"Unkind" Building Around Town
1. 353/359 Cranberry Hole Road
Here's part of what it says: "This 1.45 acre waterfront property is just such a rarity. The crystal-clear water of Napeague Bay is the aquatic playground lapping at the sand between your toes. The long crescent beach on which you reside extends all the way to the Devon Yacht Club. Across the road are over thirteen hundred acres of Napeague State Park and trails that connect all the way from Montauk to Shinnecock. You enjoy sweeping views of Amagansett North, Springs, Gardiners Bay, Gardiners Island, the North Fork and Connecticut and the ever-changing dance of water, sky, and light that only Mother Nature can provide in living color. This extraordinary combination of two single and separate parcels is being offered with an accompanying zoning analysis report and a concept design for up to a 6,415 square foot residence, generous decking, full size waterside pool, pool house and garage with septic system that conforms to building and zoning codes. The due diligence undertaken thus far provides considerable time savings and clarity for those interested in determining what may be possible to do with the property. With 270 feet of water frontage, you are just 2 miles to either the ocean beach or the village of Amagansett. Also available as two separate properties."
In this ad you will see a 1.45 acre parcel for sale listed at $9.3 million. It’s actually 2 separate lots side by side being listed together. 353 is developed with an existing 1740 sq ft, 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house and some kind of garage/accessory structure. The house is recognizable as something of an idiosyncratic structure because of its octagonal shape.
The other lot, 359, is undeveloped and mostly undisturbed from what we can tell.
This property fronts on Napeague Bay with a total of 270 feet of shoreline frontage. It sits across the road from iconic dune land designated as “scenic area of statewide significance.”
As you will see from the faux renderings in the ad, the agent is marketing aggressive redevelopment with maxed out structures, either two houses or one big one exceeding 6400 sq feet, plus “waterside pool,” pool house, garage and “generous” decking… " But there are designs included in the ad (click on their "floorpans" tab) that call for nearly 8,000 square feet of house size.
All in, this would appear to represent a proposed expansion of structure on this sensitive fragile shoreline property by a factor of probably 6x.
So why is this ad problematic, aside from the sheer scope/ scale of redevelopment being pushed?
First of all this very stretch of beach is perhaps the, or one of the, fastest eroding shorelines in all of East Hampton, with parcels in the area observed to be losing between 3 - 8 feet/yr due to ongoing chronic and episodic erosion. The Town’s recently adopted Coastal Assessment and Resilience Plan (CARP) also zeros in on this particular shoreline as being among the most vulnerable anywhere in Town.
Also, we note that owner of the house right next door at 369 CHR, which is now just a few feet from the water, earlier this year applied for/received a permit to pick up the house and other structures & move it all back towards the road.
Finally, a sizable development proposed for 425 CHR, just up the road was deniedin full by the ZBA as being far too intense for the characteristics of this area, a decision that was upheld by the Court when the applicant challenged with an Article 78 lawsuit.
And yet even with all that, the real estate brokerage is encouraging buyers to max out with an anything-goes attitude for this “aquatic playground.”
The language about “accompanying zoning analysis report” makes it sound like there been some kind of formal town review of all the plans proposed in the ad. The mention that elements “conform to building and zoning codes” and the study provides “clarity” about what one can do on the property also could be seen as misleading. In fact, anything planned on property will need to meet strict FEMA standards, require a Natural Resources Special Permit and perhaps variances and will undergo intense scrutiny by the town natural resources and planning departments as well as the ZBA and a public hearing.
The Napeague Bay shoreline is an area that should be about retreat; any development going forward here should have the lightest of footprints possible. Our zoning code needs to evolve further to ensure that.
The big question: how do we get our real estate ecosystem back on sides with the interests of their clients, prospective buyers, and the community overall?