For many, Tide Runners in Hampton Bays is a gem.
And for many the east side of the Shinnecock Canal is being threatened by the proposal to rehabilitate the Canoe Place Inn, an effort that has been under review for years.
Dozens of Southampton Town residents have voiced opinions in both support and opposition of a plan put forth by developers Gregg and Mitchell Rechler to erect 40 vacation town homes. The pair pitched a maritime planned development district that also includes restoring the inn to a catering facility. Tide Runners bar and restaurant would be replaced with said townhouses and boat slips. A public hearing was scheduled for yesterday at Southampton Town Hall, as The Independent went to press.
An online petition was set up recently to support the lively bar and restaurant, with organizers saying, "We set the online petition up after hearing many locals and visitors say things like, 'It is a crime to build condos here' and 'I've been coming here all of my life, townhomes here will kill my memories.'" According to the Facebook page "Save Tide Runners," over 700 people have signed the petition.
Tide Runners supporters drafted a letter to the governor, state senate and state house, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, the Southampton Town Board, Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer and the town trustees. The letter said, "I feel the Town of Southampton and Hampton Bays should preserve the east side of the Shinnecock Canal. I want to maintain the current zoning on the eastern side of the canal to allow for continued public access, and keep it as a Waterfront Restaurant and Shopping district for all locals and visitors to enjoy. The east side of the Canal has over 90 years of history and memories for thousands of visitors and locals. It is a place that everyone should be able to enjoy. Not just 40 townhome owners."
So far, five local citizen advisory committees have endorsed the Rechler's proposal. Bruce King, a president of the Hampton Bays Civic Association called the proposal "a chance to save CPI." Development, King said, is inevitable: "It will change no matter how much we love it."
Stephen Ryan, one of the owners of the canal-side restaurant said the town would be losing something its people really enjoy.
Councilwoman Bridget Fleming responded to the petition last week.
"I continue to support the rehabilitation of the Canoe Place Inn," she wrote. "I also understand that there are a number of aspects of the project that must be carefully considered in the town board's deliberations on the proposal. I look forward to hearing input and feedback from the community during the continued public hearing process."