East Hampton Town Planning Department officials on Friday rescinded the building permit that would have allowed a new 7-Eleven to open at the former Villa Prince Ristorante property on Montauk Highway in Amagansett.
According to a statement issued by East Hampton Town Attorney Elizabeth Vail, additional site plan review is required before a building permit can be issued by the town. Her statement also notes that a full review of the property’s planning history was not completed prior to the original permit being issued on January 30 by East Hampton Town Building Inspector Tom Preiato.
The building permit was granted to make interior alterations to his building, which includes specifications for a 7-Eleven.
“The building is basically going from a 116-seat restaurant … business, to a store that probably has an occupancy of 30—that’s a decrease,” Mr. Preiato said last week. “No further site plan review is needed unless something else like subdivision issues come up that I’m not aware of. Right now we’re working on making sure everything is fine.”
Some community members were up in arms that no review or traffic study had been done prior to the issuance of the building permit, saying that a 7-Eleven would change the character of Amagansett.
Montauk gained its own 7-Eleven in 2010, and just this week, Newsday reported that it is now the top grossing 7-Eleven in the country. Some Montauk residents had spoken out against that store’s approval.
This week East Hampton town determined that a 1983 subdivision of the Amagansett property is invalid and while retail is a permitted use, the applicant should have first secured site plan approval from the town prior to being granted a building permit.
“The subject property has a complicated history with multiple prior planning reviews and approvals issued over the last 40 years,” Ms. Vail said. “Specifically, the decision to rescind the building permit is based in part on the fact that a 1983 subdivision of the property was never fully completed and is thus invalid.”
Additionally, Ms. Vail explained that previous clearing and grading work completed by the applicant, Richard Principi, was, in fact, done on the same property, even though town officials were originally told it was a separate parcel. Ms. Vail said those changes should have automatically triggered a site plan review for the latest application.
Additionally, in 1997, it was determined that if any improvements were to be made to the property, a new site plan review would be required because the old one was approved in 1977.
“Further review is required to determine if certain conditions of that original site plan approval were met, particularly regarding the parking requirements on-site,” Ms. Vail said. “As such, site plan review for parking is likely required as well.”
The attorney noted that the prior owner of the property was alerted to these issues in a letter dated February 7, 1994, from the town’s planning director.
“The mistaken or erroneous issuance of a permit does not limit or stop a municipality from correcting errors, even when there may be harsh results,” Ms. Vail said.
Mr. Preiato and Mr. Principi did not return calls for comment on Tuesday.