The Southampton Town Board and the King Kullen developer continually assert that there is a crying need for the 60,000-square-foot Tuckahoe Mega-Mall development without any backup. When the board has been pressed to define this need, the answer is almost always anecdotal, “People tell me we need a new grocery store,” or “People don't like Waldbaums.” Community “need” is not just a catchphrase; it is a legal standard that must be met. Still, the Southampton Town Board has elected to allow the Tuckahoe mega-mall developer to move to a formal change of zoning application without having quantified need.
The developer's answer is to assert that, whether needed or not, the 60,000-square-foot strip mall will “serve” 48,000 people and includes alleged shoppers from as far away as North Haven. However the 2010 census data shows the combined population of North Sea, Tuckahoe and Shinnecock Hills to be no more than 8,000. You simply cannot rationalize the building of a 60,000-square-foot, King Kullen mega-mall when there are already two other King Kullen mega-malls within 7 miles in either direction.
As for the much talked about tax dollars that this strip-mall would supposedly bring to the district: the Hampton Bay's King Kullen mall, created by this same developer, opened in June of 2002 and soon after they filed to reduce their assessment. The tax assessment files are confusing and often difficult to follow, but as far as I can tell, the assessed value of the shopping center was dropped from about $45 million to approximately $23 million where it will remain until the end of this year when they will presumably seek legal means to get it reduced once again.
And what has this Board to say about the anticipated mega-negative impacts on traffic, surrounding streets, safety, aesthetics, and property values? These were given short shrift in favor of enthusiastic comments about a few feet of green roofing and environmental templates for future development. The most obvious environmental safeguard would be to “elect” not to build this totally unnecessary megamonster in the first place.
From the outside looking in, this entire process which seemingly encourages community input, while ignoring what the community actually says, appears as nothing more than a sham. With the original King Kullen PDD application the developer was going for the entire pie, knowing full-well that in the end he might have to settle for a few slices now, and the rest later after he got his zone change, which the board appears ready to grant.
We live in this community, some have children who attend the and ride their bikes on Bishop’s Lane and Magee Street. We have seen our hamlet turned into an industrial/commercial dumping ground and we oppose any further destruction of our neighborhood facilitated by indiscriminate spot zoning at each and every developer’s request.
We oppose the Tuckahoe Shopping Center and we call on the Board to act now in the community’s best interest by denying this egregious spot-zoning request, join us at www.NOTuckahoeMall.com