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Mar 16, 2011 10:24 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Developers Submit New Canoe Place Inn Application

Mar 16, 2011 10:24 AM

After years of speculation about its fate, it appears that the Canoe Place Inn in Hampton Bays may be preserved after all.

The developers who own the property—cousins Gregg and Mitchell Rechler of R Squared LLC in Melville—and who at one time had threatened to tear down the inn, submitted a revised application last week to the Southampton Town Board for a planned development district, or PDD. As part of that plan, they would restore the historic inn in exchange for permission to build 40 townhouses on land they also own on the eastern side of the Shinnecock Canal, almost directly across from the Canoe Place Inn property.

The cousins’ latest proposal, submitted on March 8, marks their second PDD application for the property, and centers around saving the inn—a vastly different concept from what was original conceived for the property.

The project has a lengthy history.

The Rechlers had submitted a similar application in 2007 to raze the inn and build 75 condominiums in its place. The plan inspired community outrage over the possible demolition of the inn, a structure that hamlet residents claim is the most historically significant building in Hampton Bays, if not in all of Southampton Town, even though it has never been recognized as an official landmark.

A series of building moratoriums—which prohibited any development in Hampton Bays—put the original PDD project on hold and eventually opened a dialogue between the developers and the community about the possible restoration of the structure. It also spurred the developers to file a lawsuit in 2008 against the town, which claimed that the moratorium interfered with their ability to use the property at their own discretion.

Things came to a head this past fall, when the cousins submitted an application for a demolition permit for the inn. That application was deemed incomplete in November, according to Clare Vail, the town’s principal planner for the property. Gregg Rechler said in a previous interview that he was pursing both the demolition of the building and the PDD process simultaneously.

In order to preserve the inn, the Rechlers must secure approval for the PDD from the Town Board. A PDD is a zoning tool that allows developers to circumvent the current zoning of a property in exchange for some form of public benefit. The cousins aim to use the special zoning to gain approval to build the townhouses on the eastern side of the canal—where restaurants North 1 Steakhouse and Tide Runners currently stand—in exchange for restoring the inn, constructing a walkway along the canal and purchasing an undetermined amount of open space.

The 60-page application states that the developers agreed to restore both the interior and exterior of the 88-year-old structure, transforming it into a catering hall. If the PDD is granted, the cousins would also drop the lawsuit regarding the building moratorium, according to the document.

The Rechlers’ say in their application that they plan to hire a private catering company to run a banquet hall in the renovated Canoe Place Inn. It was not immediately clear who would be contracted to run the facility.

“We wholeheartedly believe that our plans for these two properties are going to result in improved quality of life for Hampton Bays and be aesthetically pleasing,” wrote the cousins in a letter included in the application.

According to Jennifer Garvey, a spokeswoman for Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, the next step in the PDD application process is for the Rechlers to attend a pre-submission work session on Friday, April 8, with the Town Board. At the meeting, the cousins will explain their plans in detail.

“The planning staff has to review the replications, it’s a typical review,” Ms. Garvey said, adding that the progress of the application depends solely on the feedback the developers receive during next month’s work session.

The Rechlers have filed the application in the midst of the supervisor’s efforts to amend the legislation governing all PDD applications. According to Ms. Garvey, another public hearing will be held on those proposed law revisions—which aim to more clearly define criteria for projects that can be considered for PDDs—on Tuesday, March 22. She said she could not speculate as to whether the Town Board would vote on the amended law on that day.

“They’ve been making very small changes at this point,” Ms. Garvey said. “I think it’s getting closer.”

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Oh thank you so much for your not greedy offer.

Give us a break!
By PBR (4883), Southampton on Mar 15, 11 7:52 PM
Speaking of greedy? I noticed Hampton Bays Patch has become much more popular since the Press started demanding premium membership to make more than 2 comments a day. Mr editor you cant give people something for 2 years and then take it back. You have to change with the times. This new policy seems desperate and I am concerned this will backfire on the press.
By 27dan (2520), Southampton on Mar 16, 11 2:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
Then stop posting here in protest.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Mar 16, 11 2:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
SO, exactly how many young families starting out will be able to afford one of these condominums?

Yeah, I know, stupid question...
By Mr. Z (10697), North Sea on Mar 15, 11 8:50 PM
Abolish the PDD - since its inception only ONE pdd application has been denied at that was because of a toxic plume in Speonk!
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Mar 16, 11 9:49 AM
The PDD concept is a good planning tool for the Town -- the problem lies in its implementation. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water -- just make sure the public receives something its wants or needs and don't allow developers to dangle unsubstantive carrots before uncritical eyes. The Canoe Place PDD appears to be getting better but there is still a lot of wiggle room on both sides.
By Doug Penny (62), Lexington, Virginia on Mar 16, 11 10:01 AM
2 members liked this comment
Tear that piece of crap down.... Whats the matter Z the illegals wont be able to exploit 100 million dollar time share units. Just go take a look at the Hampton Bays classes k though 4 if you want to see how many young Spanish families starting out are living 3 and 4 families to a home in Hampton Bays. The people of Hampton Bays are not going to take it anymore. These town inspectors cruse around all day looking for violations bordering on ridiculous while they turn a blind eye to the real problem. ...more
By joe hampton (3227), south hampton on Mar 16, 11 11:39 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well, since illegal is not a race, and I want them GONE just as much as any hard working American, maybe we should form a group to pull an "Andy DuFresne".

Call, write, and simply badger the INS so severly, that they actually come out here, and DO SOMETHING about the problem.

And for reference, the Rechler's are the ones doing the exploiting.
By Mr. Z (10697), North Sea on Mar 16, 11 7:55 PM
Lower the federal tax by getting this bum out of office and raise the property taxes then enforce 1 family zoning. then we may get our community back. I have no problem with who lives next door to me as long as they are not taking advantage of the system like some of these people obviously are.
By joe hampton (3227), south hampton on Mar 16, 11 11:39 AM
1 member liked this comment
Why would anyone allow 40 condos to be built on the edge of the canal? Thats a lot of people. these people need to flush toilets, wash laundry, have their beautiful grounds maintained with fertilizers.
This is all on the edge of the canal?
This is going to bring an improved quality of life?
This is an environmental disaster in the making. This town board is contributing to the destruction of our quality of life. Allowing bigger and bigger projects to be built on smaller and smaller ...more
By ADAMSG (53), EAST QUOGUE on Mar 16, 11 1:32 PM
If you are so worried about a few toilets that will be going into a high tech system. How come you are not concerned with Jackson and Spellmans washing tons of soap oil and bottom paint directly into the water every year. Who do they pay off to continue this pollution on such a grand and irresponsible way. Oh I know thats ok because its for the fisherman and not the rich.... Right?
By They call me (2514), southampton on Mar 16, 11 2:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
If someone was putting in an application for building a new marina, I would not be happy either. This article is not about existing marinas and what they are doing to our waterways.
By ADAMSG (53), EAST QUOGUE on Mar 16, 11 2:28 PM
go ahead tell me why Jacsons and Spellmans can do what they do and A.T.H. and code enforcement turn a blind eye. ? Its BS class warfare at its best.
By They call me (2514), southampton on Mar 16, 11 2:06 PM
If I had my choice, I'd much rather keep Tiderunners than CPI. Its a dump, it sits on incredibly valuable and wasted land, and lest we forget, its not even the original building. How historic can it possibly be?
By ex-pat (49), East Quogue on Mar 16, 11 3:55 PM
The owners have said that one way or the other the buildings on the east side of the property will be taken down. The Inn is older than Tiderunners, is that historic?
By bb (826), Hampton Bays on Mar 16, 11 7:53 PM
Too bad for the Rechlers that an RPDD (residential PDD - multi-family) would be in direct contravention of Section 330-246 (RPDD) of Southampton Town Code.

Specifically 330-246.7 which states it must be within 1/2 mile of a hamlet center or village center. The proposal is well over 1 mile from the Hampton Bays hamlet/village center.

Additionally, Section 33-246.1.a states: No RPDD shall be located within the Tidal Floodplain and Ocean Beach Overlay District.

Not surprisingly, ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Mar 18, 11 4:24 PM
The PDD law should be repealed. The existing zoning.should remain in place on both the CPI site and the Tide Runners site. The public benefits more from waterfront restaurants than it does from the increased density resulting from 40 condos. The Tuckahoe PDD was rejected now let's see it the Town Board has the courage to reject a PDD located in Hampton Bays.
By E.Trillo (78), Hampton Bays on Mar 26, 11 11:26 PM
Have the owners said they'd build a restaurant on the east side of the canal ?
By bb (826), Hampton Bays on Mar 27, 11 10:06 PM
Tourism, local  shopping, dining, Hamptons