Hearings Ahead on 555 Buy, Chain Stores

The East Hampton Town Board will hold hearings next Thursday on three potential property purchases, including the 19 acres of Amagansett farmland where a luxury housing development had been proposed, as well as on new legislation governing the establishment of chain stores in the town.

The new zoning law, if enacted, would limit the possible locations for chain, or “formula” stores — those with 10 or more locations worldwide — to central business zones, excluding spots within or within a mile of historic districts, or within a half-mile of a designated historic building.

Planning board approval, after a specific review process and issuance of a special permit, would be required, and limits would be placed on the size and appearance of the formula business.

In addition to hearing from the public on the legislation, the town board will receive a memo about the idea from the planning board, which discussed the code addition at a recent meeting.

The acquisition of the Amagansett acreage is proposed not only to preserve open space and vistas, but also to enable the town to help foster agriculture by leasing the acreage to a farmer. The cost of the site, which is held by a limited-liability corporation called Amagansett Farms Holdings, is $10.1 million, which would come from the community preservation fund.

The plan by the landowners, also known as a Connecticut company called Putnam Bridge, to put up 79 housing units, and their appeal to the prior town board to change the zoning code to allow them to do it, created controversy in the community.

The town’s proposed purchase would include the majority of the land, which is on Montauk Highway at Amagansett’s eastern edge. Putnam Bridge would retain 4.5 acres with highway frontage, which is zoned for affordable housing.

Another subject of a hearing next week will be four parcels on Napeague Harbor Road on Napeague owned by the Bistrian Land Corporation. The cost would be $1.1 million, also to be borne by the preservation fund. The property would be purchased for open space.

The board will also take comments at next week’s hearing on the purchase of an almost half-acre lot on Waterhole Road in Springs from William Kuhl, for $225,000, using the community preservation fund.

The hearings will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall.