Southampton Town officials will hear public input on purchasing and preserving a blighted Hampton Bays motel despite a majority of board members stating they would rather see the parcel become a boutique hotel or condos.
Two resolutions on the Tuesday town board agenda offered competing solutions for the code-violating Bel-Aire Cove Motel, one calling for a public hearing on preserving the land and another authorizing the town to buy it for $1.06 million and prepare it for development as luxury town houses or a 22-room boutique hotel.
After more than an hourlong discussion, the board voted 5-0 in favor of holding a Jan. 8 hearing on preserving the Shinnecock Road property.
The resolution was introduced by the board’s lone Republican, Councilwoman Christine Scalera, who expressed doubts the town could act as a real estate developer and find a willing buyer.
“That’s not the business we’re in,” she said.
Residents at two public hearings on the redevelopment plan overwhelmingly supported purchasing the parcel with money from the Community Preservation Fund, which is financed through a 2 percent tax on real estate transfers. Still, the four Democratic board members said Hampton Bays residents have stressed the need to increase the commercial tax base and revitalize the tourism economy in their hamlet, without using CPF money.
“This approach [economic redevelopment] will be a contributor to the local economy,” said Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who first floated the plan in August. “I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Under the proposal, Southampton would secure all necessary construction permits — including for an advanced onsite wastewater treatment system because the property is along a canal leading to Shinnecock Bay — as well as architectural drawings, creating a project for a willing developer.
Jag Jayaswal, whose family owns the property, said he began renting the motel's 19 rooms by the month about five years ago after the closure of several nearby nightclubs cooled the summer party scene in Hampton Bays. He has said he has no preference as to either plan.
Ray D’Angelo, of Hampton Bays, spoke during Tuesday’s meeting and said he preferred the preservation plan, but stressed the community’s desire to resolve the issue.
“We really would like to see this thing put to bed, put a stake through its heart and not come back to life,” D’Angelo said.
Schneiderman said he will use the next month to pitch the redevelopment plan to residents as the preferable solution.
“Maybe I have more work to do in the Hampton Bays community,” he said.