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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.

Abraham Lincoln March 21, 2012 at 08:19 PM
The glory days for this *ahem* city planner are long over. Eminent domain to buy a Walbaums and some other private businesses? That would be great except this isn't 1542 and we aren't in Wyoming. Bless the people in charge for having to suffer this guy and all of his craziness but the 15 minutes should be up by now - is there a large umbrella handle that comes out right about now - or maybe a gong? This has gone from interesting to a little hard to watch. If this guy has any loved ones out there perhaps they can bring him in and give him a blanket and a warm meal. He needs cuddling and the Barbara Streisand box set.
Meadow Lane March 22, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Mr. Wallach needs to do some homework before making his wild suggestions. (1) The White house is an historic building that WILL NOT be torn down. (2) Waldbaum's is NOT for sale. (3) Taxpayers are not in the business of taking over stores and expanding them for any purpose under the sun. (4) Me thinks Mr. Wallach has been standing in the sun too long.
Frog Morton March 22, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Contrary to Mr. Wallach's ranting and rediculous ideas, there are a lot of us in the village who want a second market and we're not going to build one with taxpayer money. Fresh Markets has beautiful stores. I can't wait for the new one to open. Your 15 minutes of fame are up Mr. Wallach...let's move.
michael Paraskevas March 22, 2012 at 01:15 PM
I agree with all the above... we need another supermarket and we certainly don't need a two story supermarket right in town.
Hazel Wilkonson the First March 22, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Mr. Morton, how about a post where you do not resort to puerile ad hominem
Hazel Wilkonson the First March 22, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Why not? The supermarket is already there, why not just improve it.
witch hazel March 23, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Hazel, if you haven't noticed, we are all ignoring you. I personally started a behind the scenes movement to disregard and ignore every statement you make. Everyone is tired of you calling them names, being a bully and acting like a know-it-all. We encourage you to go post on another Patch site, there are lots of them. In fact there is a good one in Nome Alaska that would be perfect for you. But like in any social setting, it doesn't take long for people to see which amongst us is disagreeable and abrasive enough to warrant this sort of treatment. Take a few months off. If you want to return after the summer and try to be nice and contribute in a pleasant way, we shall reconsider this black out. Consider me your little gepetto.
Hazel Wilkonson the First March 23, 2012 at 12:10 PM
You're ignoring me by telling me you're ignoring me? Genius.
Mary Beth March 23, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Hah! It is like the teen girl in that cell phone commercial who calls her boyfriend to tell him she is giving him the silent treatment. Hilarious.
Peconic Sunset March 23, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I understand your reaction to eminent domain, but there is some value to having a comprehensive review and perhaps some consolidation of the multiple zoning requests for supermarkets/shopping centers and grocery stores currently under review by independent governmental agencies in our area.
jasminetea March 25, 2012 at 05:48 PM
After being gone from the area for many years, I have to say Waldbaum's is lovely the way it is. It has charm, at least that's what I felt when I shopped in there last summer. It was like being re-acquainted with an old friend. Another supermarket would be nice, but a supermarket with an escalator is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. I for one do not like escalators and can't even imagine how this would work with groceries. There would have to be some kind of conveyor system to get groceries from the second floor to the parking lot. Would definitely require a lot more time to do a shop. I look forward to coming back in May and shopping in Wauldbaum's.
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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