472 First Neck Lane, Southampton, NY

472 First Neck Lane, Southampton, NY

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View the plans to expand Mocomanto below.

On May 31, an application was filed with the Southampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals for a “Dimensional Variance,” a “Special Exception,” and a “Wetland Special Permit.”  These variances and permits seek approval to tear down nearly half of Mocomanto, one of the most historic houses in Southampton Village.  Mocomanto, located at 472 First Neck Lane, sits prominently on Lake Agawam and was a featured house on the Southampton Historical Museum’s 2016 Southampton House Tour.  It is highlighted in Houses of the Hamptons 1880-1930.  This application seeks approval to engulf Mocomanto with an entirely new house, connected to another house.    

Mocomanto has a long and distinguished history.  This home was built in the 1880s by Frederic Betts, one of the original Southampton summer colonists.  While traveling in Italy, Mrs. Betts purchased a gondola that she had shipped to Southampton.  Every Sunday, poled by the family’s four footmen, the gondola crossed the lake to deliver Mrs. Betts to morning services at St. Andrew’s Church on the dunes. The house remained in the Betts family until 1969, and subsequent owners have honored its provenance – UNTIL NOW.

The new owner of Mocomanto wants to replace this elegant house — dubbed “The Jewel of Southampton Village” in the Images of America book series – with a much larger structure.  This new McMansion – in reality, two houses joined by a connector over protected wetlands – would bear little resemblance to Mocomanto.  The proposed expansion, which would more than double the footprint of Mocomanto, by adding ten rooms, a two-car garage, a large gardening shed and six bathrooms.  Mocomanto is already 7,000 square feet.  

If this unprecedented proposal is approved, historic homes all around Lake Agawam will be turned into McMansions through the use of connectors over protected wetlands.   This development will stress the Lake’s already dangerous ecology.   In May 2017, the Suffolk County Health Department confirmed that a new cyanobacteria bloom has formed in Lake Agawam.  If ingested, cyanobacteria can cause serious illness in adults and can be fatal to small children and pets.  The massive expansion of historic homes around Lake Agawam will turn the Lake into a cesspool, destroying its beauty for future generations.

CHANGE.ORG PETITION: https://www.change.org/p/mayor-michael-irving-save-mocomanto-lake-agawam