The East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals approved, in late July, plans by Carissa's Bakery to make improvements to its building and add housing for workers above a new structure proposed for an adjacent lot, which is to be merged with the main lot.
Four of the five Z.B.A. members agreed to grant Carissa's a total of three variances for the project, two involving lot-line setbacks and one to allow a third bedroom in the apartment where only two would have been allowed by code. Theresa Berger, a fifth member of the Z.B.A., agreed with the lot line variances but didn't think the third bedroom should be allowed.
Carissa's Bakery is at 221 Pantigo Road. One of its owners, Lori Chemla, purchased the building next door, 219 Pantigo Road, under a limited-liability corporation in December 2021. That building, now home to an architect's office, is to be demolished. Plans call for a 25.1-foot-tall addition to the main Carissa's building that will contain a storage basement, first floor with a break room for employees, office space, a relocated baking kitchen, and a 1,194-square-foot second floor apartment.
As part of the project, the parking area will be reconfigured, yielding eight more spots for the business, and a new innovative/alternative sanitary system will be installed. As conditions of the approval, the occupancy of the restaurant will decrease from 75 seats to 69 and no more than four tenants at any one time will be permitted to live in the apartment.
The reduction in seating capacity was a consequence of the restaurant exceeding the approved amount of wastewater flow for the site. The Star previously reported that even with fewer seats, the restaurant would still produce more than three times the amount of waste allowed than if a new restaurant were to be built at the location today; Carissa's has a higher limit because of existing precedents on that site.
When the project was reviewed by the planning board back in May, Louis Cortese, a planning board member, spoke out strongly against allowing the increased density at the site. The other planning board members, however, thought the benefit of adding work force housing outweighed the environmental detriment of more sanitary flow.
Two new gardens, with native trees and plantings, are expected to help shield the building from the roadway.