Rechlers Trim Canal Townhouses As Part Of Revised Canoe Place Inn Proposal

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The developers pitching a broad redevelopment of the Canoe Place Inn and eastern shore of the Shinnecock Canal have tailored their plans for a bank of townhouses along the canal, reducing the number of buildings, the size of the units and the size of an accompanying clubhouse.

In a new version of the proposal unveiled by the town on Thursday morning, the developers, Rechler Equity Corp., call for a reduction in the total number of townhouses along the canal from 40 to 37. But the units would be spread through seven buildings, rather than the nine originally proposed, and would average only 1,978 square feet, instead of 2,200 square feet in the original plans, according to a town planning officials.

The clubhouse building accompanying the townhouses was shrunk from 6,000 square feet in the original plans to just 1,900 in the new designs.

The new plans also show far less excavation of the site. Rather than extensively excavating the canal-side property, which runs between Montauk Highway and the LIRR tracks on the east side of the canal, the plans now call for the property’s existing contours to be left more or less as they are.

“In the old plan, the entire site was going to be graded to the same level,” Southampton Town Planning and Development Administrator Kyle Collins told Town Board members during a work session on Thursday. “Now they are substantially working within the existing grade.”

The new designs were clearly intended to lessen the visual impacts of the townhouse buildings, which had been a point of contention for Hampton Bays residents in the public hearings held on the project last year.

Mr. Collins noted, however, that the plans still show the townhouse buildings being 35 feet tall, which conforms with the zoning on the property currently, though that zoning is targeted at commercial development. Mr. Collins suggested that the Town Board require that the buildings meet the residential maximum height of 32 feet.

Planning officials told the Town Board that there was still considerable work that would have to go into the plans for the property east of North Road Shinnecock, where a sewage treatment system is to sited, according to the development plans. An alternative proposed in the revised plans would require extensive excavation.

Along with the townhouse, the developers are proposing to renovate the Canoe Place Inn building to the west of the canal into a hotel and convention center. The plans for the CPI redevelopment remained largely the same as in the original plans, with a few adjustments to account for noise concerns from outdoor events.

In order for either aspect of the project to move forward, the Town Board will have to declare the two properties a Planned Development District, allowing the existing zoning to be set aside in favor of a development carrying substantial benefits to the surrounding community. The Rechlers have proposed the project as a way to allow them to save the CPI building, and still make a profit from their investments. The developers had proposed razing the existing building and construction condos on the site in an earlier proposal.

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