Promise Of Park At Bel-Aire Site

Stephen J. Kotz
Hampton Bays Civic Association President Maria Hults has been an advocate for preserving the Bel-Aire Cove Motel parcel by turning it into parkland.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman has promised to keep Hampton Bays’ Bel-Aire Cove Motel property community parkland until it sells.

However, Schneiderman said he believes someone will purchase the parcel and turn it into a 22-unit boutique hotel or 11 condominiums.

“This is until it does sell, so it’s on an interim basis,” Schneiderman said. “I’m confident it will sell.”

Because the Southampton Trustees own adjacent land, Hampton Bays Civic Association president Maria Hults said she thought it would be fitting to make the area a community park. She noted the nearby location of Station Bar and The Hamlet restaurants on Shinnecock Road.

“You can have a healthy smoothie and walk down to the water,” she said. “It would be wonderful to launch kayaks from there, let people enjoy the water.”

The town has not closed on the property yet, and would still need to raze the building, put in a new wastewater system, and get the permits in place. Once that’s complete, an outside company will be working with members of the civic and beautification associations, as well as the hamlet’s citizens advisory committee to create proposed renderings similar to what the town did in designing the renovation of the Ponquogue Beach pavilion.

“This was the best we could negotiate with them at this time,” Hults said. “But it desperately needs to be cleaned up. I think that’s one thing we can all agree upon.”

The property has been a community eyesore for years, and was recently the center of heated debates over whether to purchase the property using the Community Preservation Fund, which Hults and leaders of other local groups were in favor of. That idea, brought forth in a resolution by Councilwoman Christine Preston Scalera, did not receive any support from the other board members, who voted in favor of Schneiderman’s idea to purchase the property for $1.06 million and ready it for market.

The current owner let the property operate as a year-round residence, which was found to have several units with bedbugs, electrical violations, missing smoke detectors, overcrowding, and property maintenance issues during a code enforcement raid in October 2017.

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