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Nightclub Replacement Nears Approval

Thu, 09/21/2023 - 10:43

The most exciting thing that happened at the town’s last planning board meeting, on Sept. 13, was that its chairman, Samuel Kramer, opened the meeting by quoting the Grateful Dead.

“Summertime done come and gone, my oh my,” he said.

After that, the board revisited three applications that they’ve discussed multiple times, making sure they were ready for a vote. Montauk Sunset Cottages generated the most discussion.

After Brian Frank, East Hampton’s chief environmental analyst, summarized public comments and recommended prohibiting the parking and staging of construction equipment along East Lake Drive as a condition of approval, the board took over.

“I can’t help but see it as an intensification or expansion of a nonconforming use,” said Randy Parsons. The 14 cottages that will be built clearly won’t be used for work force housing, he said, yet they’ll basically create quarter-acre zoning density on the East Lake Drive lot. The applicant should have offered more mitigation, Mr. Parsons said, such as the removal of several existing cottages, and not just a new septic system.

He also worried about the relation of an expanded single-family residence on the parcel to the 14 proposed cottages. The owner, David Zwirner, a gallerist, has proposed them as “artist retreats,” he noted, but “What happens if the next owner doesn’t like artists?”

“I think it’s a great real estate investment,” Mr. Parsons concluded.

Louis Cortese took issue with an aging bulkhead that will be left to fester along Lake Montauk. “There’s something mysterious about that,” he said. “I’m afraid that may lead to something down the road that may not be to our approval.”

But Mr. Kramer and the other members of the planning board saw the application as a “modernization of a dilapidated property.” The board asked for the Planning Department to clarify a covenant stating that the pool, pool house, and a yoga pavilion would be only for the single-family residence, and not the cottages.

Mr. Parsons was alone in abstaining from moving the application to a vote.

The conversation about changes proposed at Carissa’s Bakery, on Pantigo Road in East Hampton, veered far from the issues that have dominated its application in past months, including septic flow, parking, and an apartment over a new building. Instead, it was an access easement between the bakery and its neighbor to the east that held up the board’s vote to approve.

Mr. Parsons said the neighbor had complained that the bakery was using their lot to access their dumpster. While all agreed that trucks have access to the easement, Mr. Parsons said it wasn’t clear that a truck was allowed to park in the easement while tending to a dumpster.

“They should show us how the dumpster truck is going to work,” he said, and the board agreed to make Carissa’s provide a diagram of the dumpster operation as a condition of approval.

Members had the easiest time moving toward a vote on replacing an old nightclub at 44 Three Mile Harbor Drive, East Hampton, with two affordable apartments, some office space, and perhaps a food market. The parcel, owned by Cilvan Realty, has been granted variances by the Zoning Board of Appeals, but is still in front of the Architectural Review Board.

Sharon McCobb said that while the proposed building is large, “Once it’s built and vegetated, it’s not going to be as massive as we think it is.” Getting rid of the nightclub was a positive, she added, and the proposed uses shouldn’t create traffic issues.

The board agreed to move that application forward for a vote. It will meet next on Oct. 4.

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