The Southampton Town Board met Friday with representatives of developer Robert Morrow during a work session on his , a proposed shopping center on County Road 39 that has but found support among some speakers at the meeting.
Before Morrow and his LLC, Southampton Venture, can apply to the Planning Board for approval of a site plan, the Town Board must first decide on whether to grant a change of zone to Shopping Center Business.
Attorney John Wager and landscape architect Tim Rumpf explained Morrow's ambitions for the site, which have been curtailed since the Town Board , Tuckahoe Main Street, a planned development district that would have been on a larger parcel and included bigger buildings and both commercial and residential uses. The new plan is on 7.26 acres, which are predominantly in the Highway Business zone but a 50-foot wide swath is in a residential R-20 district.
A 40,000-square-foot King Kullen supermarket would anchor Tuckahoe Center, which would also include a 15,000-square-foot building with multiple storefronts for uses such as retail, a nail salon, coffee shop or card store, and a 3,500-square-foot bank with a drive-thru. A 100-foot buffer along County Road 39 would be landscaped.
Wagner, of Hauppauge law firm Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, called the planned King Kullen “a truly modern and state of the art supermarket,” which will be about equidistant between King Kullens in Hampton Bays and .
Wagner said the new supermarket would eliminate 700,000 vehicle miles per year by reducing the distance many residents drive to grocery shop.
He projected the shopping center would result in 300 temporary construction jobs, 125 permanent jobs at the supermarket and 75 permanent jobs between the retail building and bank. “This is a substantial boost in jobs for the area,” he said.
As for tax revenues, Wagner said the land currently contributes $39,245 annually in property taxes. He estimated that, after redevelopment, it would amount to $170,712. If a change of zone were not granted, and the land was developed under the existing Highway Business zoning rules, the new annual taxes would be nearly $100,000 less, he said.
Rumpf, of , explained that the design of the landscape, parking lot and buildings includes swales for stormwater runoff, permeable pavers and native vegetation. Solar panels and a green roof are also being considered.
Councilwoman Bridget Fleming the said the shopping center would be “truly enviro-sustainable” and act as a model for future development.
Other benefits extolled were fewer curb cuts on County Road 39 than Highway Business development would include. The project would include two curb cuts on County Road 39 and a Magee Street entrance.
Though there is no provision in the law for a public comment time during a work session on a proposed change of use, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said the Town Board and Mr. Morrow agreed to take comments, though they would not be included with the record of the application.
Attorney John Bennett, of law firm Bennett and Read, said, “It sure as hell will be a ‘model.’ It will be a model for more people to ask for a zone change to Shopping Center Business.” He refused to tell the Town Board whom he was representing.
Brian Tymann, who has an office on County Road 39, spoke in support of the proposed shopping center. He said it will bring economic, environmental and aesthetic improvements to the area. Others with businesses on 39, and a couple residents of the area, also spoke in favor.
Tony Pepitone, a King Kullen employee, said Southampton needs the jobs the supermarket would provide.
Business owner Glenn Olsen said he is glad someone is willing to take an eyesore and redevelop it into something advantageous to the community.
David D'Agostino, of Tuckahoe, said he is concerned about the traffic a shopping center would create on Magee Street, where the is.
Bonnie Goebert, the chair of the Southampton-Tuckahoe-Shinnecock Hills Citizens Advisory Committee, took issue with the market analysis Southampton Venture put forward, saying the population of North Sea, Shinnecock Hills and Tuckahoe is closer to 8,000 than 48,000.
“The board is moving along as if this was a given. This is not a given for many people,” committee member Frances Genovese said. “One man’s view, which is profit motivated, is not the community view.”
Valerie Hart, a Southampton Village resident, was concerned about what it would mean for the village’s future. “This project is practically on the line of the village,” she said. “It’s going to affect the village, and it’s going to effect the people who drive on County Road 39.”
Water Mill Citizens Advisory Committee Chair Rachel Vern, said the CAC is formally opposed to the change of zone. She added that she is a member of the town’s County Road 39 visioning committee, and “This application for zone change goes against everything we’re trying to do.”