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D.E.C. Will Decide Which Board Reviews Senior Center

Thu, 03/28/2024 - 12:09
East Hampton Town's new senior citizens center is to be built on Abraham's Path in Amagansett.
R2 Architecture

The East Hampton Town Board voted last Thursday to authorize a law firm to file a petition with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner to settle its lead agency dispute with the planning board with regard to the proposed new senior citizens center in Amagansett.

Farrell Fritz P.C., which the town board previously retained to provide legal services related to the State Environmental Quality Review Act, will file a petition with the D.E.C. commissioner requesting that the town board be designated lead agency for review of the senior citizens center project.

The long-planned senior citizens center appeared to be moving toward construction on land that the town had previously acquired on Abraham’s Path in Amagansett. Late last year, however, some residents began to sharply question elements of the 22,000-square-foot building’s design and features as well as its $31.6-million price tag. A January public hearing on potentially exempting the new senior citizens center from the town’s zoning code and land-use procedures by applying the Monroe “balancing of public interests” analysis was also criticized.

Were the center subject to the town’s zoning standards and procedures, it would require subdivision, site plan approval, a special permit from the planning board, and area variances from the zoning board of appeals for total lot coverage, building coverage, and gross floor area.

The town board’s declaration that it would seek lead agency status on the project led to the dispute between it and the planning board, which will be resolved by the D.E.C. commissioner. Early last month, the planning board voted to hire an attorney to advise it with respect to seeking lead agency status on the proposed senior citizens center. At its Feb. 28 meeting, the planning board voted to advise the town board of its objection to the town declaring itself lead agency for the project and its intent to declare itself lead agency.

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