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Community Divided Over Canoe Place Inn Proposal

Hampton Bays residents spoke at a scoping hearing at Southampton Town Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

Lines were drawn between Hampton Bays residents on Tuesday afternoon as they stood to comment during a scoping hearing held on a and adjoining properties, which requires a change of zone action by the Southampton Town Board.

While the hearing was meant to obtain feedback on an environmental study for the project, residents took the opportunity to voice their thoughts on the proposal in general.

Critics argued that the developers of the proposal, cousins Gregg and Mitchell Rechler, are "bribing" the public by agreeing to restore Canoe Place Inn and purchase Pine Barrens credits through the town's so they can build 40 townhouses on the canal. Those in support said there is a clear public benefit that will result from the project.

Anne Wilding, of Hampton Bays, argued against the plan and said, “Zoning regulations must be observed. It bothers me see that they will be waived for some kind of public benefit. It sounds to me like a bribe."

Fellow resident Marilynda Vianna agreed saying, "The Rechlers will say, ‘Oh, we’re going to renovate the CPI’ — well, that brings to mind the song from the show 'Chicago,' the old ‘Razzle Dazzle.'"

She added, "They talk the talk, they don't walk the walk. No more density in Hampton Bays."

Others questioned the Rechlers business plan, calling it "flawed," saying it is destined to fail."

Larry Fasciano said, "What's going to happen to CPI when it goes off the tax rolls and out of our pockets? I don't see how it can survive when all the restaurants in Hampton Bays close for the winter. It's a white elephant."

Others like, Mary Fox argued that a loss of public canal access and will be "very disappointing" 

Fox recalled that as a child she would stand on the canal and watch the fishing boats come in.

"There is a history there too," she said. 

Also brought up during the meeting was sewage treatment. 

Jennifer Hartnagle, of the Group for the East End, asked the Town Board to take a closer look at the sewage treatment plan that is slated to be built on the east side of the canal as did several other residents. 

And while resident after resident stood to criticize the proposal, Brenda Berntstein, the head of the , rose to support it, saying that there are hundreds of residents who she has spoken to who favor the project. Her son, she said, even .

"The vast majority of people want this. And yes, no one wants townhouses built on the canal, but my guess is that half of you didn't want your neighbors to build their houses."

She also protested against comments about the Rechlers' business plan. 

"They don't tell you how to run your business," she said, adding that the Rechlers have sat in countless meetings with residents to work out a plan.

When the Rechlers first proposed their project, it included a demolition of Canoe Place Inn, which was built in the 1920s. However Gregg Rechler said that since he and his cousin resolved to save CPI, he has fallen in love with the building.

He said, "I really think it is going to be something special for everyone to use and enjoy. It will be come a labor of love. I am very excited about it."

Also pleased with the project was Dr. Bruce King, who heads the Hampton Bays Civic Association, but prefaced his statements on Tuesday, saying that he is speaking as a resident not as a leader. 

"Call me a helpless romantic, but I like the old Canoe Place Inn. I was there for my sister's wedding. Those of you who don't want what is being proposed, then take out your checkbook and buy it."

The Town Board left the hearing open for written comment for 10 days.

What do you think of the proposal? Comment below or answer the poll questions.

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History Ones June 14, 2012 at 12:51 PM
How do people figure there is no more canal access? The Town House would go on the east side of the canal where Tiderunners is. It has nothing to do with the piece of canal from the locks down to the jetty. It also has no impact whatsoever on the canal access owned by the county on the west side. Whenever I see people on the canal walking, fishing, sitting, they are never doing it front of the now defunct Altenkirchs, or Tiderunners, unless they are drinking at that establishment of course!
eileen June 14, 2012 at 02:06 PM
i grew up in staten island. they raped that place. don't let it happen here. 40 townhouses, means more than 80 cars. condos/townhouses destroy a place...
New Guy June 14, 2012 at 05:56 PM
There are those who wish to save Canoe Place Inn, and those who would like to see it torn down. I am not for saving the Canoe Place Inn. I'll tell you what someboby said to me "Move the building across the street onto town property" Let these folks build what they want on the west side where the CPI stands(Tear down/Move CPI). The east side would benefit from additional shops and a boardwalk. That folks would benefit the public. Folks, really think about this if it comes off the rolls you will make up the difference. Do you want to do that? How many local residents do you know who are going to rent the place out for parties...None. It is time for that structure to go it is not a fine bottle of wine it has not gotten better with age. Like I said earlier if you want to save the structure move it across the street to Town Property and the people who want to save the tear down can go down there on nights and weekends with a hammer, nails and there checkbook and fix away. It's a tear down folks....
b June 14, 2012 at 06:09 PM
What town property are you referring to? I am also confused by your reference to "coming off the rolls". What rolls?
b June 14, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I forgot, you didn't mention what you would 'allow' the owners of the east side of the canal build. You do realize that they are allowed, as of right, to build on that site and will in fact do so. Therefore, given your 'plan' they will be allowed, BY RIGHT, to build town houses on the current Inn property, the Inn will be on "town property" wherever that would be, then they could build again on the east side. How is that an improvement? As of right they can build a larger structure than what is on the Inn property right now. Great! Let's building on both sides of the canal, vs building on one and redoing what is there now. That sounds like a real 'win win' for those who want less construction in the hamlet of Hampton Bays!
New Guy June 14, 2012 at 06:57 PM
The town property located on the east side of newtown road. This is also the property where the town puts the ice skating rink. "coming off the rolls" means Tax rolls/Tax records
New Guy June 14, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Let them build what they want on the west side. Let them add additional shops and a boardwalk on the east side, therefore leaving the current business's that thrive during this time of the year. Ok, Simple
History Ones June 14, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Have you measured the property where the parks & rec dept. is & you know that the entire Inn will fit there? Clearly you don't care that any view of the canal will now be blocked by the building. Nor do you care that there will now be 2 large buildings on the west & however many they are allowed to build on the east instead of two. How does MORE construction equate to less density which is an ongoing outcry from the community. How do you stipulate what owners build on the east side when as of right they can build more than "additional shops and a boardwalk". I'd also remind you that a few years back before the property was sold to the current owners, the then owners wanted to build a boardwalk & additional shops. It was met with great resistance by the public. They sold the property now the same public wants to dictate that they want the boardwalk that they didn't want before. Simpe! As of right they can build townhouses, stores, etc. AS OF RIGHT. Not as of what people want to say is ok. Have you checked out what they can build as of right? You understand that as the owners of the land the town nor you nor the public can dictate that they leave something standing when they don't want to? They have stated, repeatedly that the current buildings will be torn down. That is their right. Please explain why this property, whichever one you are referring to, would "come off the rolls, ie the Tax Rolls"?
New Guy June 15, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Who will run the CPI? If they cant make a go of it what happens then, does the town take it over? Who will step in? How would a seasonal timeshare add density? Tear it down (CPI) useless structure....
b June 15, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Why would the town take it over? It is a business just as any other business. What happens when any other business in town goes out? Someone buys it. Why is this any different? If you lose you house, do you know who will "step in"? If you go bankrupt, will the town "step in"? I don't understand why people keep ascribing a different set of rules to this property. It is privately owned. The owners have rights based on having purchased the property. If they sell it, someone buys it. If they have financial difficulties, someone takes over. Just as any other piece of property in this or any other town. Would these be unoccupied "seasonal timeshares"? If they are occupied they would be adding to the density right? Not to mention the whole timeshare industry has hit major issues. Who exactly will want to have a timeshare in HB in the middle of the winter? How would having two structures on the west side and however many on the east, be less dense than an existing structure on the west & new construction in lieu of old buildings on the east? Of course there is the problem of putting a privately owned structure on a town owned property. What you are saying is the Rechlers can have 3 entities! Sounds like a plan! You still haven't explained the "off the rolls" comment. Why & how would this happen?
New Guy June 15, 2012 at 08:26 PM
It seems from your comments you want to save it, buy it and good luck to ya. Off the rolls means it is no longer taxed by the governing body. Do you understand now. If that is not clear call assessor. Tear it down out with the old and in with the new. You are right it is there money, good luck to those folks. I'm finished
b June 15, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Whether or not I support the project doesn't change the point that you don't seem to actually have any facts on the project. Lots of ideas, none that you can actually back up,. How can one make an educated decision if the decision is based on baseless information? LOL Again, why would it be taken off the tax rolls? Why would it no longer be taxed? Sounds horrific, but you never explained why this would happen here. Can you offer an example of where this has happened? Bankruptcy is not terribly uncommon, yet I never realized that the Town takes these properties off the tax rolls. No wonder we have money issues! Simple you said...yet you don't actually answer the question. You say less density then say to have more structures. You say timeshares, yet the timeshare industry is struggling and you don't offer any insight into why it would succeed here. You suggest a private structure is moved onto Town property, yet you give no reason why they should do it or how it would be accomplished. I believe you are finished because other that throwing out random ideas, your comments have no basis in reality.
New Guy June 16, 2012 at 12:46 AM
WOW, you sound sound mad?
b June 16, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Mad? Why would you think that? You make statements which appear to have no relation to fact. If they did, I'd expect that you would answer the questions. Seems a bit silly to think that your inability to defend your position would make me mad. LOL
New Guy June 16, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Wow, you sound mad. Hey you know whats best when it comes to building on both sides who am I to have an opinion. Now don't be mad at this. Tear it down and build away. :)
b June 16, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Again, why would I be mad? LOL Do you have an example of a "mad" statement? No one said you couldn't have an opinion. What you don't have is an answer to any question that was asked. You made statements, I asked for facts regarding them. You don't answer. If you have a fact, share it. Let's make an educated decision based on facts. As you said, it's "Simple" :)
Ralebird June 16, 2012 at 06:02 AM
I believe that if the CPI building was completely renovated to house an inn and catering establishment the value and therefore the assessment and taxes would go up. But that's just me and my wild ideas.
b June 16, 2012 at 10:30 PM
I see J Cerna has morphed into a Meatball! gj - your plans mirror those of the Rechlers. Only time will tell.
New Guy June 17, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Hey, you seem to now it all.. Please share with us your grands plans for the east & west side, enlighten us, please do please do.
b June 17, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Since I don't own the property J Cerna aka Meatball, I have no "grand plans" for its development. Should you however care to educate yourself, the owners of the property have plans, which they have presented to the community as well as the town board. Their plans were produced by professionals who were in possession of the facts of what is required by Southampton town law to develop their property. That is the procedure for any development in the town. If you care to acquaint yourself with the facts, attend a meeting and find out what the facts are. The Rechlers have made presentations at more than a few venues. Those wishing to make an educated decision are able to do so. If you have a valid question, ask it, that is the reason the Town has things such as this scoping session. Throwing out nonsensical options and bandying about miss-truths is not helpful. You chose not to or could not defend one of the statements that you made. Simple? seems not.
New Guy June 17, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Happy for you, glad the tear down is being saved. So you are for the co-ops/condos on the other side? Since you are go and tell those nice people to start looking for jobs elsewhere... Meatball out
New Guy June 17, 2012 at 04:28 PM
So much for having an opinion Meatball out
b June 17, 2012 at 04:29 PM
There you go again J Cerna/Meatball, there are no plans for co-ops/condos on the west or east side of the canal. They would be Town Houses. They would be Town Houses because the community asked for a change from Condos to Town Houses due to the tax benefits. The property owners agreed without hesitation. Had you been at the public meeting where that was discussed, you'd already know that fact. Educate yourself! You persist in trying to make this about me. Supposedly I'm "mad", you are "happy for me", you ask my plans. You realize none of those comments change the fact that your statements were baseless. You state that it was "simple" yet other than attacking me or trying to guilt people into feeling badly for "those nice people" who will lose their jobs, you can't or won't add anything to the conversation that resembles a fact. Perhaps those "nice people" can look for jobs in the new establishments.You understand that there will be jobs at these locations. More than exist now actually. There I go again with those danged facts. You refer to the Inn, I guess, as a "tear-down". What are you basing that on? Are you an architect? A restoration specialist? When were you last in the building? Keep in mind that the place was rented as recently as 2 years ago. The Town code enforcement would shut the place down if it was falling down & a danger. Was that the case? Not disputing what you said. I am asking what you base that statement on. Care to offer a fact? Any fact!
New Guy June 17, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Ok Save CPI, build 40 townhomes, can't wait to see it Meatball out
b June 17, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Sigh, we aren't discussing "opinions", we are, or I am, discussing facts. Your opinion doesn't change the fact that the owners of the property have rights. You can hold whatever opinion you want to. It isn't going to change the facts J Cerna.
New Guy June 17, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Wow, this has really struck a nerve with you. Again WOW, thank you for your insight and long winded opinions. My opinion was terrible next time I will do a better job just for you. Meatball out
b June 17, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Sorry to disappoint you J. Cerna, but you haven't "struck a nerve". I was having a discussion based on the facts. You on the other hand have opinions that are not based in fact. It isn't a reflection on me that you can't back up anything you say. Facts. They are determined little things. Never said your "opinion was terrible". You said that. It seems this "struck a nerve" with you since you can't produce any facts to back up your statements and you keep saying that you are "out" yet here you are again! LOL
E. Trillo June 18, 2012 at 02:25 PM
The planning board should check out the "as of right". I see some documents that said the Motel zoning on the east side allow 10 units, another Rechler document says 15 units and another says 25 units. What is the correct answer. The town has the records and access to the correct answer. Also there is a rule that says if you don't rent your property for aver a year you loose the ability to rent in the future. The 20 rooms in the CPI havent been rented in many, many years. The town planning board should provide the correct answers before the MPDD is voted on. There is not enough public benefit to justify any zoning changes anyway.
b June 18, 2012 at 04:24 PM
I would hope that the Planning Board/Dept would know what "as of right" is, after all they are the ones who are paid to know what the zoning laws are. The Rechlers, or any other concern, do not dictate to the town/planning board/planning dept. what is "as of right" it is the other way around. I do not have the documents that you are referring to regarding the number of units on the east side. Do they stipulate the size of the units? The zoning hasn't changed on the Inn. If it is zoned for hotel use I didn't think it matter whether it was being used for that. Had the zoning changed and the building was grandfathered in, then they didn't use it as such, I'd see where what you state is true. Can you show me where this is found in the Town Code? I remember it being addressed in the past. I am sure if you contact the Planning Dept. they will provide you with the answers you seek.
Susan Crimi July 23, 2012 at 03:04 AM
I don't agree that the town houses should be built where CPI now stands. I have family who live just down the block and the traffic this would bring would be terrible. I do believe CPI's should be brought back to life.

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