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Dec 10, 2014 11:13 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Resident Circulates Petition Challenging Proposed Canoe Place Inn Project

Dec 10, 2014 12:07 PM

A Shinnecock Hills woman has taken her fight against the proposed Canoe Place Inn redevelopment project in Hampton Bays viral by circulating an online petition against the development—one that tallied roughly 350 signatures in four days.

Hope Sandrow, a vocal opponent of the maritime planned development district, or MPDD, launched the petition on the website change.org on Saturday afternoon and shared it with her fellow opponents, who then broadcast it via email and social media. According to the website, 22 of the first 348 signatures came from people who identified themselves as residents of Hampton Bays, with many others claiming residence in Southampton, Sag Harbor, New York City and various other municipalities, some of them in other states.

“I basically put all the facts together and had a colleague of mine edit the petition before I sent it out,” Ms. Sandrow said Monday morning. “I posted it Saturday afternoon, and by 7 o’clock there were over 50 people who signed on.”

Ms. Sandrow said she would like to see the would-be developers, Gregg and Mitchell Rechler of R Squared LLC Real Estate Partners, turn their property along the east side of the canal into a park, with bike and kayak rentals as well as outdoor cafés, rather than building 37 townhouses, which they are calling for in the MPDD application. If granted the necessary change of zone by the Southampton Town Board, the Rechlers also would renovate the Canoe Place Inn into a functioning inn and catering hall.

In her petition, Ms. Sandrow criticized the proposed plan for encroaching upon wetlands, adding groundwater pollution and robbing the public of access to the canal.

Jim Morgo, a spokesman for the Rechlers, said he is concerned that Ms. Sandrow is spreading misinformation through her petition. “People signed the petition based on false information,” he said. “The narrative on the petition is fraught with one inaccuracy after another inaccuracy, and I really recommend folks go to the [Southampton Town] website, which is about as transparent as any website I’ve ever seen, or talk to the Town Planning Department to get the facts.”

Ms. Sandrow’s petition raised several issues with the Rechlers’ proposal, including that the development would cut off long-standing public access to the Shinnecock Canal. She also maintains that the proposal does not address stormwater runoff into the canal, that the Rechlers have no landscaping plan, and that buildings will be torn down on both sides of the canal. Mr. Morgo contends that all of these points are inaccurate.

According to the final environmental impact statement, or FEIS, which is posted in its entirety on the Southampton Town website, less than half of the canalside property will be landscaped, and 18.3 percent of that parcel of land will have fertilizer-dependent vegetation. A drainage reserve area also will be provided on the canal property to capture and recharge stormwater runoff, according to the document. The FEIS also promises a full and detailed landscape plan upon Town Board approval of the project.

Mr. Morgo said no buildings will be torn down on the Canoe Place Inn property. He also noted that currently there is no public access on the east side of the canal, and previous access was limited to customers of the Tide Runners restaurant. At a public hearing on the MPDD Tuesday night, the Rechlers announced they would be offering a 220-foot floating dock along the canal that would be open to the public.

Ms. Sandrow said she doesn’t consider any of the so-called public benefits offered by the Rechlers—including the floating dock, the renovation of the Canoe Place Inn, an underground protective barrier running along the western side of the canal, an easement of land for a hiking trail, and cash—to be worth the trade-off.

In particular, Ms. Sandrow has spoken out against the proposed restructuring of the Newtown Road and North Road intersections with Montauk Highway. The Rechlers have offered to create T-shaped intersections at both crossroads, removing the current layout, which includes winding entrance ramps separated by large medians. Ms. Sandrow, who said she traverses the area frequently, maintains that the medians provide her a sense of safety and help ease the merging of traffic onto Montauk Highway.

“They don’t understand that it’s dangerous and everybody likes the medians between the turns,” she said. “We need those medians, we need those buffer zones to give us protection as we’re turning on and off Montauk Highway.”

Suffolk County Department of Public Works Commissioner Gil Anderson said his staff has been looking at those intersections for the past couple of years, and though they are not on his department’s official schedule of projects, he expects they would have been changed to “T” intersections within the next five years.

“The more complex the intersection, the more a driver has to look around to see all the traffic movements,” Mr. Anderson said. “By bringing it to one intersection, it makes it easy to see the traffic from both directions. Simplifying the intersection makes it easier and safer to traverse.”

Mr. Anderson said often when a development is constructed and causes an increase in traffic flow, the developer must pay an impact fee to help cover the cost of upgrading the roads, meaning the Rechlers might have been required to pay the cost of restructuring the intersections anyway. However, the traffic study conducted by engineering firm Nelson and Pope that was included in the FEIS projects a decrease in traffic on the canal property compared to the previous uses, which included two restaurants, a bait and tackle shop, and a private residence.

Mr. Morgo said the Rechlers were not required to pay for the improvements but rather are doing so electively.

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Vox populi!
By Frank Wheeler (1814), Northampton on Dec 14, 14 11:24 AM

Water quality under the proposal would be a vast improvement over water quality conditions created by way of building under current zoning.
God forbid, however, that facts and science should trouble the petition's fear-mongering spread of misinformation...
By PQ1 (167), hampton bays on Dec 14, 14 9:22 PM
Kayak rentals ? I would hate to see how many deaths would result in the lunching of Kayaks into that current. How would you paddle against It ?

There is so much land further down toward the beach if you really want to build a Gosmans type destination as many have stated, than go for it.

I would imagine once that possibility became a serious proposition, It would just set off the next wave of panic and we would see the next petition.
By Undocumented Democrat (1939), southampton on Dec 15, 14 1:37 AM
3 members liked this comment
Someone correct me if I am wrong but it seems to me that the original proposal was to develop the CPI land into a world class town house property. worth approx. one million a piece.

This would have been great for HB in both getting rid of the no land mark status rat infested condemned building and giving us both a tax boost, landscaping and road improvements as well as a catering facility that was also part of the original plan.

Bot then the "no more density no progress" keep ...more
By Undocumented Democrat (1939), southampton on Dec 15, 14 1:16 AM
The I dont want anything new people in this Town, delayed me by 3 years from building the TD Bank on Montauk & Tiana.

I wonder what they have to say now that the derelict buildings are gone and a state of art banking center fits right in and gives the people banking convenience right in town, when they need it.
By Summer Resident (233), Southampton N.Y. on Dec 15, 14 1:53 AM
We have a BNB locally in each hamlet, and those of us who bank locally really don't need a clearinghouse like TD. But, to each their own.
By Mr. Z (11376), North Sea on Dec 15, 14 10:18 AM
I live a few blocks away and i say thank you
By Erin 27 E (1211), southampton on Dec 15, 14 8:23 PM
Stop throwing obstacles and barricades at the Rechlers, They are responsible developers and reasonable people that are trying to bring commerce to a town that needs it. They are family people just like most of us and have the same passion for the east end that many of us do.

Roll Out the Red Carpet and work with them.
By Summer Resident (233), Southampton N.Y. on Dec 15, 14 1:59 AM
You want to know how this is going to turn out? Google Rechlers and Lawsuits. From a PR standpoint, I'm thinking a "Summer Resident'' lecturing locals on how benevolent the largest commercial developer on Long Island is, might not go over well.
By Molly64 (15), Southampton on Dec 15, 14 6:36 AM
1 member liked this comment
I have as much love for the east end as any local, but still have the respect to know I am a guest in your town. That is the well brought up quality of me. Nevertheless, I have my opinion and red carpet should be rolled out when right in being done.
By Summer Resident (233), Southampton N.Y. on Dec 17, 14 2:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
"Right" is a relative term.
By Mr. Z (11376), North Sea on Dec 17, 14 3:56 AM
Hope and the other negative armchair terrorists should move to Flanders. It's a nice and quiet community. I "hope" she understands that this project will be good for Hamptons Bays int he long run.

I recall a vocal opponent of the McDonalds in Hamptons Bays, Maryjean G. Her and her croanies fought them and the Town for years for any and every reason they could make up. Well, after it was built, guess who I saw ordering food one day - that's right, MJG! Her comment, "well, my grandkids ...more
By whatapity (106), Tuckahoe on Dec 15, 14 9:17 AM
Why don't you check out the Westhampton Airport to see how the Rechler's turned a dump into a beautiful Industrial park. Both sites that are being developed in Hampton Bays are complete dumps, and will help Hampton Bays move in the right direction. Hampton Bays now has funding for a new park in the center of town, and a whole host of other things on the drawing board. What's the alternative Molly?
You're the one that doesn't like high school taxes. This is a way to get a bigger tax base ...more
By chief1 (2725), southampton on Dec 15, 14 9:31 AM
They knew the zoning going in, and now they want to change it to suit their vision, instead of building as of right.

So much for canal side dining. It was nice while we knew ye...
By Mr. Z (11376), North Sea on Dec 15, 14 10:22 AM
Remember what the Rechler's purchased. They purchased two restaurants with substandard septic systems leaching into the canal. They are proposing a sewage treatment plant that will treat the waste until it's safe. They also have runoff from the parking lot emptying into the canal, which will also be corrected. Not to mention the aesthetics of having shingle styled Hampton structures built. This is a great use for the area. Do you think it looks nice now?
By chief1 (2725), southampton on Dec 16, 14 9:29 AM
2 members liked this comment
Envy is an ugly emotion
By They call me (2696), southampton on Dec 16, 14 10:18 AM
Yes, I remember what they purchased. Two restaurants. Commercial waterfront properties which pay high taxes and don't add kids to the school system at 30K each a year. So remind me again how many residential units they want to build and if every other unit puts 2 kids in school will the tax bill be $30,000.00 per unit to cover the cost? Of course not. They bought waterfront resort property, they can develop it as waterfront resort property. Unless of course they also bought some votes in SH Town ...more
By bird (785), Southampton on Dec 16, 14 10:43 AM
2 members liked this comment
Your guess? Do you have anything to substantiate your statement that "money has passes under the table"?
By bb (884), Hampton Bays on Dec 16, 14 11:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
They can still put in that advanced septic system. It can service the two restaurants they have the right to build as the property is zoned for and was such at the time of purchase. They also bought a hotel/night club. That is what they can build as of right. Maybe we could even extend the purpose of a PDD, that way we can all operate a B&B in our homes.

Caveat emptur. Don't like what you can build as of right? Sell it to someone who is willing. Don't let the door hit you in the ...more
Dec 17, 14 3:01 AM appended by Mr. Z
And, I must say I miss the concerts that used to be there. Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, even Todd Rundgren. That is something Hampton Bays lacks these days...
By Mr. Z (11376), North Sea on Dec 17, 14 3:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
There are quite a few things they CAN do...doesn't mean they will. After waiting this amount of time because they listened to the community in the first place I am sure that they will build what they can as quickly as they can. Who could blame them.
By bb (884), Hampton Bays on Dec 18, 14 1:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
I think the word "guess" sums it up dosen't it. Call it an educated guess. We will find out soon enough.
By bird (785), Southampton on Dec 18, 14 8:43 PM
Glad to see that there people with logic defending the project...!
By surfmat (15), Southampton on Dec 15, 14 6:59 PM
Isn't it it a bit ironic that all the progressive types don't want to see any progress
By 27dan (2711), Shinnecock Hills on Dec 16, 14 1:00 PM
3 members liked this comment
Why didn't any of these big mouth opponents of the plan chip in, and buy the property when it was for sale for two years? No they only talk about doing the right thing at someone else's expense. The two restaurants had hundreds of cars a day in, and out of the property. The condo's are a much less intense use then the prior restaurants.
By chief1 (2725), southampton on Dec 16, 14 4:32 PM
4 members liked this comment
Regarding access to the waterfront. If I have read the Dongan Patent correctly, the residents and freeholders of the Town of Southampton have the right to "pass and re-pass" along any and all shore lines in the Town. If this project is allowed to move forward, we will have the right to access the entire eastern side of the canal condos or not.
By bigfresh (4384), north sea on Dec 17, 14 8:30 AM
to chief1:

Nobody bought the property because zoning restrictions made turning a profit on it problematical. The Rechlers, however, saw the opportunity for a big payday if they could just get rid of those pesky restrictions (as they have succeeded in doing in their Gabreski Airport development.) The problem with that plan is that the restrictions that they sought/seek to overturn were not capriciously mandated. The height restrictions at Gabreski were meant (among other things) to prevent ...more
By highhatsize (4038), East Quogue on Dec 17, 14 9:14 AM
2 members liked this comment
They are the only people who thought to "get rid of those pesky restrictions"? The town was in an uproar when the last owner wanted to building a strip of shops/restaurants etc. You know, what they are supposedly clamoring for now.

While they were aware of the zoning when they purchased they were also aware of the PDD process. Why was it created if not to offer options when zoning is too restrictive or creates another problem.

They knew about the zoning. The Town Board ...more
By bb (884), Hampton Bays on Jan 9, 15 11:25 AM
Stop counting people's money it's risk, reward capitalism. Move to Russia!
By chief1 (2725), southampton on Dec 17, 14 11:50 AM
They took their risk buying, and knowing what it was zoned for.

It has nothing to do with the ridiculous polemics you post.
Dec 17, 14 5:37 PM appended by Mr. Z
A concert hall would probably bring new bands, and many of the ones who once did frequent CPI. That would be an attraction, and stimulate local business, wouldn't it?
By Mr. Z (11376), North Sea on Dec 17, 14 5:37 PM
Whats with you anyway ? Have you ever met a building project you like?

Hampton Bays is already getting an amphitheater in the new Good Ground park how many "concert halls do you need in one town?

And the canal has been in a state of dis repair for 50 years, were has all this interest been for a Gosman's dock before. Please, its all an excuse to try and stop something nice from being built.

I have said it before... there is a small crowd in Hampton bays who want It to ...more
By joe hampton (3353), southampton on Dec 17, 14 7:58 PM
3 members liked this comment
Can't use an amphitheater in the winter, now can you? Kind of makes it useless at least five or six months of the year.

It's not about what projects I "like" or not. It's another property formerly open to the general public being sold into private hands. Look what what had to be done just to get contiguous hiking trails in the town. They bought property, knew the risks going in, and refuse to play by the rules. Sorry, but condos on the canal is just density we don't need, and I'm sure ...more
By Mr. Z (11376), North Sea on Dec 18, 14 12:54 AM
do some research on the system you will find out its state of the art and virtually invisible
By joe hampton (3353), southampton on Dec 18, 14 8:33 AM
1 member liked this comment
Doesn't matter. People will see a sewage treatment plant, and social convention doesn't change overnight.
By Mr. Z (11376), North Sea on Dec 18, 14 9:07 AM
He just said you wont see it !

go sell your activist fear at ecco farm and leave us alone you dont even live in this town.

You have said one of your jobs is a garbage man

so you more then anyone should see the benifits of this Nitrex groundwater de nitrification system.
By 27dan (2711), Shinnecock Hills on Dec 18, 14 9:59 AM
2 members liked this comment
I was born in this town. I've seen rent seekers end family farms. I've seen people plow incredibly ostentatious projects through planning. I've seen a small community turned into an overdeveloped, oversexed, overpopulated, patchwork quilt o' development.

I've never said anything negative about Lombardo, or the process which took a decade to come up with. That foolish assumption is your delusion.

If you don't mind the treatment plant, move in next to it, and trade your home ...more
Dec 20, 14 1:31 AM appended by Mr. Z
BTW, the Nitrex covers denitrification. What will be used to service the detritus?
By Mr. Z (11376), North Sea on Dec 20, 14 1:31 AM
Why? He didn't buy a piece of residential property next to a piece of commercially zoned property. The people there did. Now that someone wants to exercise their right to build on it they are unhappy. They assumed no one would build and they were wrong. Someone will build there one way or the other. Why is it now the towns peoples fault that neighbors "think" there will be a problem. They bought the property knowing it was commercial. Are they really going to be pleased when an all night ...more
By bb (884), Hampton Bays on Dec 21, 14 8:08 AM
1 member liked this comment
One day, hopefully in the not too distant future, benign little wastewater treatment facilities will be here and there and everywhere, each one understood to be a normal, environmental necessity.
In the meantime, the usual upset: "If at first an idea isn't considered absurd, then there is no hope for it." Albert Einstein.
By PQ1 (167), hampton bays on Dec 21, 14 1:04 PM
1 member liked this comment
Just let them build! We are tired of looking at the run down, vacant buildings! Anything us better than what it is now!
By SO (1), on Dec 18, 14 6:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
There is nothing stopping them from building. They can submit a site plan tomorrow that conforms to current zoning and get started,
By bird (785), Southampton on Dec 18, 14 8:52 PM
We need a Town Indoor pool!
By Infoseeker (275), Hampton Bays on Dec 19, 14 7:23 AM
8k run & 3 mile walk, Agawam Park, Southampton Rotary Club fundraiser