Town Board delays adopting Hampton Bays moratorium

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Set to enact a year-long moratorium in Hampton Bays focused on the commercial corridor along Montauk Highway, the Southampton Town Board pulled back Tuesday and decided to wait another two weeks before putting the ban in place.

The two week extension, recommended by Southampton Town’s Department of Land Management, provides additional time for the public to submit written comments to the board. Once adopted, the building ban would suspend the acceptance, processing and approval of applications before the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Conservation Board, and Town Board for a change of zone, subdivision, site plan, or variance.

Cashin Associates of Hauppauge will conduct an environmental study—concurrent with the moratorium—designed to define the likely impacts development will have on the community.

The moratorium’s targeted area spans the Montauk Highway corridor from Jones Road in the west to Peconic Road in the east. The southern boundary falls south of the Montauk Highway reaching to Hubbard, Shore, Suffolk and Argonne roads and Fanning Avenue. The northern study area—between Jones and Bellows Pond roads—is bordered by the Long Island Rail Road right-of-way or Montauk Highway, whichever is farther north. East of Bellows Pond Road, Sunrise Highway marks the northern boundary.

While many Hampton Bays residents have said they support the building and development ban, some have voiced concerns that the area covered by the moratorium is too narrow in scope. But Town Planning and Development Administrator Jefferson Murphree said most of the land outside the coverage area is zoned for single family residences. “There’s just not a whole lot of land outside the area to be developed,” he said.

Bob McAlevy of the Hampton Bays Civic Association expressed concern about the hamlet’s waterfronts. Mr. McAlevy said he would like to see a protective district in Hampton Bays, similar to the Harbor Protection Overlay District in East Hampton. He asked the Town Board to look into the causes of water pollution and cesspool flow that enters into Hampton Bays waters due to excess development.

Hampton Bays resident Scott Carlin added to Mr. McAlevy’s comments, saying that “Hampton Bays waters may look clean, but they are not.”

Mr. Murphree said his office is working on a waterfront revitalization plan and is preparing to ask the Town Board to hire a consultant to help in that endeavor. “This issue is a town-wide concern,” Mr. Murphree said, “It’s not just limited to Hampton Bays.”

Mr. Murphree said the waterfront study would begin shortly and run independently of the Hampton Bays environmental impact analysis.

A 50-unit age-restricted condominium complex on Allomara Road and Montauk Highway called The Arborville, and the 50,000-square-foot Stop & Shop development on Montauk Highway and Route 24 have been exempted from the moratorium.

Hampton Bays resident Mary Jean Green said her community deserves a break from development and the moratorium is the last chance to save the hamlet.

“In five years Hampton Bays is going to be built out,” Ms. Green said.

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