At the May and June trustee meetings, a number of new issues were presented and discussed. In May, an initial design for adding entrance steps at the Southampton Arts Center were presented by Siamak Samii. The steps would be located to the west of the existing building entrance on Jobs Lane, thereby opening up the lawn to the street on the west side of the Center. The board appeared to support the concept but no decision was made. A plan to establish a valet parking service was briefly outlined to relieve congestion in the Village business district. Also, the possible rezoning of North Sea Road to permit additional retail uses was discussed. The Board referred the matter to the Planning Commission for guidance.
In May, SHA member Bruce Bockmann again addressed the trustees on the issue of water run-off and flooding in many residential areas leading to Gin and Meadow Lanes. For new construction in these areas, FEMA requires the first floor to be elevated above the flood zone. Since our building department does not require any deduction or limit on the maximum height of the proposed house (unlike other communities) , the resulting new structures are towering over their neighbors. Not only is this creating a visual impact, but water runoff is affecting adjacent properties and streets. The trustees are continuing to study the issue with the building department. At the June 12th meeting, Jay Diesing presented a report prepared by East Hampton consultant, Lisa Liquori. The report compared zoning on the East End by municipality. In summary, Southampton Village generally has the most generous provisions in each of the key zoning parameters (particularly for lots of approximately 1 acre or less). This is a key driving factor for the active spec development of our Village. The trustees acknowledged some of the concerns outlined and asked that we present the report to the Planning Commission, which we did in early July. Our code and process needs to be adjusted and we will continue to take necessary action to curtail the out-of-scale building which is destroying the charm of many neighborhoods.
A decision was reached in June approving the demolition of the house located on part of the Pond Lane property once occupied by Pyrrus Concer. The details were not immediately available, but the Mayor indicated a process will be set up to try and identify and preserve any historic items which might be found during the demolition (the structure was not deemed to be historic.).
At the Architectural Review Board (ARB), an application was quickly approved for a new house at 40 Meadow Lane, site of one of the earliest summer cottages on the East End, “A-Wee-Ly-Moor.” We asked members to attend the July 14th ARB meeting to appeal to have this application re-opened. The proposed modern glass structure needs to be presented in the context of its Historic District location and to be fully vetted by the board and the public before being approved.
Lastly, at our schools, Southampton and Tuckahoe have begun to prepare for a revote in November on the merger of the two districts. We will report to you on further details as soon as they become available.
July 8, 2014