A unanimous vote by the East Hampton Town Board last Thursday to buy 19 acres of Amagansett land along Montauk Highway and preserve it for agriculture and recreation drew kudos and congratulations from members of the audience, several of whom spoke at a hearing on the $10.1 million purchase prior to the vote. The money will come from the town’s community preservation fund.
“It’s a dream come true for me that you have a chance to preserve the acreage,” said Joan Tulp, an Amagansett resident. “I urge you to make sure that it stays the beautiful, countrified space that it always has been.”
“It was almost snapped from us by 555,” she said, referring to the efforts by a Connecticut developer, Putnam Bridge, to create a 79-unit housing development there, known as 555 for the property’s address on Montauk Highway.
Putnam Bridge had asked the previous town board to create a new senior citizens housing district and rezone the land, in order to achieve its goals.
“I come here very relaxed tonight,” said Rona Klopman, contrasting the meeting to others at which the 555 development was proposed and when a large outdoor concert had been approved there, but later canceled due to poor ticket sales. “I am very happy to see the courage that this board has to put this land up for preservation,” she said.
“Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes,” said Diana Walker.
“Fantastic,” said Susan Bratton.
“Brilliant. Kudos. Wonderful,” Betty Mazur said.
Elaine Jones, a nearby property owner, also supported the purchase but warned about use of the property. “We don’t want flea markets there,” she told the board. “You have to be very careful about what’s happening at these farmers markets.”
Putnam Bridge will retain a 4.5-acre lot with highway frontage, which is adjacent in the rear to the two lots that make up the 19 acres. That property is zoned for affordable housing, and a plan making use of the site for that purpose is reportedly under discussion.
Putnam Bridge purchased the three lots for $10.3 million in 2012. The company paid $9.2 million for the two lots being sold to the town.
The town board also voted last Thursday to purchase 3.5 acres on Napeague Harbor Road from the Bistrian Land Corporation for open space, using $1.1 million from the preservation fund.