Advisory Committee left the group’s Monday-night meeting feeling like they were chasing trains that have left the station.
Jack and Helene Forst, residents of East Hampton Village, had been invited to the meeting to tell Amagansett residents of their effort to halt PSEG Long Island’s ongoing upgrade to the electrical grid. That discussion is covered elsewhere in this issue.
The expected opening of a 7-Eleven convenience store at the former Villa Prince restaurant building was also on the agenda. The prevailing belief was that a large corporation may be unstoppable, but its impact could perhaps be mitigated.
As reported last week, a building permit has been issued, but, said Larry Cantwell, the town supervisor and liaison to the committee, “My understanding is there is some internal review about whether or not a site plan review is required.”
The town has no law prohibiting a 7-Eleven if it conforms to the zoning code, Mr. Cantwell explained. “As much as I don’t like it, trying to discriminate between 7-Eleven and Joe’s Deli is not constitutional.”
The committee should do what it can to ensure that the store, including its signs, looks nice, said Susan Bratton, a member of the committee. The town does have control over signs, said Mr. Cantwell, and he suggested the committee put its concerns in writing to the architectural review board. Members unanimously agreed to draft a letter supporting signs “in keeping with the taste of Amagansett.”
A years-long quest for a public restroom in the hamlet was resumed. Mr. Cantwell showed plans depicting a restroom in the southwest corner of the town parking lot, north of Main Street.
Britton Bistrian, a land planner and committee member, said that Randy Lerner, who owns Amagansett Square and is a client of hers, has commenced the permitting process to construct a public restroom in the square. That one will likely be completed long before the town builds one on the other side of Main Street, Mr. Cantwell observed. He suggested that it might be a good idea to see if the one in the square was sufficient before going ahead with another.
A prefabricated restroom could be installed in the town parking lot, he said, or a more attractive one could be built. Neither would be cost-prohibitive, he said, but “We can question whether we want to spend a couple hundred thousand dollars to a build a decent restroom if we have an alternative that could cost us almost nothing.”
Cynthia Young, director of the Amagansett Library, where the committee meets, sat in on the discussion. The library is overwhelmed with visitors seeking a public restroom in the summer months. They are most often directed there, she said, by businesses on the square. “I would advocate for two [restrooms], one at the square and one in the lot,” she said, given ever-growing demand.
Likewise, she said, the parking lot itself cannot accommodate demand in the summer. People park there and walk to the beach, she told the committee. “That’s who’s using the bathrooms” at the library. “They use whatever facilities they can find.”
A public restroom, Ms. Bistrian said, is one component of Amagansett’s broader needs, which include affordable housing above the stores on Main Street, additional parking for residents and businesses, and a plan for sewage treatment, without which new housing above businesses cannot be created.
“Why don’t we agree we want to cooperate with and encourage Amagansett Square to build this bathroom,” Jeanne Frankl said, “and that we put on the agenda for future discussion, infrastructure of Amagansett — and don’t forget a bathroom.”
“I will bring some ideas back to you,” Mr. Cantwell promised.