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Nov 19, 2015 11:49 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Deck Owner Proposes Houses For Montauk Motel Property

The East Deck Motel's owners have proposed tearing it down and building four homes on the Ditch Plains oceanfront.
Nov 24, 2015 9:40 AM

Representatives of the owner of the East Deck Motel in the Ditch Plains neighborhood of Montauk have proposed razing the motel and replacing it with four oceanfront homes—a plan that has won initial support from the same community groups that mounted fierce opposition to previous designs for a private beach club at the property.

The owner, a limited liability company reportedly anchored by wealthy entrepreneur J. Darius Bikoff, has applied to the Town Board for a zone change for the 4.2-acre property from its current “resort” zoning designation to the same single-family residential zoning as most of the surrounding neighborhood. An application to subdivide the property was filed with the Planning Board and representatives said an application to the Zoning Board of Appeals will be forthcoming.

Len Ackerman, an attorney for Montauk Colony LLC, which is listed as the property owner in the application, said that the current owner’s plan would be to sell the lots undeveloped and let the new individual owners handle the actual design and construction plans. The property was last sold in 2013, to a group called ED40 LLC, for $14 million.

Last year the property was the subject of an application to replace the motel with a sprawling private club—with pool, restaurant, spa and exercise facilities, gate house and 64 parking spaces—sparking outrage from residents who said the scale of the plans would be devastating to the quiet neighborhood. After months of petitions and boisterous criticism of Mr. Bikoff, who has a trailer in the Montauk Shores mobile home park adjacent to East Deck, the proposal was withdrawn and the entire property was listed for sale again last spring with an asking price of $25 million.

Town planning specialist Eric Schantz told Planning Board members last Wednesday that the four lots would each be developable by houses of up to 5,000 square feet.

The preliminary subdivision sketches show two of the four houses having 20-foot setbacks from Deforest Road, while the other two would be 40 feet from the roadway. All four would be more than the required 150-foot minimum setback from the ocean bluffs. Portions of the existing 28-unit motel building to be torn down extend well into that buffer zone.

The Zoning Board application would ask for relief from minimum width requirements for building lots of 110 feet, on three of the lots, which would be about 90 feet wide.

Mr. Schantz noted that the four-house proposal would be a “substantial positive” in light of the differences in traffic volume, aesthetics and expected septic flow between the existing hotel or proposed club and the four houses.

Representatives of some of the organizations that had led the opposition offered conditional support to the new plan to the Planning Board.

“While we believe that the best use of this property is for it to be preserved … we know that is not going to happen,” said Laura Michaels, president of the Ditch Plains Association. “We think low density residential development is the second best thing.”

Ms. Michaels asked for covenants on the property limiting the maximum size of any of the houses to 4,000 square feet and barring the construction of any hardened protective structures along the waterfront of the properties.

Others applauded the owners for having reached out to the community groups in the wake of the brouhaha over the club proposal.

“The owners of the property reached out and … said ‘okay, what else can we do with the property that the community would look upon more favorably,” said Jeremy Samuelson of the Concerned Citizens of Montauk. “In my line of work, that’s not a question we get asked a lot.”

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Yes, ok, better than before.....BUT who owns the beach in front??? If the owner does the public can be denied. That has to be solved first.
By H2O (85), easthampton on Nov 19, 15 12:02 PM
Technically, the property owner owns the beach front HOWEVER, the public has access up to the "mean high water line". Check out the story of the Georgica homeowner who tried to put a fence up couple years back. Didn't go too well for her...
By aging hipster (201), Southampton on Nov 20, 15 6:40 AM
There is no beach, it's all rocks... The beach, what's left of one, is to the west of this property.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Nov 19, 15 12:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
"Some rich men came and raped the land,
Nobody caught 'em
Put up a bunch of ugly boxes, and Jesus,
people bought 'em"

~ Don Henley, Glenn Lewis Frey
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Nov 20, 15 12:25 AM
One big long ugly box was already built on the property... they will be replacing it four, prettier boxes. You get to own a house in the Hamptons, but no one new is allowed in?
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Nov 20, 15 9:56 AM
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