In New York’s Hamptons, Size May Start To Matter!

Long Island,real estate,Hamptons

Currently there are discussions taking place in three of the tonier towns on the East End of Long Island (Southampton, East Hampton and Sag Harbor) to limit the size of new construction!

For those living elsewhere around the country, the Hamptons is a region on Long Island in New York with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world amid small towns where year-round residents live side-by-side with ‘transients’ who typically arrive on Memorial Day and leave Labor Day.

But in this world 100 miles or so east of New York City where a ‘mine is bigger than yours’ mentality in terms of a homes square footage can sometimes exist, within some Town Halls trouble may be brewing on the horizon for new residential construction!

Of course it also goes without saying that where there is a finite supply of buildable land available for prospective homeowners along with millions of dollars to potentially be made by builders, the real estate developers and the wealthy individuals who they cater to are certainly not planning to go down without a fight!

Summer visitors run the gamut from twenty and thirty-somethings who rent ‘share’ houses en masse to some of the nations wealthiest individuals with extremely recognizable names.

Personally, by having the opportunity each summer to participate in a 30-mile bicycle ride for the Wounded Warrior Project (join us July 18th, 2015 here) that stretches from Amagansett to Sag Harbor and back, I see firsthand how new mega-homes can sit next door to cottages that have been there for decades.

Some East End Towns Are Starting To Fighting Back!

Needless to say any battle between limitations on residential development and an attempt to preserve the character of a town promises to be contentious!

From Newsday, ‘In the Hamptons, where social status is tallied in square feet, officials in three of the most exclusive villages are trying to downsize mansions and upend what some see as a worrisome trend.

Residents in Southampton Village have complained that developers in the past year have squeezed six- and seven-bedroom houses onto 1-acre and half-acre lots, altering the village’s look and character.

Officials have responded by exploring ways to scale down new mansions, including “spec” houses that developers build without specific buyers in mind and plan to put on the market once they’re completed.

East Hampton Village officials have drafted tighter restrictions on the sizes of homes on lots larger than an acre in an attempt to get ahead of an anticipated wave of teardown home redevelopments.

Sag Harbor Village officials may impose a three-month moratorium on the construction of houses over 3,000 square feet and reconstructions that increase the size of a house by more than 50 percent, village attorney Fred Thiele Jr. said. The goal is to give village officials time to consider new regulations on house size, he said…

…Municipal officials said the concerns grew out of a post-recession luxury home construction boom in the Hamptons. Building permits issued in Southampton more than tripled in two years, rising to 387 in 2014 from 128 in 2012, village officials said, with some new mansions looming over more modest neighbors.

“It’s all tied to the housing market,” said Lisa Liquori, an East Hampton planning consultant who has studied the trend for the past year for the Southampton Association civic group. “With land prices and housing prices continuing to escalate, people buying a residential lot want to maximize it.”

Ann Pyne, an interior designer who has owned a home in Southampton for 32 years, said her historic neighborhood around Hill Street exemplifies the trend. Last year, a 5,500-square-foot spec house was built on a 1.2-acre lot next to hers. Pyne said it clashes with the area’s 19th-century farmhouses, which are generally about 2,400 square feet — roughly the size of her house…


Article author Michael Haltman is the President of Hallmark Abstract Service in New York.

HAS is a provider of title insurance in New York State for residential and commercial real estate transactions.

For anyone either buying or refinancing a property your attorney will likely recommend a title insurance provider, although you always have the right to choose your own (click here to learn more)!

If you have any questions you can reach Michael by email at

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