Revised Tuckahoe Supermarket Plan Still Unpalatable to Citizens Advisory Committee

County Road 39 corridor study and plan for shopping center seen as contradictory.

A for a shopping center anchored by a supermarket in Tuckahoe is being met with ire by the Southampton-Shinnecock Hills-Tuckahoe Citizens Advisory Committee just as the first iteration of the plan did.

For the committee, the controversy speaks to a larger issue than one shopping center — it is about traffic and congestion in their community and on County Road 39, Southampton's primary thoroughfare.

Members of the committee, who are appointed by the Town Board, say that the supermarket plan contradicts a draft study of the County Road 39 corridor that aims to improve traffic flow and quality of development on the corridor, including design guidelines, gateways, pedestrian crossings and more greenery.

“The tension and the controversy isn't really over this current proposal, but it's longstanding,” acting Town Planning and Development Administrator Freda Eisenberg told the committee at a March 6 meeting. She noted that the corridor has more “special interest” sites than just the proposed supermarket — it also has , the fairgrounds and a driving range, all of which some residents fear could be redeveloped into something undesirable.

The shopping center proposal, put forward by developer Robert Morrow, includes a 40,000-square-foot supermarket, a 15,000-square-foot retail building and a 3,500 square foot bank. Before he can get his site plan approved, Morrow would need the Town Board to agree to change 7.3 acres currently zoned Highway Business to Shopping Center Business.

Though the plan is smaller than Morrow's original proposal on 12.4 acres, committee members concerns about increased traffic on County Road 39 have not been placated.

“No one really understand what it’s like to have children … going in an out of that road, crossing that road,” said committee member Lorraine Duryea. “More traffic on that road will be detrimental to everybody.”

Town planners are also looking at , a move that could help fill empty buildings on County Road 39. Eisenberg said the idea has been met with some opposition, but she noted that it is not part of the corridor study. Rather, a townwide project is looking at the town’s table of uses in the different zones and considering switching from the Standard Industrial Classification system to the newer North American Standard Industrial Classification.

Eisenberg said that under the current system, different town departments may classify the same business different ways. For instance, she said a department could consider a yoga studio “instruction,” while another classifies the same studio as “health and fitness.”

A town committee will go through each possible use and determine what is appropriate for each district, she said.

Committee member Bob Schepps suggested that the town just leave zoning be and let developers do what they can do as-of-right — and no more.

“Stop the up zoning, down zoning, sideways zoning, the square and obtuse zoning,” Schepps said.

Committee Chair Bonnie Goebert was also concerned about altering zoning. “It’s there for a reason,” she said. “It’s there to protect the property owners.”

“Is it a precedent?” Duryea said. “That’s the question we have to ask ourselves."

There will be a Town Board work session regarding the zoning change proposal on Friday. If the board does decide to put a zoning to a vote, there will be a public hearing beforehand, said Councilwoman Christine Preston Scalera, who attended the committee’s March 6 meeting, along with Councilman Chris Nuzzi.

Fred 'n Freeda March 14, 2012 at 12:25 PM
It would be easier pulling a jackass through the eye of a needle than convincing me that there's a "public benefit" in this project. It simply doesn't pass the test. If the Town Council thinks we're dumb enough to believe that that "custom made for Morrow CR 39 Study" wasn't made just for him, they have another dream coming. This smells of political payoff once again...if I were a local politician, I would label this whole deal "TOXIC".
Postman Sharp March 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM
There's a long history of objection to this project and the reasons are very clear and have not changed from the beginning. If government represents the people, as they're supposed to do, they will not change the zoning as clearly there is no public benefit from the proposed project, even if it has been scaled back.
Parfil March 14, 2012 at 12:43 PM
This property is not in the village
Frog Morton March 14, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Where is the public benefit from more unattractive vacant shops lining the roadway through "The Heart of The Hamptons"? To fill the present glut of empty shops on CR39, the Council is looking to increase permissible uses in the Business Zone. Does it dawn on them that the Morrow proposal adds to the problem? There are more vacancies on CR39 than we have seen in the history of that roadway...build more shops? This couldn't pass an 8th grade Economics class.
Nurse Ratchet March 14, 2012 at 12:45 PM
@Parfil If this has to be explained to you, you're missing the message entirely.
Parfil March 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM
We need a second "supermarket". Although I love Waldbaums, competition will give incentive to lower prices, and more, or different selections. When Gristedes was here, you could buy fancy pickles, and prime meats. They delivered. Even IGA offered an alternative.
Wilbur Freewright March 14, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Prove that the proposed changes have created a public benefit. It failed the sniff test during the Tuckahoe Mall review. Only the size and name have changed.
East End Farmer March 14, 2012 at 01:01 PM
@ Parfil - You don't sell out the history of a community's Main Street just to add another market. Those 15,000 square feet of shops are equivilent to half of one block on Jobs Lane. Do you really want to see those shops go dark? Now you've created the "core city effect" right here in Southampton Village. Do you want to be the politician responsible for that choice? Believe me when I say that we'll hang it around the neck of the politician who votes "yes" to add 15,000 square feet of retail space so close the our village. There are already thousands of square feet of empty shops just up the road. Only a fool would approve more.
Gramps Pupany March 14, 2012 at 01:07 PM
@David - The developers were heard bragging in very loud voices that they "owned" the Southampton Town Board and they didn't dare turn down his application. That was for the Tuckahoe Main Street project. Now they're back with a scaled down version with no more public benefit than the last one.
Fish Proudheart March 14, 2012 at 01:10 PM
michael Paraskevas March 14, 2012 at 01:14 PM
seems to me there are already enough empty stores all along 39 that need to be filled and aren't. The whole corridor is a mess and something should be done to fix it. At least plant some trees so we don't have to look at all the failed businesses. Your government at work. mickey
Parfil March 14, 2012 at 01:30 PM
@East End Farmer: There has always been business on County Road 39. Except for Stevenson's and Jildor, and maybe Chico's there is not one shop on Job's Lane that I personally frequent. What killed Job's Lane was the Library and Sak's moving. Those were the attractions. There are at least 5 jewellery stores in the village. How often does East End Farmer frequent them? The point is, the rents are year round and the business season is four months, at best.
Brendan J. O'Reilly (Editor) March 14, 2012 at 02:09 PM
All -- When Morrow was seeking a planned development district, he was required to demonstrate a public benefit. But he is not required to provide a public benefit on his new application for a change of zone. However, in a previous article, I quoted from a letter to the town from Southampton Venture: ... a supermarket would “provide convenient shopping opportunities for the North Sea, Southampton and Tuckahoe communities,” “provide much needed jobs for the local community,” and would result in fewer curb cuts on County Road 39 that piecemeal development of properties would create and be more aesthetically pleasing than what is there now. Southampton Venture is also offering the town a $150,000 contribution for open space preservation in the 11968 ZIP code and/or Tuckahoe School District.
Diane Sadowski March 14, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Im with Parfil. Who shops at "Brooks Brothers". And what do shops have to do with history. If you want history, shouldnt we be promoting farming? The Tuck center is a good idea and a good location, with access to villagers without going onto "39". And therefore, traffic should actually decrease, because many persons currnetly have to shop in Riverhead. Wow how green is that? Saving how many jaunts of 17 miles one way to shop. Savings on gas too! It is business zoned, so be careful what you wish for.
David D'Agostino March 14, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I sincerely hope that the residents of Tuckahoe cannot be purchased for $150K
David D'Agostino March 14, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Beyond fulfilling a selfish need for convenience to those who find it too difficult to drive to one of the three supermarkets in a five mile radius, there is not one.
David D'Agostino March 14, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Ms. Sadowski, the argument that a 40,000 square foot supermarket with nearly 500 parking spaces, an additional restaurant and another bank will actually "decrease" traffic on 39 is, respectfully, laughable. As for villagers being able to get there without using 39, the traffice will turn Bishop's Lane and Magee street, now quiet, residential side streets, into major thoroughfares.
Penny March 14, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I'm tired of having to spend my time and money driving to Bridgehampton, Hampton Bays, or Riverhead (especially in slow summer traffic) just to shop in a decent grocery store. I am sorry that Gristedes and IGA pulled out of Southampton Village. They left a huge gap that Waldbaum's doesn't fill, and a grossly overpriced Fresh Market won't help. Empty stores in Southampton Village are the responsibility of greedy landlords and the Boards who created so many rules that it is nearly impossible to rent or do business there. The Village is not my problem. Lack of decent local grocery shopping is, and a Tuckahoe shopping center could be the answer for a lot of us. PS- Vacancies on CR39 are largely because it is unsafe to enter and exit so many places, especially after the horrible road renovation that was done a few years ago. With the light at Magee Street, the Tuckahoe shopping center will offer much safer access.
Sal Governale March 14, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Why are the people against this so afraid to allow others to voice their opinion? The job of government is to adhere to the wishes of the majority and the qualifications of the majority have nothing to do with how much noise you make. There are many that are for this and they have all voiced this to the board. Flame all you want. The fat lady is singing.
David D'Agostino March 14, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Sal, the bigger question is why those that support this change of zoning are afraid to allow others to voice their opinion, especially those of us who live near the proposed site? The last time this proposal was brought before the public, there were more than 200 citizens in attendance. A poll was taken and the vast majority of those present were opposed and still are. The fat lady can sing all she wants, but her voice will not silence mine.
bonnie goebert March 14, 2012 at 05:09 PM
All you people who want this 40,000 sf King Kullen (twice the size of the Mercedes dealership) tell me how you're going to get there. Along CR-39 on a hot July day ... or through all the side streets where you may hit a child, a dog, a mailman or a resident trying to pull out of his driveway. And, competition does NOT lower prices. Read "Blue Ocean." We are not in the 1800's.
Parfil March 14, 2012 at 05:13 PM
There is no other supermarket within 5 miles of where I live, Southampton Village.
Faustina March 14, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Freda Eisenberg's comment about the controversy "not being about the Morrow project" is as stupid as her comments in the Cty Rd 39 Study that people don't care about the uses on the highway they only care about the impact -- as if those could be separated. Could she really state this after the drubbing she got at the CAC for her pro Morrow stance and her glaring ommission from the Cty Rd 39 "Study". This Murphree-ette- developers-water carrier,is being paid $106,000 a year, plus $12,000 - $15,000 in benefits to waste time, money and patience. She is a major obfuscator as well as a major pain.....etc.
Parfil March 14, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Who's the "fat lady?
David D'Agostino March 14, 2012 at 09:31 PM
You'd have to ask Sal from above. I was referencing his belief that this is a done deal. Perhaps he has some inside info.
Parfil March 14, 2012 at 10:58 PM
What fat lady?
East End Farmer March 15, 2012 at 12:31 AM
@ Parfil - While you may have only frequented the library and Saks, Jobs Lane has had for many generations the reputation of being Fashion Lane in Southampton Village. Granted this may not appeal to you, but it appeal so many, sufficient to keep these businesses there for many, many years. I shop on Jobs Lane every week and make it a point to support Southamptn Village shops year-round. A shiny new penny is not an attraction to this old moneyed man...not by a long shot. I also shop at Brooks Brothers, Ms. Sadowski. As for the jewelry stores, I recently bought two rings from Corwiths. Support local business or they WILL die.
Daphne Gil March 18, 2012 at 01:27 AM
peapod is very convenient and greener
susan December 06, 2012 at 12:51 PM
the developer states he anticipates 2,500 cars PER DAY at the shopping center. the current plans include an entrance on Magee St as well as 2 driveways directly on cr39. how safe will that make cr39?? how safe will that make the currently quiet back roads of Bishops Lane, Moses Lane, Magee St, etc?? and, with a 3rd King Kullen, Waldbaum's will possibly go out of business which will create a virtual monopoly.
susan December 06, 2012 at 12:52 PM
or mine


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