Jul 30, 2014

Southampton Supermarket Law Study Skewered

Residents challenge credibility of report that says legislation allowing a grocery store to open in the Southampton Village highway business district will have no adverse effects.

Southampton Supermarket Law Study Skewered Southampton Supermarket Law Study Skewered Southampton Supermarket Law Study Skewered Southampton Supermarket Law Study Skewered Southampton Supermarket Law Study Skewered Southampton Supermarket Law Study Skewered Southampton Supermarket Law Study Skewered

The Southampton Village Board will continue to mull legislation that would enable a new grocery store to open in the village, after a steady stream of members of the public took to the boardroom lectern Thursday to decry the plan and the study that states it will not have an adverse impact on the village.

The report commissioned by the village and prepared by consulting firm Nelson, Pope & Voorhis looked at the impacts a new 20,000-square-foot supermarket could have on the village. It concludes, “The proposed action and its potential impact will be either insignificant or mitigated, and all such impacts will be localized such that no regional impacts are expected.”

The study determines that, on a weekend, the peak traffic volume will reach 111 vehicles in and 106 vehicles out in a one-hour period.

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 that determination does not sit well with a number of residents.

“I’ve lived in this village 74 years and I have never seen such a dumb proposal in my life,” Lewis Street resident said Diane Deutschmann, citing existing traffic in the highway business district.

While the law would apply to several properties, only one — a former car dealership at the corner of Flying Point Road and Hampton owned by the Glennon family — is already being eyed by a supermarket chain, namely, The Fresh Market.

Peter Conrad, representing his condo community adjacent to the Glennon site, told the board, “The traffic at that intersection is abominable, for many months of the year, not just the summer.”


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Jay Diesing, the president of the village civic group Southampton Association, said that the study has many omissions that should be addressed. He presented the board with a report prepared by Lisa Liquori, of Fine Art & Sciences in East Hampton that the association sought in response to the Nelson, Pope & Voorhis study.

Liquori found that the study fails to identify “major traffic impacts that could result from the zone change,” that it is contrary to the village’s comprehensive plan, and that it improperly segments the assessment of the zoning legislation from the impact of the supermarket proposed at the Glennon site.

Mayor Mark Epley repeated during Thursday's Village Board meeting what he has been saying for months: That the law would apply to multiple parcels, not just the Glennon site.

“It’s a modification in the zoning code in the highway business district that allows a property owner ... to request a special exception,” Epley explained to concerned residents.

Nelson, Pope & Voorhis found that seven parcels would be eligible under the law.  It would have been eight, but Suffolk County recently turned one parcel into a sump for stormwater runoff.

Epley said there are no foregone conclusions. “They still have to go through the Architectural Review Board, Planning Board, Suffolk County Department of Health …

“It’s not a rubber stamp. It’s an opportunity for a property owner to come in here and maybe do something different.”

Ultimately, Epley said the board will take more time to review residents' feedback before voting on the legislation, and no action was taken.

Trustee Rich Yastrzemski said that the proposed zoning change does appear to serve only one property owner and, considering the opposition to the legislation, he will vote against it.

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