The East Hampton Town Board last week approved a resolution to allow two affordable apartments per building in residential-commercial limited business overlay districts along Montauk Highway and North Main Street, following the second of two public hearings on the issue.
In August, the Town Board received positive feedback on the first draft of a new law that would have allowed one apartment per building in a LBO zone, and would apply only to developed properties that already exist. With no public feedback this time around, the board on Thursday, October 2, approved an amended version of the resolution to allow two apartments in LBO zones with low-impact commercial uses, like art galleries, offices and antiques stores.
Town Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, who sponsored the change, said there are 34 properties in LBO zones throughout the town, and 22 of them currently have a commercial use within them.
Tom Ruhle, the town’s director of housing and community development, said it is likely the tenants who fill the affordable units would have to pay approximately $1,300 to $1,400 per month, and would be required to live there year-round.
Ms. Overby said on Monday that there is still a need for affordable housing, especially for young adults who want to work and live in the community.
“If we have the opportunity where we can have two affordable apartments, then let’s take that opportunity if the public agrees,” she said, noting there was no opposition. “This is helpful to get workers and young people who are coming back into the community to become volunteer firemen or teach school. This could be their first step to home ownership.”
The Town Board also passed a resolution Thursday that puts a 2,000-square-foot gross floor area limit on LBO-zoned buildings that may be used for commercial uses.
When this legislation was updated in 2006, the intent was to limit new construction for an LBO use to 2,000 square feet, but it did not address pre-existing commercial structures that may be converted to another commercial use. When preexisting commercial structures were converted to other commercial uses before this new amendment, they were allowed to expand, with no size limit.
The 2,000-square-foot limit is meant to curb a possible increase in traffic in the LBO zone and to protect nearby residences from an influx of commerce.
One fine body…