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Southampton Town tables vote on extending Canoe Place project

Charles (Chic) Voorhis, an environmental consultant, speaks on

Charles (Chic) Voorhis, an environmental consultant, speaks on the Canoe Place Inn property at the Southampton Town Board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. Credit: Newsday / Rachelle Blidner

Southampton Town Board members on Tuesday tabled a motion that would have granted a key extension allowing building to continue at the historic Canoe Place Inn in Hampton Bays.

The decision came after about an hour of supporting and opposing argument about the extension for the development that would create a 20-unit inn with a restaurant, catering facility and 37 town houses. The extension for the Canoe Place Inn, Canal and Eastern Properties Maritime Planned Development District would add two years to the development district’s approval, pushing the expiration to Jan. 21, 2020.

The board will vote on the extension at their Dec. 21 meeting, and also are to vote on whether to allow the project to continue. Board members on Tuesday voted to close the public hearing and keep the town Planning Board written comment period open for one week

Consultants with Plainview-based Rechler Equity Partners, a companion company of project developer R Squared Development LLC, and town officials said extending the expiration time of district — approved by the town board in January 2015 and set to expire on Jan. 21 — will allow the project’s construction to continue.

Several residents in favor of extending the district’s expiration date said the area had struggled economically for years and the development could jump-start economic growth.

“If it does not get extended, Hampton Bays will have to change its name to ‘Hampton’s Blight,’ ” said resident Donna Thiele.

Hampton Bays School District Superintendent Lars Clemensen said the school board supported the development, adding the jobs generated from it would help the district’s children work there via internships.

Residents opposed to the extension argued developers had not completed much work since the project started and they were worried about potential contamination issues that oil tanks on the property may create near the Shinnecock Canal.

“Unless we put the brakes on the North and South Fork, the whole East End is going to be overdeveloped and our way of life is going to be gone,” said Carolyn Ellis, a Hampton Bays resident.

Barbara Pierce, also a Hampton Bays resident, said the project “was a bad idea three years ago, and it’s still a bad idea.”

Project consultants reiterated previous statements that the state was involved in the cleanup of the oil tanks and the developer followed all procedures for managing the tanks.

Tabling the motion did not worry developers, project consultant Jim Moran said after the meeting.

“We’ve been through the process for a long time now, so it’s just one more step in the process,” Moran said.

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