Parking plan proposed for problematic catering hall

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The attorney for a controversial catering hall in Eastport told the Southampton Town Planning Board last Thursday that the site had enough parking spaces to accommodate guests.

The exchange was part of the latest chapter in the ongoing struggle between neighbors of the 4,000-square-foot Trumpets at the Gate facility, which opened in 2004 despite a 2002 lawsuit filed against the Planning Board by neighbors who believed that the building did not match the plans drawn up for it.

Lance Keelan and Helen Fehr, who own the facility, have agreed to reduce the size of the hall to 3,450 square feet, but they are proposing to include only 49 parking spaces in their plan, which leaves Planning Board members in doubt over whether that is enough parking for the maximum 113 guests allowed by the business’s certificate of occupancy.

The developers are proposing such a small number of parking spaces because if 50 or more are provided, the project will need to undergo an extensive state-mandated environmental review.

Ten of those parking spaces are at a marina next door to the catering hall, which is also owned by Mr. Keelan and Ms. Fehr.

Their attorney, David Walsh, told the Planning Board that 11 more parking spaces that had originally been “land-banked” as part of an older application for a restaurant at the site could be included in the parking plan for the new application. Land-banked parking spaces are not actual parking spaces, but spots on a site plan where parking can be created if needed.

Members of the Planning Board remained skeptical of the parking plan, which they said was obviously generated to avoid the state environmental review process.

Mr. Walsh said that neighbors of the property have not provided a single photograph or other piece of documentation to indicate that there is a parking problem at the site.

The Planning Board referred the parking scheme to the town’s environmental division for further review.

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