Affordable housing plan divides Amagansett residents

Residents of the East Hampton community of Amagansett are split on a plan to build an affordable housing complex in their area.

Residents of the East Hampton community of Amagansett are split on a plan to build an affordable housing complex in their area.

Residents of the East Hampton community of Amagansett are split on a plan to build an affordable housing complex in their area. (5/9/16)

AMAGANSETT - Residents of the East Hampton community of Amagansett are split on a plan to build an affordable housing complex in their area.

The 40-unit housing complex would be built on a 4.5-acre site on Montauk Highway, next to a gas station and near the community preserve. The East Hampton Town Housing Authority says the complex would be made up of a cluster of cottages and one 2,000-square-foot commercial building. The Authority hopes to complete the project by 2018.

But the plan has sparked dueling online petitions both against and in support of the complex.

Some residents have expressed concern that additional students would strain the school district's budget. Officials estimate there would be an additional 40 to 80 children living at the complex. They also say the project will increase the schools tax between 8 and 17 percent.

"The housing project is going to cause an increase in population of 140 people in a community of 1,165," says resident Anna Bernasek. "That's a 12 percent increase. That's a large increase in the population of this little village. And my concern is we haven't really fully thought through the impact of all of that."

At a community meeting Monday evening on the issue, some residents opposed to the plan called for studies into how the development would affect traffic and water in the area.

"Many of the people that are working here, husbands and wives, cannot afford to live here," says East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell. "So people are moving out of town to Hampton Bays and Riverhead and other places, and then fighting traffic to get to their jobs in this community."

Cantwell says the town and its planning board will hold more public hearings on the issue before any decisions are made.

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