East Hampton Town Board To Air Senior Housing Overlay District

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The East Hampton Town Board’s Republican majority voted last Thursday to schedule a public hearing on a proposal to create a new zoning district for senior housing, as requested by the developers who hope to create a 79-unit residential community, called 555, on the former Principi property on Montauk Highway in Amagansett.

If added to the town’s zoning regulations, the new zoning district would allow four housing units per acre, with a maximum of 100 units for each development—thus allowing a higher density development for senior housing, which is typically more compact and has community buildings. The town already allows higher density in certain districts for affordable housing, senior or otherwise.

At Thursday’s East Hampton Town Board meeting, Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, Councilman Dominick Stanzione and Councilwoman Theresa Quigley voted in favor of holding a public hearing on the zoning amendment.

In opposition were Democrats Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc and Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, who said they did not want to consider a proposal that had been drafted not by the board—but rather by the developers of the proposed senior community.

The developers, Putnam Bridge of Connecticut, want to build the 79 condominiums, both apartments and cottages, on 23.5 acres north of Montauk Highway, between Bunker Hill Road and a former restaurant next to the Amagansett IGA.

Some units in the community would be reserved for residents with low incomes. The Long Island Workforce Housing Act requires that 10 percent of a development’s units be affordable or that a fee be provided in lieu of providing the housing. The developer plans to offer an additional 10 percent in affordable housing, based on Amagansett’s market rate standards.

The plan has been scaled down over a period of months, from 89 to 79 units in the latest draft, which was shown to the Planning Board earlier this fall. The development would be composed of apartments and cottages ranging from 692 to 1,977 square feet each—a third of what the developer had been proposing before. A number of cottages have been removed and some of the apartments were reduced in size from the original plan.

Additionally, the reduction of units along Montauk Highway and the redesign of the layout are meant to open up the vista to create more public space, according to Putnam Bridge. In addition to the units and open vistas, 555 would also include a field house, tennis courts, fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, decorative windmill, gardens, a greenhouse and a pond.

From the get-go, the plan has come under much scrutiny for its proposed density.

The Town Planning Department recently said the proposal does not fit within existing zoning regulations because of its density, and that it actually runs counter to the goals stated in the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

Putnam Bridge drafted the senior housing overlay district proposal to allow the number of units it seeks.

When the Town Board vote was taken whether to consider the zoning amendment for public hearing, and Mr. Van Scoyoc and Ms. Overby objected because the proposed amendment had not been written by the board, Ms. Quigley replied that it was fair game.

“We’ve drafted a ton of laws that were completely messed up and wrong and filled with errors,” Ms. Quigley said. “So it’s frankly irrelevant to me who drafted it.”

The public hearing will be held on December 19.

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