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Mar 1, 2016 10:24 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Estates At Remsenburg Site Plan Deemed Complete After Many Years

Mar 1, 2016 2:52 PM

After five years of back-and-forth between the property owner and the community, the Southampton Town Planning Board has accepted the application for the Estates at Remsenburg as complete.

The designation means there will be no more changes made to the proposal—which has gone through at least eight iterations since it was first discussed in 2011. The application will have one more public hearing later this month and, if the proposal is approved by the Planning Board, the developer could break ground on the project as early as May.

The property owner, Lawrence Citarelli, is looking to create a 19-lot subdivision on 22.9 acres, with entrances to the subdivision on South Country Road and Nidzyn Avenue. He would also leave roughly 6 acres undeveloped as “open space.”

“They are pretty much done now, so this is a good step,” Mr. Citarelli said this week of the review by the Planning Board. “Basically, what happens over the course of the project is, we submitted I can’t even tell you how many proposals, but ultimately we came across a plan that worked well for us and for the entire community and for the Planning Board.”

The development would sit on 23 acres zoned for 1-acre residential lots between South Country Road, Nidzyn Avenue and Matthews Drive, with one new road and a cul-de-sac being added.

The application has been the source of contention in the Remsenburg community since it was first proposed, with many residents preferring that the main entrance be on South Country Road, several wanting it on Nidzyn Avenue, and some wanting entrances on both. Many in the community also want the land not to be developed, but purchased by the town using the Community Preservation Fund instead.

In late 2012, the Planning Board adopted a pre-application report mandating that the subdivision have both entrances. The new entrances will be connected using a new road called Emma’s Path. The updated proposal also calls for four flag lots instead of the two previously proposed by Mr. Citarelli, who purchased the land in 2010 for $2.4 million.

The completed application features 19 buildable lots, ranging in size from about half an acre to just shy of an acre. The homes will be surrounded by open space, offering a buffer between the new development and neighbors. According to Mr. Citarelli, the open space includes trees, which will preserve the current landscapes on Nidzyn Avenue and South Country Road, making it so people will not see the new houses.

The property also has two existing buildings off South Country Road. Mr. Citarelli said this week that once the approvals are in place, the buildings—a house and barn—will be inspected to determine their condition, and they will either be renovated or razed. If they must be demolished, both structures will be replaced with ones that look much the same, he added.

This week, Planning Board Chairman Dennis Finnerty explained that the project is in the home stretch, with most of the details—including traffic studies and environmental impacts—already hammered out during the pre-application phase. For that reason, Mr. Finnerty said, he expects the application to be approved, unless substantial new information is presented to the Planning Board.

The final hearing on the proposal is currently scheduled for Thursday, March 24, at 6 p.m. in the Southampton Town Board meeting room. Assuming the hearing is closed at that meeting—both Mr. Citarelli and Mr. Finnerty expect it will be—the board will have 60 days to make a final decision on the application. If he receives final approvals, Mr. Citarelli said, he plans to break ground in May, or June at the latest.

“It is a pretty regular timeline, unless there is significant new information,” Mr. Finnerty said this week.

Sally Pope of Remsenburg, who has been critical of the development for years, said the property should be sold to the town for preservation.

“I was talking with someone recently and we still think it is an ideal spot for CPF purchase,” said Ms. Pope, a former town councilwoman. “We would appreciate the owner speaking to the fund about having it purchased and preserved. We did a very big application to CPF, talking about how valuable the property was and how useful it would be for trails and community gardens.”

However, Mr. Citarelli said this week that he is moving forward with his subdivision, adding that, for the most part, public outcry against the project has moved on, and that he has worked to accommodate concerns.

He also noted that he has already sold seven of the lots. The first phase of development, he said, will be cutting the new road and renovating one of the buildings already on the property. From there, engineers will work with the six other lot owners to finalize the design of their homes and break ground. Mr. Citarelli anticipates having those seven homes at least under construction within the next year, with some of them completed during that time.

Mr. Citarelli added that he anticipates that the rest of the lots will sell quickly once the new road is installed, because potential buyers will be able to see where they are investing.

“Here we are, seven years later, and the market is even better for us—it has been a blessing,” Mr. Citarelli said. “We are making lemonade out of lemons with the time delay.”

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Development is desperately needed in the Eastport area to help alleviate the tax burden of the ESM School District!
By Mouthampton (409), Southampton on Mar 1, 16 12:07 PM