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Dec 12, 2018 9:43 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board Considers Historic District Designation For Bridgehampton

Southampton Town officials are looking into setting up a historic district in Bridgehampton. GREG WEHNER
Dec 12, 2018 10:36 AM

Southampton Town officials hope to establish a historic district along Main Street in Bridgehampton, an effort to preserve the classic building facades that the downtown is known for.

The historic district of Bridgehampton, a hamlet settled in 1656, would stretch from Butter Lane on the western end to just beyond Ocean Road on the eastern end, although the boundaries could change as the effort moves forward.

Just what exactly the designation would mean to property owners within the proposed district is still being determined, officials said. Guidelines for what could be done in the historic district and what would be prohibited are still being drafted.

But, more than likely, according to Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, exterior changes to buildings, and not interior alterations, would be targeted.

“If you go around the East End … particularly when you have a high concentration of historic houses, you have protections,” Mr. Schneiderman noted.

He explained areas like East Hampton Village and Southampton Village have historic districts that specify how homes within the district may be altered. But currently, Bridgehampton does not have those protections, and the hamlet is dependent on the town to protect it.

Southampton Landmarks and Historic Districts Board member Ed Wesnofske and Town Historian Julie Greene presented the proposal to Town Board members during a work session on December 6.

The historians noted that when Bridgehampton was originally settled, it was centered farther south, near the Sagaponack Bridge. But, over time, as a main road was laid down for people to travel east and west, the central hub of Bridgehampton moved north.

Ms. Greene said there are a number of prominent structures in Bridgehampton, including the Nathaniel Rogers home on the eastern end of Main Street, which displays a Greek revival-style of architecture, and the Triangular Commons, which was once training grounds for Eastern Long Island militias from the 1600s to the 1700s.

She also pointed to landmarks such as the Candy Kitchen, the Sanford building and several churches, including the Presbyterian Church, Methodist Church and St. Anne’s Episcopal Church.

At the meeting, Mr. Schneiderman explained the urgency to get the proposed protections in place.

“That sense of an early settlement area will start to fade into the traditional suburban landscape, and you’ll lose something precious,” he said. “I think it’s critical that these protections be put in place.”

Mr. Schneiderman said the outside facades of the buildings that face the street would be affected the most. For example, any renovations, new constructions, reconstructions or additions would be required to go before the landmarks committee or Architectural Review Board to explain why the changes were needed, before work could begin.

Things such as the choice of paint, window trim, street lighting and siding would also need to be reviewed.

Mr. Schneiderman is considering a six-month moratorium on applications for exterior changes to buildings within the proposed historic district, to prevent changes being made to homes or structures before protections are in place.

The moratorium would also allow Mr. Wesnofske and Ms. Greene to solidify the guidelines and boundaries of the new district before a hearing takes place.

Currently, there is no hearing scheduled, and the topic is expected to be discussed further at a future work session.

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This Town Board could screw up Heaven, and they are well on their way.
By themarlinspike (203), southampton on Dec 13, 18 1:41 PM