Village Board Implored to Abandon Supermarket Law

Critics of proposed zone change ask the board not to go forward with another study, and just forget about controversial proposal.

Critics of a proposed zoning exception in Southampton Village on Thursday once again asked the board to drop the proposal altogether — or at least pick a different firm to study the law's impact.

The legislation that has both the community and the Village Board divided would allow for a new 20,000-square-foot grocery store to be built in the Highway Business zone. With critics threatening legislation if the law is adopted, and one board member saying he cannot vote for the law without further study of the ramifications, the board is now weighing whether to commission a costlier in-depth study.

Such a study could range in cost from $32,000 to upward of $80,000, depending on the depth of the study, according to Mayor Mark Epley.

An earlier study, commissioned by the village and prepared by consulting firm Nelson, Pope & Voorhis, was the subject of a public hearing in September. The firm concluded the impact of the legislation "will be either insignificant or mitigated, and all such impacts will be localized such that no regional impacts are expected.” It goes on to recommend that the Village Board votes to determine that further study under New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act is not necessary. But critics said the study had omitted many concerns that need to be address.

Attorney Carolyn Zenk, of Hampton Bays, told the Village Board Thursday that she was hired by concerned residents who want the supermarket law dropped. She said the village should not be spending taxpayers dollars for the benefit of one property owner.

While the law may affect as many as nine properties, only a former car dealership site at the corner of Flying Point Road and Hampton Road is already on a grocery chain's radar.

Peter Conrad, a resident of Southampton Meadows, the condo community adjacent to the site Fresh Market is eying for a grocery store, told Village Board members on Thursday that if the board refuses to abandon the law and pushes forward with a comprehensive study, the board should at least find a different firm to conduct it. He said Nelson, Pope & Voorhis has the incentive to come to the same conclusion as it had before.

Mayor Mark Epley was ill Thursday and missed the meeting, but he told Patch the following day that he stands by Nelson, Pope & Voorhis, a firm that the village has had a working relationship with for years.

"Nelson, Pope & Voorhis are environmental planners and I trust the work that they do," Epley said. "And if we were to do the study, I would support them doing it.”

Epley said that paying for the study now would help the village defeat a lawsuit later, when someone claims the village did not examine the environmental impact like it should have. However, he said the village will need to find the money to complete an in-depth study, and he plans to discuss it with his fellow board members when they convene for a work session Jan. 22.

A second resident of Southampton Meadows, Suzanne Ramos, told the Village Board on Thursday that putting a grocery in on Flying Point Road, far from the village center, would be devastating for village business and open the door to high-traffic commercial development on the County Road 39A corridor. She said that Epley should be critical of this plan, the same way he is critical of a King Kullen shopping center proposed on County Road 39 in Tuckahoe.

People Person January 16, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Yes, Waldbaum's needs an enema!
GOLD FINGER January 16, 2013 at 06:30 PM
You have to ask yourself why are all these local food markets upset about this proposed new Fresh Market? The answer is simple ..they wont be able to get away with charging you extraordinary prices anymore for very sub par product. They will have to work harder, spend money on cleaning up their places and bring quality product in at reasonable prices cutting into their profits. Well I say as someone who lives out here year round bring in the new Fresh Market and if the local markets don't clean up their acts let them go out of business. The free market system at its best and this town needs a little competition to shake these markets. I am sick and tired of being ripped off out here and it's about time for a change. It's coming folks it's in the air, these new markets are coming so local business you better clean up your acts or start looking for a new business to go into.
JamieDeap January 16, 2013 at 06:44 PM
If either Fred or Freeda read the article you would see that the study is a preventative measure for when the promised law suit by a taxpayer is lobbed at the Village. You should be ticked off with the tax payer who has made the threats that now dictate that the village spend your money
Thomas M Jones January 16, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Fred N Freda Spot on! That's the problem out here these people we elected have no guts. Vote yes vote no that's why we elected you. Problem is if someone out here doesn't get their way they want to sue. I call it the CAVE syndrome. Citizens Against Virtually Everything! Please people we need a new supermarket most people want one but, we don't come to the meetings like the angry CAVE people. Thanks Fred!!
Fran January 17, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Very well put Gold Finger....This says it all. Hope the CAVE people read this and get more open minded about change. Fresh Market would be a welcome change in Southampton.


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