The members of the East Hampton Town Planning Board at last week’s meeting continued to shower praise on plans for a new bowling alley, miniature golf course and sports bar at the East Hampton Indoor Tennis complex after a first viewing of the formal application.
Every board member expressed support for the project as a whole, with only a scant few questions or suggestions raised by board members regarding hours of operation and septic systems.
Acknowledgment by the owner and his representatives that there would be marked increases in traffic in the afternoons and evenings was seen as largely inconsequential because of the facility’s location on remote and lightly-trafficked Daniels Hole Road.
Planning Board member Kathleen Cunningham noted that the road can get somewhat busy in the mornings, when the EHIT tennis camp is session. But project architect David Weaver and owner Scott Rubenstein noted that the new facilities would be more likely to see the majority of their business in the afternoons and evenings, except on rainy summer days, when the tennis club would be less busy.
“Any traffic we may generate is coming out in the quietest place in town,” Mr. Weaver noted.
Mr. Rubenstein said that the camp would also be reducing its camp enrollment from 290 to just 100 once the new facilities are opened.
In response to another question, he said that the miniature golf course would, indeed, be lighted at night and that the sports bar and bowling alley may remain open until after midnight on some nights, but that he did not expect it to be a late-night draw. Again, board members and developers said they thought the facility’s operation would be of little consequence because of its remote location.
The plans call for a new building to be constructed alongside the existing covered tennis bubble and building. The sports bar area would have a restaurant with about 60 seats, a bar with about 30 stools, a second outdoor bar of about the same size and an arcade. Adjacent the new building, the miniature golf course and a new parking lot with about 100 spaces would replace existing soccer and softball fields. A new tennis bubble would be built over four of the 20 existing outdoor tennis courts.
Mr. Rubenstein has estimated the project will cost between $6 million and $7 million to complete and could be open for operation by the summer of 2017 if no major hurdles are met.
Board member Nancy Keeshan asked if there was a way to “over-engineer” the septic system in light of the fact that the facility lies within a groundwater recharge overlay district, a zoning designation intended to limit development so as to reduce the potential amounts of waste-borne nutrients released into the ground.
“I understand it meets the Suffolk County standards, but they are not the gold standard,” she said, nodding to the county’s much-criticized low standards for wastewater control.
Board member Kathleen Cunningham echoed Ms. Keeshan, noting that the board couldn’t demand a state-of-the-art septic system for the facility that could reduce nutrient releases, but “I’m just saying, please think about it,” she said.
Mr. Weaver said that the existing facilities and the plans for the expansion are both designed according to calculations accounting for the entire facility being at capacity use all day, every day—a circumstance that is not currently and would not ever be the case.
“It’s over-designed already,” he said.
Board members seemed disinclined to press for any further upgrades or analysis of the potential traffic flows. “You’ve done a good job,” said board member Diane Weir, who lives in Wainscott. She seemed to echo the sentiments of other board members. “I’m good,” she said.
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