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Canoe Place Inn proposal draws supporters, critics to hearing

Canoe Place Inn is located in Hampton Bays.

Canoe Place Inn is located in Hampton Bays. This photo was taken April 20, 2011. Credit: Randee Daddona

The latest proposal to rehabilitate the Canoe Place Inn, the historic hub of the Hamptons that hosted politicos and celebrities between the 1920s and 1940s, drew dozens of residents Tuesday in both support and opposition.

The plan put forward by developers Gregg and Mitchell Rechler would create a space for proms and weddings in Hampton Bays, something community groups say is lacking in the area.

But Gregg Rechler said that the economics of the project do not work without approval for 40 vacation town homes on 4.8 acres nearby, with an associated sewer treatment plant.

The first public hearing on the draft environmental impact statement was held Tuesday by the Southampton Town board. Additional hearings will be held in the future, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said.

Five local citizen advisory committees have endorsed the proposal, said Jim Morgo, a consultant on the Canoe Place Inn project, which is commonly referred to as “CPI.”

Bruce King, president of the Hampton Bays Civic Association, called the proposal “a chance to save CPI.”

Development on the east side of the canal, King said, is inevitable: “It will change, no matter how much we love it.”

But some nearby residents passed around a petition at the meeting to save Tide Runners, a popular canal-side restaurant with slips for boaters.

Stephen Ryan, one of the owners of the restaurant, said that after 11 years in business the landlords — the Rechlers — had not extended the lease. The restaurant would have to make way for the new development, Ryan said.

“We’re going to lose our business,” he said. “The town is losing something its people really enjoy.”

Some neighbors of the proposed development had concerns about the sewage treatment plant, which the developers said would be state-of-the-art.

Robert Colavito, 51, said his questions about noise from the plant haven’t been answered and he was skeptical about claims that odors would be minimal. He said he’d prefer to see fewer town homes, with the sewage treatment system closer to the development.

“My septic tanks aren’t on your property, are they?” he said after the meeting.

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