Frank Cilione, an owner of 44 Three Mile Harbor Road, the site of several former nightclubs and at present the East Hampton branch of the Spur co-working space, wants to demolish the building and replace it with a 21,000-square-foot structure with a retail store, office space, and work force housing.
He discussed his proposal with the East Hampton Town Planning Board on Nov. 20.
According to the application, the ground floor of the new building would contain more than 12,000 square feet of retail space. On the second floor there would be nearly 5,000 square feet of office space, and about 4,000 square feet would be used for six apartments. The building would also contain a nearly 11,000 square-foot underground garage.
“My partner and I have owned this building since 1998,” said Mr. Cilione. “It’s been a nightclub and restaurant since the 1940s. It is a pre-existing, nonconforming use.”
“We have a viable existing operation there, but is it the best use? No we don’t think it is,” he said.
Mr. Cilione, who presented architectural renderings of the proposed building, said he was inspired to come up with a new plan for his property after having read the Springs hamlet study, which had identified the site as a prime candidate for redevelopment.
The retail space he is proposing, he said, would be rented to a supermarket that could provide Springs residents with affordable groceries and staples. The Spur, he said, is interested in renting the office space, and the apartments would provide much-needed work force housing. Over all, it would be “an asset to the community,” he said.
The board praised his attempt to address local needs but pointed out the numerous aspects of town code the proposal would violate. “I want to applaud you for thinking big and dreaming big,” said Kathy Cunningham, the board’s vice chairwoman. “But there’s not one element of this that meets the codes, and that is generally a little bit of a red flag.”
The town code, she pointed out, does not permit retail stores to have a gross floor area in excess of 10,000 square feet. “The town does not want big-box stores,” she said.
Although the town is “desperate” for work force housing, she said, the code allows only four, not six apartment units per building.
As proposed, the development would only provide 55 of the 108 parking spaces required by code, as well as woefully inadequate wastewater treatment.
“I’m sorry to tell you it doesn’t meet any of our criteria,” said Ms. Cunningham. “It would be in your best interest to go back and scale it down. Do what you can to meet the code, and then see if that works,” she said.
Mr. Cilione thanked the board for its input, and said he would go back to the drawing board. “We’re in no rush to do this,” he said.