Bridgehampton CAC Has Concerns About TJ Maxx Addition

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The Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee could soon rescind its support for the Gateway Project.

That is, if a plan for a large addition to the TJ Maxx in the Bridgehampton Commons comes to fruition.

CAC co-chair Nancy Walter-Yvertes said after a CAC meeting on November 23 that Bridgehampton is not meant to have large discount stores like the one being proposed at TJ Maxx, which is across the street from the planned Gateway development.

“The Gateway becomes less attractive because there is more traffic on the other side, and also because if you can revisit the Commons and add to it, then you can revisit the Gateway and add to it,” Ms. Walter-Yvertes said. “So, we no longer feel safe with that development.”

Currently, the town is considering whether to designate the Gateway project as a planned development district, or PDD, which is a special change in uses allowed under zoning if what are considered community benefits will result.

Twelve buildings are proposed, which range from 3,600 square feet to 15,000 square feet each, and which total 90,000 square feet of commercial space. The second stories of eight of the buildings would be residential units, with 28 of those units being “community benefit” or affordable units. There will be two market-rate units, as well.

Ms. Walter-Yvertes added that the CAC is opposed to TJ Maxx’s proposed 17,000-square-foot expansion for another reason: There are no additional parking spots proposed to make up for the increased traffic that could come with the addition. In fact, 15 spots will actually be eliminated.

Despite a traffic study conducted by Dunn Engineering in Westhampton, which predicted that the additional size of the store would not have an impact on traffic, Ms. Walter-Yvertes and another CAC member said that traffic in the area is intense. CAC member and local architect Peter Wilson said, “The traffic situation here is becoming catastrophic, a good deal of which is being caused by our commercial development. It is a critical mass problem.”

Ms. Walter said that the town should abide by the “coefficient” in its own code to determine the amount of parking spaces.

According to the code, one parking spot per 180 square feet of gross floor area is required for retail use. Using that equation, 17,000 divided by 180 means that there should be 94 extra spots.

“It risks turning Bridgehampton into a discount mall,” Ms. Walter-Yvertes said of the proposed addition. “We think it belongs in Riverhead, not in Bridgehampton—it attracts people from all over, not normally people who would come and shop here.”

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