East Hampton Village residents may want to begin keeping an eye on Newtown Lane and Railroad Avenue, where a large-scale luxury townhouse complex could one day soon replace the brick building where Mary’s Marvelous is, as well as several adjacent properties. A real estate agent said the quiet part out loud recently in a press release on the former Cavagnaro’s property deal, explaining that the new owner and Village Mayor Jerry Larsen “share the vision of expanding the core village business district to the area around the railroad station. . . .” Perhaps not ironically, Mr. Larsen ran his campaign for mayor on the NewTown Party ticket on a message of “change.” We wonder if this was the scale of change that voters thought they were agreeing to when they put him and his running mates, Chris Minardi and Sandra Melendez, in office last year.
A catch for Mr. Larsen and Robert Zecher, the new property owner, and other landholders seeking higher density is that the current regulations of septic waste would hamper it significantly, even make expansion financially unrealistic. The village’s beginning moves toward a central sewage-treatment plant need to be understood in this context as much as for any purported environmental improvement. Note that most, if not all, central business properties in the village are supplied by the Suffolk Water Authority and not at risk of groundwater contamination reaching taps.
Also a challenge for them would be the village comprehensive plan, which envisioned a modest growth in commercial and residential use in the upper Newtown Lane area of new one-story buildings. The plan also expresses caution about the traffic that changes might bring. The lawfully adopted plan very specifically anticipated just this thing and warned that property combinations offering a greater return on investment “could result in a pattern and character of commercial development very different from that of the village today,” and that market forces should be anticipated before they bring unwelcome change