East Hampton officials eye zoning code change

Working group to kick off with residential zoning assessment

A photo illustration of East Hampton Town councilperson Cate Rogers (Getty, East Hampton Town Democratic Party, United States Census Bureau, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
A photo illustration of East Hampton Town councilperson Cate Rogers (Getty, East Hampton Town Democratic Party, United States Census Bureau, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

An onslaught of building permits in recent months has both residents and officials contemplating the future of developing in East Hampton Town.

Council member Cate Rogers launched a working group this week aimed at studying possible amendments to the zoning code, the East Hampton Star reported. Outsized houses are among the key concerns.

“In the past few years, we have experienced a development boom that is currently authorized by the town code but unprecedented in mass, size, and scale,” Rogers said during a board meeting.

There were at least 137 building permits issued in each of the last four months, peaking at 190 in March, according to supervisor Peter Van Scoyochas, who called the development trends “very disturbing for longtime residents like myself.”

Rogers’ working group will start by assessing residential zoning and issues including house sizes, clearing, lot coverage and the classification of natural grade and below-grade development. It will collect data regarding new house sizes, zoning board variance requests and violations processed by the local court.

Rogers took up the cause after an Amagansett resident campaigned to restrain development, before petitioning to the board last month and going as far as to call for a moratorium on large residential construction, an idea Rogers dismissed.

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The working group includes one other council member in Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, as well as the town’s chief building inspector and the director of the Planning Department. Rogers has nine years of experience on the zoning board, seven of which she served as vice chairperson.

Southold Town, located in North Fork, recently banned construction of large homes except on very large lots. The village of North Haven in Southampton recently proposed stricter rules for cleaning mature trees, another tact that could limit development.

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