Skip to main content

Basements Matter

Wed, 05/15/2024 - 18:45


If basements and below-ground rooms did not matter, real estate agents, local lawyers, and builders would not have shown up in force at East Hampton Town Hall the other day. The subject that got their attention was a proposal to reduce the maximum house size in the town from 20,000 to 10,000 square feet. Clearly, it mattered a lot.

What the trade does not want is for subsurface amenities — and garages — to count in the calculations of usable space. This brings to mind a squabble some time ago when one local jurisdiction was blasted for proposing to measure the size of a house from its outside, as opposed to inside the walls.

A key argument that the don’t-count-the-basement crowd cites is that what happens underground stays underground, that is, it has no impact on neighbors or the community. This is a ridiculous claim: The bigger the house, the greater the demand for services, as well as its energy consumption and environmental impact. That is the point: The quantity of built space impacts everything from traffic to groundwater.

East Hampton Town has done an admirable job of restraining development. It should not buckle under entirely self-serving pressure from the real estate industry now.

Your support for The East Hampton Star helps us deliver the news, arts, and community information you need. Whether you are an online subscriber, get the paper in the mail, delivered to your door in Manhattan, or are just passing through, every reader counts. We value you for being part of The Star family.

Your subscription to The Star does more than get you great arts, news, sports, and outdoors stories. It makes everything we do possible.