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Canoe Place Inn Restoration Not Set In Stone

Developer says economic analysis could still mean demolition.

Champions of restoring historic in Hampton Bays as a catering and meeting hall with a 20-room bed and breakfast and a tap room might not be celebrating for a while.

At a joint meeting of the Hampton Bays Civic Association and Hampton Bays Beautification Committee at Hampton Bays High School Tuesday night, developers Gregg and Mitchell Rechler and consultant Jim Morgo were on hand to vet 100 residents’ concerns regarding a proposed planned development district that would translate into the preservation of the inn.

During the meeting, Gregg Rechler said preservation of Canoe Place Inn depends on economic fesibility, which still needs to be determined.

“Based on the preliminary information, we think it is viable,” Rechler said. “We’re not in the business of not being profitable."

Should restoration prove too pricey, Rechler said the inn would be demolished and "something as of right” would be constructed.

"We would have to go back to the drawing board," he said.

He assured, however, that the goal is to stay committed to the project.

“Our reputation is every bit as important as a successful business deal,” Rechler said.

The current proposal calls for a residential planned development district on the canal properties, with the construction of 40 town homes, or bay homes, not condos, and 20 boat slips. The entire proposal is being treated as one PDD, with a “swap” of development rights allowing for seven additional units – meaning 40, rather than 33 units.

A planned development district allows for more density than would normally be allowed as of right, in exchange for community benefit.

In this instance, community benefits would include the renovation or rehabilitation of the inn; public access to the waterfront; and an agreement to dedicate funds toward open space acquisition in Hampton Bays. Covenants would ensure that the inn never be used for any other purpose, such as a nightclub.

During a question and answer session, residents voiced concerns on water quality and increased density.

Peconic Baykeeper Kevin McAllister said area waters have been degraded by nutrient pollution and urged the Rechlers to consider alternatives to chromaglass systems for wastewater treatment.

“You have a golden opportunity to implement better technology,” he said. “You can be clean water champions,” he said.

Rechler said he was interested in pursuing other options but needed county-approved systems and said any new system would be better than the cesspools currently available.

Others said they were fearful of affordable housing on site if the town homes did not sell; Rechler said that has never been discussed and said he would not “have spent all this time and money” on a project that would end up in affordable housing.

b June 29, 2011 at 07:45 PM
Were we a the same meeting? Wow.
Pete Driscoll June 30, 2011 at 01:02 PM
I question your choice of the word "vet" in the first paragraph. In it's normal context the word means to examine or to check the background a candidate for a position.
Gail Murcott July 03, 2011 at 03:30 AM
I think it's a great plan! The plans for CPI are beautiful, and lets face it, do you think someone is going to pay all that money for the property and not want to make a profit? Thanks to the town board for all your hard work.
E. Trillo July 06, 2011 at 02:16 AM
The Rechlers presented a diagram of their restored CPI proposal. No budget for the improvements was presented. If you assume the entire space needs to be renovated including doors, windows, roof, floors, walls, painting, electrical work etc. it should cost more than $200 a Sq. Ft or about $7,600,000 plus landscaping and roads. Their plan is to "put lipstick on the pig" then turn it over to someone else to run while the more profitable town houses are sold. The CPI project should be finished and accepted before the Town houses are started. Also using Cash in Lieu to purchase pine barren credits in Hampton Bays was not received as the type of community benefit the people are looking in a PDD. Many residents were concerned about the density and pollution resulting from this PDD. There was also discussion about demand for million dollar town houses in Hampton Bays in this economy. Questions were asked related to "is there financial justification for the restoration of the CPI and the construction of the town houses" no answers were provided for these questions. No satisfactory answers were given for providing a satisfactory sewage processing solution for either the CPI or the Town Houses. Gregg Rechler did verify that the Town Houses would produce up to 12000 gallons of waste per day. The Bay Keeper did not seem to think the currently available systems approved by Suffolk County would provide the needed protection to the canal and the bays.
Linda K July 28, 2011 at 12:24 PM
I agree with Gail - The CPI is an eyesore at this point and it would be nice to see something there that is feasible and profitable (never mind the jobs it would create and the taxes it would bring in)

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