[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Southampton 1-14-2003 by L.L. No. 1-2003; amended in its entirety 10-24-2003 by L.L. No. 71-2003. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
In 1970, the Town Board of the Town of Southampton adopted a Master Plan, which states long-term planning objectives, establishes a general plan to guide both public and private development, addresses critical community planning issues, including protection of natural resources, provision of affordable housing, forecasting the need for improved or additional municipal facilities, sustaining the local economy, and improving transportation management.
The 1970 Master Plan provides a Detail Master Plan for the Eastport-Remsenburg-Speonk-Westhampton area and identifies the Village Business Center at Speonk as the convenience shopping center for the southwestern portion of the Town, while recognizing that the hamlet of Westhampton is within the service area of the Village of Westhampton Beach's shopping center on the east and the Hamlet of Eastport will at least be in part oriented to the Eastport business center in the Town of Brookhaven.
The 1970 Master Plan indicates two centers for "highway business" which are presently shown on the Zoning Map as an extension to the east of the Speonk Village Business Center and an area on Montauk Highway located in Westhampton in connection with a motel area. The 1970 Master Plan also indicates a third type of business area located in Eastport called "resort waterfront business," which provides for waterfront services, including resort motels. The 1970 Master Plan projects that the primary land use within the hamlets of Eastport, Remsenburg-Speonk, and Westhampton will continue to be residential in character, primarily low-density, single-family detached housing.
During the 1980s, updates to the Town's 1970 Master Plan were adopted to effectuate rezoning of areas within the Town in the interest of drinking water protection. In 1992 the Speonk-Remsenburg Study was completed which examined local land use issues and problems and recommended specific implementation goals and objectives. In March 1999 the Town Board adopted the Comprehensive Plan Update.
The 1999 Comprehensive Plan Update (Update) builds upon the 1970 Master Plan, both of which identify a number of significant land use, transportation, zoning, and capital improvement strategies focused on hamlet business centers. The 1999 Comprehensive Plan specifically states that the western portion of the Southampton Town has the greatest need for resort-related development since it generally exhibits the highest tax rates and a greater trend toward conversion of second homes to year-round residences. The Update points out that since the western portion of the Town has better highway access, it at least marginally is better able to absorb the demand of resort-tourism visitation without detriment to the physical or social environment.
The Update indicates that development, left to its own devices, will attempt to spread out on the Montauk Highway arterial in Speonk and that commercial sprawl ought be contained. The Update recommends that assets such as the historic railroad station, post office and "town greens" be utilized to anchor the hamlet center and foster a sense of community.
The Update suggests enhancement of community gateways and scenic views. The Update recommends that to the east and west of the hamlet center at Speonk, that residential land uses be promoted, including possible senior housing, which is considered tax-ratable development and a low-traffic-generating use. The Update indicates a specific action item to establish public open space to the immediate west and north of the Speonk Hamlet Center to accommodate park facilities. The Town's outreach efforts for preservation of farmland have been broadened to include areas located in the Eastport, Speonk, and Westhampton area for possible purchase or transfers of development rights.
The Update suggests the use of Planned Development District (PDD) zoning and Hamlet Office / Residential (HO) zoning to promote traditional neighborhood development built forms and densities to the west, north and east, as well as to promote dedication of public open space. The Update encourages the use of PDD zoning to promote purchase of development rights (PDRs) or transfer of development rights (TDRs) or Pine Barrens Credits (PBCs) in connection with the Central Pine Barrens Comprehensive Land Use Plan and preservation elsewhere in the vicinity.
The 1999 Comprehensive Plan Update defines specific areas that will be addressed by the Eastport-Remsenburg-Speonk-Westhampton Area Strategy Study, including but not limited to:
Changes to the Town Code;
Changes to the Town Zoning Map;
Preparation of specific design guidelines;
Identification of community planning goals and public benefits;
Implementation of recommendations for senior housing, multifamily housing and resort-tourism economic development; and
Protection of natural, historic, agricultural and scenic resources and community character.
The Western Generic Environmental Impact Statement (WGEIS) and the 1999 Comprehensive Plan Update recommend that the introduction of elder-care facilities and senior housing be coupled with TDRs and PBCs program requirements.
The Update recommends the official designation of "scenic resource areas" and "scenic resource protection overlay zones" in order to protect the important scenic resources of the Town.
The Town's efforts to support sound planning, zoning, and public investment in the hamlets have contributed to the confidence of private investors. A rational and comprehensive development, zoning, design, transportation, and public investment strategy study for the Eastport-Remsenburg-Speonk-Westhampton Area, as outlined by the 1999 Comprehensive Plan Update, will continue to contribute to these efforts. Without the benefit of essential community planning as recommended by the 1999 Comprehensive Plan Update, the overall long-term strategy could be undermined as a result of uncoordinated short-term growth.
In order to respond to this need, an area-wide strategy study has been initiated for the Hamlets of Eastport, Remsenburg, Speonk and Westhampton. The study is ongoing, and the Town is extending the existing moratorium for an additional three months on properties within the communities of Eastport, Remsenburg, Speonk and Westhampton, prohibiting the acceptance of new change-of-zone petitions and use variances and the approval of pending change-of-zone petitions and use variances in order to allow time to complete the study. The intent of the moratorium is to provide time to effectuate sound community planning and implement the objectives of the 1999 Town Comprehensive Plan, including but not limited to:
Changes in the Town Zoning Code with respect to current commercial, residential and industrial zoning;
Accommodating tax ratable and resort-tourism development;
Creating a better sense of identity for the Eastport, Remsenburg, Speonk and Westhampton hamlets;
Coordinating development with neighboring downtown commercial center in the Village of Westhampton Beach and in Eastport in the Town of Brookhaven;
Protecting natural, historic, agricultural, and scenic resources and community character.
This chapter is adopted pursuant to the Municipal Home Rule Law and the State Environmental Quality Review Act and its implementing regulations and expressly supersedes any provisions of Chapters 247, 292 and 330 of the Town Code of the Town of Southampton and Article 16 of the Town Law of the State of New York. In particular, this chapter shall supersede those provisions of the Town Code and New York State law which require the Town Board, Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals to accept, process and approve applications within certain statutory time periods.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all lands within the Town of Southampton that are within the boundaries of the Eastport, Remsenburg, Speonk and Westhampton Hamlet areas as defined as the study area that shall consist of that area, more particularly described as:
In addition, the Town Clerk has on file the boundary map of the Eastport, Remsenburg, Speonk and Westhampton moratorium dated July 9, 2002.
The Town Board of the Town of Southampton shall not approve any application for a change-of-zone within the study area defined in § 307-3 during this moratorium.
The Board of Zoning Appeals of the Town of Southampton shall not approve any application for a use variance within the study area defined in § 307-3 during this moratorium.
No new applications affected by this section shall be accepted by an agency of the Town of Southampton after the effective date of this chapter, except as provided herein.
The following applications are excluded from this chapter:
Applications may be exempted from the provisions of this chapter, following a public hearing on notice before the Town Board. Upon such application, the Town Board shall consider:
The size of the subject parcel;
The proximity of the applicant's premises to pine barrens, wetlands, endangered plant and animal species, wildlife and other similar environmental concerns;
The extent of the proposed development and/or disturbance of the applicant's premises;
The environmental significance, if any, of the applicant's parcel and the proposed development's impact upon the environment, including existing transportation resources;
Compatibility of the proposed development with the aesthetic resources of the community or with the existing community or neighborhood character; and
Compatibility of the proposed development with the recommendations of the 1999 Comprehensive Plan Update and all previous Comprehensive Plans starting with the Town's 1970 Master Plan.
In making a determination under Subsection A, the Town Board may obtain and consider written reports from the Department of Land Management and such other sources as required in the judgment of the Town Board and consistent with the purpose of this chapter. A grant of an exemption to an applicant's premises shall include a determination of unnecessary hardship and unique circumstances which do not generally apply throughout the study area set forth in § 307-3 and a finding that the grant of an exemption will be in harmony with and will not be unduly disruptive to the goals and purposes of the area strategy study undertaken pursuant to this chapter.
An application under Subsection A shall be accompanied by a fee of $500, 18 copies of the application, together with the applicant's written undertaking, in a form to be approved by the Town Attorney, and, in substance, approved by the Town Board, to pay either in advance or by reimbursement, at the Town Board's on-going election, any out-of-pocket costs incurred by the Town in studies and/or by retainer of resource personnel and relating to the hearing, review, and determination of such application.