Driveway at a Busy Corner?

     The owner of an approximately one-acre property at the northeastern corner where Ditch Plain Road hooks east and becomes Deforest Road continued to seek the East Hampton Town Planning Board’s approval on Nov. 28 to divide it into two lots, each about the same size. An existing house to the north of the property, which has a shared driveway with another lot to the east, would fall into the newly created eastern lot.
    While not questioning the owner’s right to divide the property into lots that are in keeping with neighboring Ditch parcels, board members expressed concern over traffic and the location of the new western lot’s driveway. In previous discussions about the proposal, the board encouraged the owner, identified only as Sullivan, to work with the town on a land-swap between a town right-of-way and a slice of the western property, with the goal of improving the sight lines for vehicles and pedestrians at that hairpin turn.
    Both Town Highway Superintendent Stephen Lynch, and Thomas Talmage, the town engineer, weighed in via memorandums, encouraging the board to approve the land-swap proposal, which involves about 1,100 square feet each way.
    The board did just that, voting 7-0 to approve the swap. When it came to placing the driveway, however, Nancy Keeshan, a board member who works in Montauk, spoke out.
    “People come to Montauk for that surf beach,” she said. “That corner is the gateway to the beach. I’d like to see it remain the same.” Stressing the difficulty of finding a safe location for a driveway on the western lot, Ms. Keeshan also asked the town board to acquire the property, a suggestion that other members embraced.
    “This corner is so busy. It’s one of the busiest corners in town,” Patrick Schutte, a board member, said.
    Reed Jones, the board chairman, proposed drafting a letter to the town board, requesting that the property be put on a list for potential purchase, and members voted 6-1 in favor. Diana Weir was the lone dissenter.
    “There are spots in Montauk that are magical,” Ms. Keeshan said yesterday. “That is one of them.”