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Aug 4, 2010 12:14 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Developers agree to reduce number of proposed condos, in exchange for preserving Canoe Place Inn

Aug 4, 2010 12:14 PM

The developers looking to build dozens of condos along the east side of Shinnecock Canal in Hampton Bays, in exchange for preserving the Canoe Place Inn building that they also own, have modified their pitch to Southampton Town.

At a meeting of the Hampton Bays Beautification Association on Monday evening, Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst reported that following negotiations with cousins Gregg and Mitchell Rechler, the developers have agreed to reduce their number of proposed luxury condominiums from 45 units to 40. About 70 people attended the meeting held at the Hampton Bays Public Library.

The Rechlers’s firm, R Squared LCC in Melville, is one of the largest commercial land owners on Long Island. In addition to the Canoe Place Inn property, located on the west side of Shinnecock Canal, the Rechlers also own the land on the eastern side of the waterway, where Tide Runners Restaurant and 1 North Steakhouse now stand.

Under the proposal now being circulated by Ms. Throne-Holst, the Rechlers would agree to preserve the Canoe Place Inn building if they are allowed to replace the two restaurants with 40 waterfront condominiums. In order to build the condominiums, the developers would need a zoning change, approved by the Town Board, to make the estimated 4.5-acre property a Planned Development District. Each condo would measure around 2,400 square feet, according to the plan.

In return, the public would have access to a boardwalk that would run along the east side of the canal and the developers would agree to pay an estimated $1 million to $2 million to renovate the Canoe Place Inn. The Hampton Bays Historical and Preservation Society would assist with the planning of the renovation, according to Ms. Throne-Holst. The Canoe Place Inn would eventually reopen as a catering facility and host weddings and other events, she said.

“People want the right to go down, they want access to it [the canal],” said Susan von Freddi, president of the Hampton Bays Beautification Association. “I grew up here in Hampton Bays. The Canoe Place Inn is a part in all of our lives.”

“The devil is in the detail to me,” added Ms. Throne-Holst, who stressed that the proposal is far from a done deal. “This contract can be nothing but airtight.”

If an accord can be reached, the developers will have to find a partner to run the catering hall within a specified number of years, the supervisor said. If that does not happen, the town would reserve the right to purchase the Canoe Place Inn, most likely using Community Preservation Fund money, she said. Ms. Throne-Holst said she did not know how much it would cost the town to acquire the property, if necessary.

The proposal is still in its planning phases and, according to Ms. Throne-Holst, the actual plan would take several months to draft.

“They have agreed to it in concept,” she said of the Rechlers. “We haven’t gotten down to the details of how this transaction would actually occur just yet.”

As with other recent meetings in which the swap was discussed, community members expressed mixed feelings about the proposal. Ms. von Freddi said that the supervisor did a commendable job presenting the options that are now available.

“I thought meeting went well,” she said. “When there’s something controversial, you’re always worried that people were going to get upset and emotional. The supervisor did a nice job of presenting what’s out there, what’s available to the community.”

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Wow! 5 whole units... so now the denisty is only 8.9 units/acre instead of 10 units/acre (which includes about 1/2 acre which is underwater). Where do you sign ATH? What are you waiting for?

The developers are laughing behind closed doors at the Town and residents of Hampton Bays. The original proposal of 45 units was likely not feasble given the size and layout of the property and they knew they would have to lower it (don't be surprised if they drop off another 5 units by the time ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 6, 10 2:54 PM
3 members liked this comment
One more victory for over-development
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Aug 6, 10 4:07 PM
If i did the math right thats ninty-six thousand square feet of building on 4.5 acres part of which is under water. Thats almost thirty thousand square feet larger than the Rennert house which is on 69 acres of land. Does this seem absurd to anyone other than me? Let them knock down the CPI. It's been an eyesore for years. Then they can develop to whaterver density fits within the existing zoning laws including the setbacks for waterfront construction.
By bird (689), Southampton on Aug 8, 10 12:18 AM
What do you mean it is under water? I seem to have missed that part.
By bb (776), Hampton Bays on Aug 8, 10 9:51 PM
The area that has been dredged out to create the small Marina at Tiderunners was once dry land and is included in the total acreage of the parcel.
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Aug 9, 10 12:30 AM
I enjoy going to Tide Runners when up that way, would hate to see it go. Maybe the next article on this will be more complete and include interviews with the operators of both of the restaurants on that property.
By KashMinbar (6), Tucson on Aug 9, 10 1:04 PM
Ms. Von Freddi is right, "The CPI is a part of our lives." A restored CPI would be a gift to the community.It's well known that when the Rechlers bought the property restoring it was not remotely in their plans. And let's not forget: The Rechlers own the property. That means something in the USA. Under current zoning, they could demolish all the structures on their property including the CPI and put up something totally undesirable . As long as they restore the look of the CPI and as long as the ...more
By gordie howe (55), hockeytown usa on Aug 11, 10 9:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
You really Hate Wendy's don't you?

The only uses allowed in RWB (which is what CPI is zoned) are:

Resorts (motels/hotels)
Restaurants (NOT fast-food establishments which Wendy's would fall under the category of)
Marinas (and since CPI isn't on the water that won't happen)

They are not allowed any housing units. Why would the Town of Southampton gift them 40 condo units? These condos will further tax the police dept./school district/fire district/ambulance district/etc. ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 11, 10 7:08 PM
http://www.ecode360.com/documents/SO0286/SO0286-330d%20Business%20Dis%20Table%20of%20Use%20Regs.pdf#search=%20rwb
That link lists all legal businesses for various zoning designations under SH Town Code. There are a few you left out for RWB. Restaurant take out is a permitted use as well, hello Pudgie's chicken... lol. Even an agriculture use is permitted and a few others, none likely to be profitable to pursue as you said about the restaurant use.

CPI has already operated as an Inn/motel, ...more
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Aug 12, 10 11:26 AM
1 member liked this comment
Yes, there are a handful of other permitted uses, but I left them out because they're either not commercial or not reasonable options for this site. They certainly aren't allowed condos or anything beyond an accessory apartment.

You would be right about the pre-existing use except the motel/inn use ceased quite some time ago - and if they demolished the building they wouldn't be able to keep pre-existing non-conforming uses.

My point is that the Town does not owe the developers ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 12, 10 1:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
Actually, to be clear, the only permitted commercial use in RWB is a restaurant (not fast food). Motels/Hotels and Marinas are allowed by special exception, which means the Town does nOT have to permit it.

The only thing the Rechlers can LEGALLY do with this property and the other properties they have, without getting special exceptions from the Town is to build a restaurant, and guess what, that's not profitable enough on the CPI property so stop worrying.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 11, 10 7:13 PM
Actually, to be clear, the only permitted commercial use in RWB is a restaurant (not fast food). Motels/Hotels and Marinas are allowed by special exception, which means the Town does nOT have to permit it.

The only thing the Rechlers can LEGALLY do with this property and the other properties they have, without getting special exceptions from the Town is to build a restaurant, and guess what, that's not profitable enough on the CPI property so stop worrying.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 11, 10 7:13 PM
At the August 2nd civic meeting a chart indicating prohibited,permitted and special exception uses was distributed. Both "Restaurant, standard" and "Restaurant, take-out" are listed as permitted (as of right) uses. So, once again, I don't want to wake up some morning and find my memory-filled CPI replaced by a Pudgies
By gordie howe (55), hockeytown usa on Aug 12, 10 6:44 PM
So now you are changing your story because you realize Restaurant Fast Food isn't allowed. A pudgies isn't profitable and honestly, I'd rather have that than 40 freaking condos right on our canal
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 12, 10 11:11 PM
Snarky comments aren't productive. What was very productive was ATH's bringing the compromise to the community. (Even the SHP who beat her up for the Tuckahoe proposal, praised her for this approach.) I attended two of the community meetings and based my opinion on what I saw, heard and read. Everyone who wanted to spoke. Some made more sense than others, but no one was denied a comment or question. Throughout the meetings, I kept thinking: The Rechlers own the property. They have rights. And when ...more
By gordie howe (55), hockeytown usa on Aug 13, 10 10:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'm all for property rights, but they have such limited rights that I'm perplexed as to why the Town would just gift them a PDD with 40 units @ a density of 10 units/acre. That kind of development doesn't happen anywhere in Eastern Suffolk County and there's a reason for that.

The restoration of CPI, while beneficial to the community, will end up costing taxpayers how many millions of dollars when they "fail" to find someone to run CPI and the Town is forced to buy it as per their agreement. ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 14, 10 10:41 AM
The CPI preservation thing is a gift from God for the owners, because it lets them bargain for the Tiderunners deal. They wouldn't have even a shot at that kind of density if weren't for these people who are ready to give away the store just to keep the CPI standing. The CPI's not worth it. It's not even close.
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Aug 16, 10 10:42 AM
Get rid of the CPI. It is an eyesore to the neighborhood along with the house next door and across the street. Put your condos there and leave the canal to ALL the people for their fishing and crabbing. Everyone enjoys Tiderunners in the summer watching the boats go by. Next thing they will pass a bill stopping all boating there. We do not need more condos in the area right now. Lets sell off the new homes we have first.
By LongIslander (43), HAMPTON BAYS on Aug 22, 10 4:18 PM
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