To Vet 555, Balasses Requests

The hearings, on establishing a new zoning district in the town code for senior citizen housing, and then applying it to the Amagansett property, were convened on Dec. 19 and held open, at the developers’ request, until tonight.

    Hearings on two proposed changes to East Hampton Town Code set in motion by the wish of a developer, Putnam Bridge, to build a 79-unit complex of market-rate older-resident housing on 24 acres of farmland in Amagansett, will continue tonight at East Hampton Town Hall beginning at 6:30 p.m.

    The hearings, on establishing a new zoning district in the town code for senior citizen housing, and then applying it to the Amagansett property, were convened on Dec. 19 and held open, at the developers’ request, until tonight.

    The new zoning district and zone change are needed for the project to go forward, as the development is not allowed under current zoning.

    The project, known as 555 for its Montauk Highway address, engendered extensive public interest and controversy, including an organized opposition that gathered close to 1,500 signatures on petitions against the idea.

    The Suffolk County Planning Commission voted in December against the zone change, calling the proposed development counter to several goals of the town’s comprehensive plan. They also cited a lack of appropriate environmental review of the proposal, the proposed development of prime agricultural land, and the fact that the development would not provide affordable housing.

    The commissioners’ vote means that approval of the proposal by the town board would require a majority-plus-one vote, to override the county opinion.

    Last year’s town board, under the Bill Wilkinson administration, was split over whether to hold hearings on the proposal, with the two Democrats, who remain on the board this year, voting not to do so.

    The three Republican members who voted to consider the developers’ request at the final meeting of the year, are no longer in office. New Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell has said that he is opposed to the zone change for the Amagansett land, and the extensive development there.

    A hearing will also be held tonight on a request to have a lot at the corner of Hedges Lane and Main Street in Amagansett rezoned from half-acre residential, with a limited-business overlay, to a central business zone. The site, which is in the Amagansett Historic District, had long housed Balasses House Antiques.