By Stephen J. Kotz
The latest public nuisance to catch the attention of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee is the Bridgehampton Community House, where many people hold weddings, sweet 16 parties and other family affairs.
On Monday, CAC members, including two who live across School Street from the public gathering place, said they did not necessarily object to its use, but rather to events allowed to play amplified music well into the night.
CAC member Tom Watson said there are parties at the building, which is more than 100 years old, almost every weekend during the warm weather months. Jenice Delano, who also lives across the street, agreed the regular parties are a nuisance. The committee’s chairwoman, Pamela Harwood, who is a member of the Horticultural Alliance of the Hamptons, which also uses the building, said she objected to the garbage that is left behind after such events. She said she thought the building, which is not air-conditioned, meaning the doors are often left open, was not suited to holding events with amplified music. Kathleen Conway urged her fellow members to call the police if they had noise complaints. “This is no different than a nightclub having loud music,” she said.
The Bridgehampton Community House Associaton has a long-term lease from the town for the building. Mr. Watson said the committee should insist that the town, as lease holder, clamp down on violatons of the town code. “It’s an issue of the tail wagging the dog,” he said, noting that town taxpayers own the building. “We have to get it back to the dog wagging the tail.”
The head of the association, Lillian Tyree, could not be reached for comment.
One member, Tony Lambert, questioned the concern about the Community House, noting that noisy benefit parties are often held in the summer on properties along the north end of Lumber Lane and that other private parties take place elswhere in the hamlet on a regular basis.
The committee also turned its attenton to the proposal to expand the TJ Maxx at the Bridgehampton Commons by 17,000 square feet to allow for the construction of a Marshall’s clothing store, which is owned by the same company.
Committee members say they are concerned that expansion will bring more traffic to Bridgehampton and have also questioned the wisdom of expanding retail space in an age when internet sales are taking an ever larger bite out of brick-and-mortar store profits.
They said the shopping center has already received a waiver from parking requirements and should not be allowed to expand if it can’t provide the necessary parking.
The shopping center has floated a plan to add parking along a service road between it and the Marders garden center to the north, but Peter Wilson, a CAC member, said the plan is for those spaces only to be built if required by the planning board.
“They are stating there is adequate parking on the property,” he said. “The fact is they are a couple of hundred spaces in arrears. They just want a legal agreement that allows them to escape their responsibilities.”
Committee members said they believed if the spaces were built they would likely be used by Marders employees, some of whom, they say, already park along the north side of the shopping center. Noting that the shopping center had yet to rebuild a berm along Montauk Highway as it had agreed to do more than a year ago, committee members said they would have to monitor the site closely. “We can’t trust them to follow through,” said Ms. Harwood.
The group also said it would have to keep its eye on the Bridgehampton Gateway property, where Carol Konner has announced plans to bring in a mixed-use development that would meet current zoning on the site. Jeff Rimland, a committee member who lives behind the site near Kellis Pond, urged the committee to continue to fight development of the site, saying it would increase traffic and pollute the pond. He said the committee should enlist the support of local residents who use the pond to both fish and hunt, saying future development could deprive them of that opportunity.