A Lesson Here
Clustering gained favor as a land planning device after early resistance in the 1970s. The idea of preserving open space by grouping approved subdivision units on a smaller footprint, usually closer to roadways or other infrastructure, was appealing for efficiency reasons, as well as aesthetics. Initial fears that the smaller lots would lead to lesser-valued homes and community burdens didn’t prove out, as housing prices on the East End took off.
However, even a sensible approach to development approvals can have unintended consequences. An example is the current build-out on Edge of Woods Road, east of Seven Ponds-Towd Road. What had been a pastoral stretch enjoyed by neighbors and many passersby is now blighted by a hodgepodge of McMansions built unusually close to the road in order to preserve interior areas of the 40-some-acre property. That interior will be of primary betterment to the new homeowners surrounding it.
Overall, density objectives are achieved — but at a cost on the periphery, where it affects everyone else.
There may be lessons here for future Southampton Town planning boards.
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