BRIDGEHAMPTON HAMLET PLAN RESIDENTIAL RECOMMENDATIONS
When the Bridgehampton Citizens’ Advisory Committee voted in 2008 to develop an internally proposed comprehensive plan, it identified the concerned area in a far wider, less centralized portion than that described in the February 24, 2004 Plan. As a result a heavy portion of the newly described hamlet’s geography enclosed the majority of the residential portions in the locale described commonly as “Bridgehampton”. The consideration of an amended Comprehensive Plan for Bridgehampton hamlet must therefore place far more emphasis upon the housing/residential structure of the community than did the 2004 study.
For the most part residences in Bridgehampton Hamlet are single-family individual households dwelt in year around. Some of these residences also may contain extended family members. On a year around basis. On the South side of the Montauk Highway residences are almost totally single-family homes with a large majority dedicated to part time residents. On the North side of the Montauk Highway the profile of residences tends to shift to more fulltime single family residences, a minority of part time residences, with scattered number of multiple family homes and a rare number of apartments.
The development of residences in Bridgehampton devoted to mostly part time residents dates back to the early 19th Century; however, it was not until the early 1970s that a substantial increase in seasonal housing construction was undertaken. Since that time Bridgehampton has taken its place alongside the other Southampton and East Hampton communities as a desired destination in the Hamptons for part time residents. As open land has increasingly seen development, the remaining properties available for development have increased in value and resulted in ever climbing market prices. At the same time developed properties and their residences have mirrored the ever-increasing market prices.
As existing houses have come on the market in the past decade, the resale values of the actual residential structures have often dropped even as the underlying land values have increased.
Some results of this residential growth during the past decade are but are not limited to:
- Substantial increase in the number of built up and presently vacant major and minor subdivisions on both sides of the highway.
- Major development in flood plain areas, including along the Atlantic Beachfront.
- Population migration by year around residents out of the hamlet to less expensively taxed locales.
- Movement of the energetic younger population away from Bridgehampton
- Increased ratio of nonvoting taxpaying residents relative to voting taxpayers
- Increased community service costs including road maintenance, police supervision, utility maintenance, fire and ambulance emergency services.
- Decrease in school population
- Decrease in merchant facilities addressing local needs
- Increase in non retail commercial venues (Real Estate, Financial Institutions)
Probable Outlook for Residential Profile during the next Decade
In spite of the serious recession now underway, the resilience of the residential market in Bridgehampton has been gratifying. The hamlet has undergone serious economic and environmentally hard periods many times before in its history but remains a desirable community in which to reside for part time and year around residents. Doubtless there has been serious exuberant construction of large houses, but as yet the threat of foreclosure has been minor. The year of 2010 may prove the undoing of this optimistic forecast, but although prices of houses and properties may tumble, the odds are that present or future owners will take up the challenge. Meanwhile, through the challenging summer of 2009, most properties have been adequately maintained and at least from the exterior, it appears most residences are also being adequately maintained
With the substantial supply of properties and house on the market, and the limited supply of additional vacant land available for development it would appear that the rampant development schedule of the last decade has been curtailed for the foreseeable future within the hamlet of Bridgehampton.
Residential Sites: As stated in the 2004 study; “The Town should encourage the construction of” [new or adaptation of existing] “ variety of housing types – apartments, small houses, community housing (below market- rate) , and senior housing – in order to keep the community’s existing variety of households. This hamlet has historically been home to diverse families and families of varying incomes. This aspect of the community’s character is as important as its hamlet character and farmland. And should not be lost. Especially important will be a commitment to community housing,” [in order to forestall the further migration of present residents and members of the younger generation because of f the lack of affordable housing].
Existing Land Use Pattern and Zoning.. It is imperative that present Zoning and Use codes be maintained in the hamlet and that exceptions or amendments be strictly limited to hardship cases.. Efforts should be made that encourage presently undeveloped or unbuilt-upon tracts be returned to the open land stock of the hamlet.