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Jul 9, 2019 5:06 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

New East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery Designs Unveiled, But Doubts Remain

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Jul 9, 2019 5:24 PM

Councilman David Lys this week unveiled preliminary designs for a planned new town shellfish hatchery facility on Gann Road in Springs that shows a low-slung building sunk below surrounding terrain, with a bifurcated, vegetated roof intended to make the structure essentially invisible from nearby homes.

Pitching the project as a boon for the town’s currently scattered shellfish growing operations, Mr. Lys said the town hopes to pay for some 90 percent of the $2.6 million project with state grant funding. The town has already received a $400,000 grant from the state for improving its hatchery operations, which it has earmarked for planning and design work.

Mr. Lys told board members the hatchery building would have solar panels and an advanced nitrogen-reducing septic system, and a roofline cloaked in evergreen plantings.

“You would just see a meadow, going out to the water,” he said. “So you wouldn’t see the structure there.”

There would be only a small parking lot for three cars on the hatchery property itself, with the rest of the daily use parking in the adjacent town-owned lot at the end of Gann Road.

The project is still technically in the conceptual phase and has not been given an official green light by the Town Board, even though the town purchased the 1.1-acre lot at the corner of Babes Lane and Gann Road for $2.1 million last year with the stated intention of moving the hatchery facility there.

Mr. Lys said the design sketches and proposed layout will be presented to the Town Planning Board next month.

Along with the 5,000-square-foot new hatchery building, the proposal would also create an environmental learning center out of a 2,500-square-foot house that was on the property when the town purchased it. The new development would also be paired with a covey of new stormwater runoff abatement projects that are already planned—and funded by another state grant—for the waterfront end of Gann Road to reduce nitrogen loading into Three Mile Harbor.

Support on the board for the project has not been unanimous and this week Councilman Jeff Bragman continued to criticize the pace with which the project is being pushed forward—with eyes on grant funding deadlines, he said.

He noted that Mr. Lys has already had an architects model and design plans for the building drawn up even though the town has not yet approved hiring an architect to do detailed designs. He also said that he does not think officials have scaled the facility appropriately, according to their minimum needs.

“I’m concerned with a lot of things,” Mr. Bragman said on Tuesday. “This is a lot for a small town. This is going to be 7,500 square feet of buildings, on a 1.2-acre property, in a residential neighborhood.

“I’ve never seen the rationale for the 5,000-square-foot number on this building,” he added. “In a small town like East Hampton, we should do the very most we can with the very least we need. I’m not convinced we need a 5,000-square-foot building.”

Area resident Ira Barocas said that an event hosted at Gann Road last week for the hatchery caused parking issues. He asked that the town be careful in its planning for the uses of the new property and conduct appropriate studies of traffic patterns in the vicinity.

Hatchery director John “Barley” Dunne said that the hatchery hosts gatherings of its community oyster garden participants—about 30 in all—once a month on Saturday mornings for two hours. But otherwise the hatchery does not draw more than a handful of vehicles used by staff.

Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said the town plans to make more parking available in the existing town lot by clearing out abandoned fishing gear stockpiled in the lot.

The board plans to discuss the hatchery project again at next week’s work session.

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Thank you to Barley and his team for their important work : )
By Aeshtron (323), Southampton on Jul 10, 19 3:44 PM
And thank you whoever you are!!
By Barley Dunne (20), Southampton on Jul 12, 19 12:24 PM
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