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Jun 10, 2008 6:28 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Plan for "Triangle" on highway in East Hampton is revised

Jun 10, 2008 6:28 AM

Development of the Franklin Triangle, the wedge-shaped piece of land that separates Skimhampton Road in East Hampton from Montauk Highway, took a step forward on June 4, when a significantly revised site plan was brought before the East Hampton Town Planning Board.

Under the plan submitted last week, the existing house will be renovated, with two one-story additions, providing room for three office and/or retail uses in a 2,938-square-foot space. The motel will be demolished and a 3,002-square-foot two-story building, containing a bank with drive-up window and office or retail space, will be erected on its existing footprint. The bank building is to have a “barn-like” exterior with board siding and an asphalt-shingled roof.

The new Georgica Bank, which is now in organization, is the presumptive tenant; local attorney and landlord Leonard Ackerman, is among the bank’s organizers. He is a principal in BNB Ventures LLC, the Franklin Triangle developer.

The board previously reviewed two preliminary plans, both of which called for an access into the two-lot development from Skimhampton Road. A number of residents of the quiet road objected, and the revised layout eliminates that access; cars will now enter and leave from Montauk Highway only. The site is in a district zoned for neighborhood business.

Better still for the residents, a bumpy dirt road that runs from Skimhampton Road to the highway alongside a building just east of the development will be closed, according to the new proposal. That building, formerly the site of a thrift shop and a delicatessen and now undergoing renovation, is owned by Mr. Ackerman.

There are three existing structures on the land: a two-story residence with a barn, a run-down one-story transient motel with six units, and a small white motel accessory building. In its first application, BNB proposed knocking down the house and motel and putting up three 60-foot-wide buildings in a straight line facing the highway. The second plan called for reducing the size of the three buildings.

Neither parking plan met setback requirements, and the Planning Board requested an alternative that would conform to zoning, protect mature trees, and have still smaller buildings.

Both structures will be set well back from the highway, sharing a common access, with parking in two sections rather than the single block first proposed. The Planning Board asked last week that the parking lot be reconfigured to make access from the highway easier.

Two Skimhampton Road neighbors who attended the June 4 meeting, Gus Antell and Noel Mason, seemed happy with the revised plan, as did the board members. “The Planning Board was very pleased by the application,” JoAnne Pahwul, the town’s assistant planning director, said the next day, adding that the scope of the project had been “substantially reduced.”

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