The controversial Canoe Place Inn proposal has stalled at the Southampton Town Planning Board as it waits for completed site plans for the Hampton Bays project to be filed with the Building Department.
At a Planning Board meeting on Thursday, December 10, town planner Janice Scherer, who is assigned to the case, explained that several documents are still missing from the site plans for both the proposed townhouses and the restoration of the Canoe Place Inn. Without the documents, including a phasing plan that details how and when each element of the project will be completed, the Planning Board cannot move forward on the application.
Because the Canoe Place Inn project was approved as a planned development district, a zoning mechanism that balances intensified development with community benefits, some members of the Planning Board are unclear about which aspects of the plan they are and are not supposed to rule on.
“There is a lot there that has been settled, but there is still a lot that needs to be decided,” Ms. Scherer told the board. “I will do an extensive review so you know exactly what you need to do.”
The Southampton Town Board approved the renovation plan for the old Canoe Place Inn and the construction of 37 townhouses in January. Presented by cousins Gregg and Mitchell Rechler of R Squared LLC, the project has gone through various stages of progress, change and stagnation since they first proposed to replace the derelict inn with 75 timeshares in 2006. The current iteration calls for the complete restoration of the inn, along with the construction of 37 townhouses on approximately 4.5 acres along the eastern bank of the Shinnecock Canal.
While the project has been approved by the Town Board with very specific requirements for both properties, the Planning Board must now approve the plans, including a phasing plan that will make sure different phases of development are undertaken at the same time, and dictating the order in which the project will be completed.
According to Ms. Scherer, the project will be before the Planning Board for several months after the site plans are considered complete. She said she would make a comprehensive list for the board detailing everything they must accomplish.
“There is supposed to be an extensive phasing plan as to how this is all supposed to be accomplished,” Ms. Scherer said. “We don’t have that in yet, but it has to be done to make sure the building permits are approved and that things are constructed simultaneously. There is a lot of oversight needed.”
Ms. Scherer also noted that none of the buildings slated for demolition can be razed until the Planning Board process has been completed, unless the applicant specifically requests it and gets the board’s approval.
Planning Board member Phil Keith said he hopes that as part of the phasing plan, the applicants will include a safety and security plan for the property in the meantime. He noted that there has been graffiti and vandalism at the site of the former Canoe Place Inn and the former Tiderunners restaurant and bar.
The application is slated to go back before the Planning Board in January.