site were first considered as part of the town’s comprehensive plan update in 1999 and again in 2004 when the Bridgehampton Hamlet Study was done. A concept plan centering around a proposed 50,000-square-foot Barnes & Noble bookstore were also aired in 2008, but
Fire Commissioner Race
The committee also heard from Phil Cammann, an advanced emergency medical technician, and John O’Brien, a long-time firefighter and former chief, both of whom are seeking the one opening on the Bridgehampton Board of Fire Commissioners. The seat is a five-year term, and voting takes place on December 9.
Mr. Cammann promised better communication between the fire district and citizens, while Mr. O’Brien cited his nearly 40 years of service on the department.