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Supermarket Law Opponent Suggests Condemning Waldbaum's

Abraham Wallach wants the Southampton Village Board to use eminent domain to buy the grocery store and have a developer expand the building into a bigger supermarket.

The Southampton Village Board had it out again Tuesday with one of the of a to be built in the Highway Business district.

Abraham Wallach, a village resident who has promised to sue if the Village Board adopts the supermarket legislation, came before the board during Tuesday evening’s work session to pitch an alternative plan that he says would resolve the village’s need for a new supermarket while avoiding changes to the zoning code and a costly lawsuit over allegations of illegal spot zoning.

“You don’t need two supermarkets,” he told the board.

Wallach is proposing that the village buy the existing grocery store on Jagger Lane and two adjacent lots, one with a physical therapist’s office and the other a historic house owned by the . He said a combined parcel would encompass 3 acres, allowing for an expansion of the supermarket with sufficient parking. The supermarket could be two stories with an escalator, he said.

Village Board members saw the plan as fundamentally flawed.

“You have to have willing property owners,” Mayor Mark Epley told Wallach.

But Wallach pointed out that , and suggested making fair market appraisals and using eminent domain to buy the Waldbaum’s and physical therapist’s office if the owner does not want to sell. The village would then put out a request for proposal to find a supermarket chain interested in redeveloping the lot, he said.

Wallach, a retired city planner, said he would aid the village in the process pro bono. “There are developers in New York that pay me thousands of dollars an hour, and I am offering you my services for nothing,” he said.

Village Trustee William Hattrick was skeptical that they could find any developer or supermarket to get on board with the plan. He told Wallach, “Someone’s got to spend maybe $20 million to double the size of the store, and suppose they don’t want to do it?”

Wallach suggested developer Robert Morrow, who is so he can build a shopping center on County Road 39, would be up to the task. “He would be one of the first people who would knock on the door and say I’ll do it,” Wallach said.

The suggestion did not quell Hattrick’s doubts. “You can’t just put a gun to somebody’s head,” he said. And the suggestion of the village compelling the owner of the Waldbaum’s property to sell by condemning the land did not sit well with him either. “Holy Jesus — and you’re worried about legal fees?” he told Wallach.

Epley agreed to review Wallach’s plans, but did not offer any support of the idea. “I don’t know if the village wants to put itself in a position of condemning an active supermarket, a historic house and a physical therapist’s office,” he said.

Wallach denied a request to give a copy of the architect’s plans to Patch at this time, saying he only wants to share them with the Village Board for now.

Saul T. Lord March 26, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Its funny that Abe Wallach and everyone else thinks that the Town doesn't have the right to change a zoning law. That is just too beyond the reach of their authority. But eminent domain to sieze several businesses? No problem. And for the person who felt like seeing Waldbaums was like visiting with an old friend, I can relate. I used to live in NYC and everytime I see Crazy Alice on the corner of 34th and Lexington, even if she is covered in waste, its like seeing an old friend for me too. I know how ya feel.
Free wheeler March 27, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I don't know who Hazel Wilkonson is, and have never read any other posts other than the two here, but I think that whoever "Witch Hazel" is had better back off. I agree with "Hazel" so there is no "we" in a behind the scenes movement. How do you go behind the scenes in an emal anyway? What a moron forum this is with people berating each other rather than discussing the topic. And, please leave Abraham Lincoln out of it. How dare anyone assume that name?
George Washington March 27, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Free wheeler, you should be named 3 wheeler.
Mary Beth March 27, 2012 at 08:43 PM
George Washington, you should be named George Costanza
Abraham Lincoln Washing George March 28, 2012 at 10:55 AM
That's a good one Mary Beth! George Washington-George Costanza. I'm rubber you're glue whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you. So guess what, YOU are George Costanza now. Boo ya.

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