By Amanda Bernocco The Southampton Town Board must decide next month if it wants to resurrect a special zoning designation dating back more than a decade—and which actually expired in 2010—that allows the construction of 50 senior citizen condominiums on just shy of 8.3 acres on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays.Instead of developing the land as originally pitched 11 years earlier—a plan that has lacked the required financing—RTW Associates LLC of Hampton Bays now intends to sell the property, along with its special zoning if it can be revived, to an undisclosed party that has the money to develop the complex, according to Wayne Bruyn, an attorney with O’Shea, Marcincuk and Bruyn LLP in Southampton, who is representing the property’s current owner.“The change in the market over the last year or so has created renewed interest in the project, but the current status of the zoning classification has become an impediment.”Though he thinks that affordable condominiums for those 55 and older are needed in his municipality, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said he is going to solicit input from the community before deciding if he will sign off on the request to revive the PDD.“It could be a good thing,” Mr.Schneiderman said about the plan, which includes more affordable housing than required under the now-discarded law that permitted PDDs.The supervisor added that he is not concerned with the applicant’s intention of selling the property if the Town Board agrees to revive the PDD.Though he did not represent the applicant at the time, Mr.Bruyn said it took RTW Associates nearly five years to secure the required permits, including those from the town’s Planning Board.At one point, he continued, the application even went back to the Town Board so it could add language to allow a natural vegetated buffer between the condominiums and Montauk Highway, as requested by members of the public, instead of landscaped berms as originally planned.
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Bruyn said his client has two people who are interested in buying the property, which sits just east of Allomara Road in Hampton Bays, and that they intend to build the 50 condos originally envisioned by his client.He also noted that the community did not oppose the zoning change before it was approved in 2007.“RTW obtained the town approvals and re-approvals after more than five years of review, but was left trying to market and obtain financing for the project in the middle of a downturn in the economy,” Mr.Bruyn wrote in a letter to the Town Board over the summer.As required with other PDDs, the original approval came with a list of community benefits.
The developer promised to install new sidewalks along the north side of Montauk Highway to the Tiana Shopping Center in Hampton Bays—about a quarter-mile east of the proposed development—to provide a “walkable environment.” It would also pay the town $1,000 per unit for each of the market-rate condo to offset additional facilities costs that the development would cause, fund the construction of a bus shelter to promote the use of public transportation, and make a $15,000 contribution toward traffic safety improvements along the Montauk Highway corridor.
If the Town Board agrees with the request, the PDD would be revived and extended for two years, meaning that it would expire again in February 2020.
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