Limits on Limited-Business Construction

“This oversight permitted structures in the [limited-business overlay] district to expand with no limitation of size,”

At a hearing next Thursday night, the East Hampton Town Board will take comments on a change to the town code that would clarify restrictions on the expansion of commercial buildings in limited-business zones.

The zoning district is designed to allow low-intensity uses in places where business areas give way to residential zones. Restrictions on the types of businesses and their size are designed to protect the residential character of the designated areas.

However, when the legislation was updated in 2006 to limit new construction for a limited-business use to a maximum of 2,000 square feet, it did not clearly state that the 2,000-square-foot maximum was to also apply to existing buildings in the limited-business zone, the town board said in a hearing notice. That would have precluded their expansion if they were already at the limit. “This oversight permitted structures in the [limited-business overlay] district to expand with no limitation of size,” the hearing notice says.

The issue came to light during a recent planning board review of an application regarding an East Hampton building.

In addition to clarifying the size restriction, the town board has proposed revising the law to allow for affordable apartments in the zone.

Under the proposed law, a combined maximum of 2,000 square feet of total gross floor area, for all existing structures on a parcel of land in a limited-business zone, could be devoted to a commercial use. Additional space could be used for storage or for an affordable apartment. New construction could not be more than 2,000 square feet.

Also next Thursday, the board will hold a second hearing on the acquisition of the Brooks-Park property in Springs, a site formerly owned by James Brooks and Charlotte Park, who were Abstract Expressionist artists. The property was acquired last spring and recently given town historic landmark status. However, because the original hearing on the land buy described the purchase as being made to preserve open space, a new hearing is being held to revise the objective to include historic preservation. 

Hearings will also be held at next week’s meeting on a number of land buys, all using the community preservation fund. They include the acquisition of a lot just shy of one acre at 54 Fenmarsh Road in Springs owned by Stanley Dalene, for $775,000; 6.3 acres at 577 Lazy Point Road in Amagansett from Dominick D’Alleva, for $805,000; several lots totaling 1.2 acres on South Fairview Avenue in Montauk from Thomas Milne and 70th Street Trading Corporation, for $670,000; a .41-acre lot at 26 South Fairview Avenue, for $145,000, from Maurice Martell and Debra Martell Murray; a .17-acre lot at 23 Flagg Avenue in Montauk from the Eileen Jeanne Karl Revocable Trust, for $270,000; a .92-acre lot at 26 Seaside Avenue, also in Montauk, owned by Thomas Jefferson University, for $350,000; a half-acre at 6 Bowling Green Place in Springs, for $181,500 from Patrick Fallon, Cecelia Pinto, Monica Kortmann, and Lorelle Fallon, and the purchase, for open space, agricultural land preservation, and historic preservation, of 3.7 acres on James Lane in East Hampton Village, which is a portion of the 1648 Lion Gardiner home lot adjacent to the village green, from Olney Mairs Gardiner for $9.6 million.

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