The pace of commercial development, and the demands it places on parking, was the main theme of the discussion before the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee on Monday.
The committee touched on a number of Main Street development proposals, from plans by Saunders & Associates Real Estate to build an addition to a new proposal for a medical clinic in the building once slated for a CVS Pharmacy at the east end of the commercial district.
Parking — or the lack of it — and Southampton Town’s unwillingness to require that developers provide adequate on-site parking had the group grasping for straws.
Committee member Julie Burmeister said the Saunders building was already short eight parking spaces when it was constructed by a previous owner in 2007. The developer was required to pay $16,000 into the hamlet’s parking fund. The Saunders addition will result in a deficit of another six spaces, and the company has proposed an arrangement with the Newman Village office condominium across Montauk Highway to provide the necessary spaces.
“On a scale of one to 10, to me this is a one or a two,” said committee member Tom Watson. He argued that if parking is not allowed on Church Lane behind the building then the proposed second-story addition to the rear of the main building would have little impact.
But Peter Wilson, another committee member, lamented that developers were playing “a Mickey Mouse game of buying parking spaces” in exchange for the right to build more and the town was not doing anything to stop it. “The parking rule is the only real control over density that we have,” he said. “These are all tricks. They are tricks and they don’t work, and they have no intention of making them work.”
Another committee member, Nancy Walter-Yvertes, said the increasing density of development in the hamlet was the real problem. “The village is disappearing,” she said. “Putting an extra story on a building on Church Lane is disgusting, ethically disgusting.”
Chairwoman Pamela Harwood said the committee was pushing back selectively. “It would be much worse if we didn’t push back,” she said.
Mr. Wilson said he feared the committee was too often taking stands on minor issues. “I think we have to measure our responses,” he said. “If we respond every time it loses its impact.”
The committee also noted that the BNB Ventures property, at the corner of Montauk Highway and the Bridgehampton Turnpike, where a CVS Pharmacy was hotly contested, is now being considered as medical office/clinic by NYU Langone Health, which proposes to have eight examining rooms, offices and reception areas in the roughly 4,500-square-foot first floor of the building. This proposal would also require a waiver from parking requirements, although the committee was confused as to the exact number and agreed to look into it.