Building is out of control in the Town of East Hampton and is changing cherished neighborhoods in the blink of an eye. That was the message from the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee to the town board this month. To cope with a construction rate faster than regulators can respond to, the committee has called for a building permit moratorium while new rules are put in place. This may seem like too little too late for some parts of town, but it also seems like a must. This community has fought too long and too hard to maintain its all-important sense of place to give up now.
Amagansett might be called exhibit A in this. The lanes that run from Main Street in the hamlet have been the site of one mega-rebuild after another. You can spot them easily: These are the looming new houses whose rooflines plunge sharply and in strange ways to conform to height restrictions. In Beach Hampton, another part of the hamlet, older vacation houses of what now appears modest scale are being replaced by structures as large as the setback limits would allow or can be wrestled from the zoning board of appeals. The Amagansett citizens committee would like the town board to impose new size limits and take a fresh look at how subdivisions are created.
Though the area has been derided as a land of “No,” saying no a little more often and with more force would go a long way to maintaining the qualities of life that so many residents — and visitors — hold dear.