A real estate broker, a general contractor and an excavator are proposing to capitalize on the lack of space for contractors and workmen to store their trucks, trailers and equipment in East Hampton.
Appearing before the East Hampton Town Planning Board last Wednesday, August 6, Phelan Wolf, the broker, explained his group’s plan for what they call the “Below the Bridge Industrial Park.”
The idea is to give some form of relief to local business owners and workers in the event that the town passes a controversial law it has proposed to limit the number and size of commercial trucks residents can park on their residential properties.
“We bought it to address the situation of contractors having no space to store their trucks or equipment,” he said, explaining that the property was purchased in September 2013. “This has been an issue in the town for a long time.”
Some East Hampton Town residents, especially in the Springs, have complained about the influx of big commercially licensed trucks parking at residential homes, which they say is affecting their quality of life.
Town officials have discussed the idea of introducing a municipal parking lot for such vehicles in the event that they pass the law, but nothing has yet come to fruition.
While the idea is still in the works, Mr. Wolf, who is also a freelance writer who is regularly published by Press News Group publications, said the proposed industrial park would be located off Springs-Fireplace Road near Queens Lane and have approximately 34 fenced-in storage paddocks.
Small business contractors would be permitted a rental unit, where workers would park their work trucks and, when they head off to work, their personal vehicles. Mr. Wolf said the “paddies” would be 25 feet by 50 feet, which would fit two large landscape trucks side by side, or a truck and a storage trailer.
The three men are also thinking of allowing the storage of equipment and supplies that would be labeled and likely stored in sheds or storage containers.
While the plan is still in the works, how many paddocks and containers there would be and how much they will charge for the space will depend on how much space the Zoning Board of Appeals allows. Mr. Wolf and his partners will need to get variances to decrease the setbacks from the property lines.
The 4-acre property, which is in a commercial industrial zone, had been owned by Whitmore’s Landscaping and is surrounded by commercial businesses and the town’s municipal waste transfer station.
Planning Board members said last Wednesday that the idea has some merit, because no residences would be disturbed by the parking of trucks, although they submitted that it would be up to the ZBA to decide.
According to Planning Board Chairman Reed Jones, the board declared itself as lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review Act process, and that there will likely be some issue with regard to runoff and the storage of chemicals and liquids at the site. He said that issue would be addressed at one of the next board meetings.
Aside from a few details that still need to be ironed out in the coming months, the Planning Board seemed supportive of the idea, especially since in recent weeks the need for such a service has come to the forefront.
Board member Ian Calder-Piedmonte said it is a complicated dance to protect neighbors’ interests and the overall appearance of the town as the town deals with the flow of the “trade parade” and visitors who escape to the Hamptons. He said he believes the board should leave as much flexibility as it legally can in the applicant’s plan.
Diana Weir, another board member, said she was on board so far. “I think it’s great that it is surrounded by commercial businesses and the dump. That’s no issue. It’s a good plan,” she said. “I’m very supportive of this, especially as we tighten it up, get a narrative and move it along.”
Mr. Phelan said he will come back with a written narrative of the plan and seek variances from the ZBA for setbacks.