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Foes assail plan for luxury Amagansett senior homes

The East Hampton Town board recently held a lengthy public hearing on a controversial plan for a special senior housing complex in Amagansett, one critics said was not needed, wasn't really for seniors and required a new kind of zoning that doesn't exist there.

Putnam Amagansett Farm Holdings of Greenwich, Conn., wants to build 89 homes for people 55 and older on 23.5 acres on the north side of Montauk Highway, along with a field house, recreation and fitness building, tennis courts and a swimming pool.

A long line of critics at the meeting complained the development's $1 million homes would not really be for local seniors facing financial problems, that it would set a pattern for future development, change the nature of the community and require a senior overlay district not in the town code.

At the hearing, Supervisor Bill Wilkinson read about a dozen names from a sign-up list of speakers -- but they were not in the room, or even the building.

That's because former town board member Debra Foster -- who circulated a petition and got well over 1,000 names of people opposing the project -- kept writing on the list names of those who had signed her petition so there would be more time for opponents to speak.

Partly because of that, the meeting that started at 7 p.m. stretched well into the night.

At one point, the applicant's attorney tried to have the hearing postponed, but it was too late. Another hearing with updated information will take place early next year.

There was a separate hearing on creating senior overlay districts, but it also drew many objections about what such a district should include and where -- if anywhere -- it should be used.

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