A controversial supermarket development project proposed in Tuckahoe is coming back before the Southampton Town Board in a scaled-down version.
Southampton Venture and developer Robert Morrow’s earlier proposal for a mixed-use shopping center on 12.4 acres with apartments, dubbed Tuckahoe Main Street, proved too big for the community and Town Board’s taste, as the board . Now Morrow is back with an alternative proposal, Tuckahoe Center, that is still anchored with a supermarket but will be on 7.3 acres with just two additional buildings and no apartments.
Southampton Venture is slated to make its pitch to the Town Board at a March 16 work session at . For Tuckahoe Center to proceed, the Town Board must agree to a change of zoning on the 7.3 acres from Highway Business and residential to Shopping Center Business. Under the defunct Tuckahoe Main Street proposal, Morrow needed approval for a planned development district, or PDD, which is subject to more prerequisites than a zoning change to Shopping Center Business.
Knowing that the revised plan was on the horizon, the has been discussing the project for more than a year and has been near unanimous in opposition. The committee members cite the traffic and congestion the development might create on a major thoroughfare and the danger posed by cars coming in and out of a busy parking lot just up the street from the . They were also concerned that there is potential for neighboring properties to eventually be conglomerated with the proposed development.
Tuckahoe Center would be south of County Road 39 and east of Magee Street, where an motel and other businesses are located now. The application includes a 40,000-square-foot supermarket, a 15,000-square-foot retail building and a 3,500 square foot bank.
The PDD application had required Southampton Venture to explain what community benefit the change of use would provide. But attorney John M. Wagner, on behalf of Southampton Venture, wrote to Freda Eisenberg, the acting town planning and development administrator, on Feb. 16 saying that a Shopping Center Business change of use application does not require a community benefit. Nevertheless, Wagner wrote that 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.
A market analysis prepared by VHB Engineering, Surveying and Landscape Architecture of Hauppauge for Southampton Venture states that the proposed “neighborhood center” will not compete with businesses on Main Street in Southampton Village and that “minimal vacancies” in the trade area around the proposed Tuckahoe Center is “indicative of a demand for additional retail/commercial opportunities.” The study also projects that the supermarket would not substantially affect the area’s small- and medium-sized food and beverage stores.
Bonnie Goebert, chair of the , said Sunday that her committee will discuss the proposal March 7 at their 7 p.m. monthly meeting at the library, the same evening that they will hear a presentation from Eisenberg on the draft County Road 39 corridor study, which aims to plan for future development of Southampton’s major thoroughfare.
Goebert said that the Tuckahoe Center proposal goes against everything the draft corridor study suggests so far, such as enhancing traffic movement. “It will just change the whole character of County Road 39,” she said.
The revived Tuckahoe supermarket proposal comes at the same time Southampton Village is to allow for a 20,000-square-foot market.