Planning board bats down Montauk resort’s proposed expansion

Plans too big and problematic for 435 East Lake Drive: town board

Montauk resort proposal faces planning board resistance
435 East Lake Drive in Montauk LI (Google Maps)

A developer in Montauk is likely feeling crabby this holiday season after his plans for the former Rick’s Crabby Cowboy Cafe were trashed by the town’s planning board.

The East Hampton Town Planning Board criticized the resort’s proposal at 435 East Lake Drive during a meeting on Dec. 15, according to The East Hampton Star. The board largely took issue with the size and scope of the proposal.

Developer Jeremy Morton purchased the 6.8-acre cafe site in April for $13.9 million. He has since proposed rolled out massive plans for the property, including a 14-unit resort, a single-family residence, a 110-seat restaurant, a bar, a swimming pool and a fitness center.

One of the biggest concerns aired by the planning board related to the town’s septic system. Town planner Marco Wu said three-quarters of the site would need to be raised at least four feet for the development, creating runoff problems for neighbors and nearby Lake Montauk.

“I just want to emphasize that this project is way out of bounds,” board member Lou Cortese said, according to the Star. “It is way too large. There are so many different problems with it.”

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Wu added that all of the proposed resort units are almost twice the allowable size and two of the units are nearly quadruple the allowable size of 1,200 square feet.

“I think you have to start over,” the board’s vice chairwoman Kathy Cunningham told the developer’s attorney, who was representing Morton at the meeting.

Attorney Brian Matthews reportedly resisted the planning board’s complaints, insisting there’s “a right to redevelop the property.”

“Nothing stays the same, like it or not,” Matthews said, according to the outlet.

According to the Star, the planning board will reconvene in 2022 to discuss the project. One member of the board has called for a proposal that conforms to the zoning code in place for the site. Because of the location of the property, reviews will also be required from the State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Federal Aviation Administration.

[East Hampton Star]Holden Walter-Warner

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