Public Hearings on Hamlet Studies Coming Soon

After a consultant conducting hamlet studies for East Hampton Town delivered an update to the town board on Tuesday, the board decided that each hamlet should have its own public hearing, the first of which may be held as soon as next month. 

The studies began in 2015, with public input beginning the following year. The consultants, Peter Flinker of Dodson and Flinker, a Massachusetts consulting firm, and Lisa Liquori of Fine Arts and Sciences, a former town planning director, have presented updates since then based on public comment from individuals, the hamlets’ citizens advisory committees, chambers of commerce, and East Hampton Village. The goal is to adopt recommendations for each hamlet to be incorporated into the town’s comprehensive plan. 

On Tuesday, Ms. Liquori asked if the board felt the studies were ready for public hearings now or if they should be further modified. After some debate, Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said the board would schedule the hearings and review any comments before determining any environmental impacts under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. The studies would then be forwarded to the Suffolk County Planning Commission, which would have 30 days to respond. 

A vote to adopt the recommendations would follow. But adoption, Mr. Van Scoyoc said, was “a broader stroke” than other regulatory legislation necessary to put recommendations into effect. The next step, he said, would be to “look at creating zoning laws or other means of regulation” to legalize the recommendations.

Councilman David Lys, the board’s liaison to the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee, said that he and the committee both felt that further development, or redevelopment within the present allowable density, of that hamlet’s eastern portion, near the I.G.A. supermarket and post office, was ill advised. Nonetheless, the board’s consensus was to leave the Amagansett study as is for a public hearing. 

In East Hampton, the raising of the railroad trestles over North Main Street and Accabonac Road is expected to allow greater truck traffic on both. The board indicated that a wait-and-see approach to how traffic patterns will change, and how traffic lights might be reprogrammed to better coordinate altered patterns, made sense. That hamlet study was accepted in its present form. 

Montauk’s hamlet study focused on its downtown, harbor, and train station areas. While the addition of roundabouts near Second House and at the confluence of the firehouse, Playhouse, and Long Island Rail Road station on Flamingo Avenue was generally opposed, Mr. Van Scoyoc recommended keeping them in the study’s recommendations for the public hearing. 

In Wainscott, where the board voted in June to extend a moratorium on development of properties zoned for central business or commercial-industrial uses for six months to allow the hamlet study’s completion, “a more walkable hamlet” and “get rid of the strip-mall feel” are oft-heard goals, Mr. Van Scoyoc said. 

A more unified architectural aesthetic, relocation of the post office, and the burial of overhead electricity transmission lines are other goals put forth by Wainscott’s citizens advisory committee, Councilman Jeff Bragman, its liaison, said. “My feeling at this point is, it’s shaped up enough to put in a public hearing,” he said. 

The Springs hamlet study is also ready to move to public hearing, said Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, the board’s liaison to its citizens advisory committee. 

Public hearings could be scheduled “just after Labor Day,” Mr. Van Scoyoc said.