The main topics of conversation throughout the Village during the autumn primarily concerned the rapid resubmission of the Tuckahoe Mall project and the continued discussion (and delay) of enacting any additional residential zoning restrictions. The North Sea Road plan to increase commercial uses along that corridor was delayed, perhaps with the hope that the winter months will bring fewer residents to attend the meetings and less scrutiny. In our Village, several new major projects were proposed, hoping to get under the wire before any zoning changes. And of course, the 24 condo development at the Village Latch continues to move forward. Lastly, more details regarding the Pyrrhus Concer site on Pond Lane were disclosed in recent village trustee meetings.
After making a small reduction in the size of the project, the town board allowed the Tuckahoe project to be reviewed again by the Suffolk County Planning Commission, which having recently been reshuffled with more pro- development members promptly approved it. Sag Harbor member Barbara Roberts, who led the charge to reject the project last time around, argued that since the proposed change of use (to grocery use) had not changed and the reduction in size was only 10%, it was in fact not a new application and could not be resubmitted. The discussion became so heated and the procedures so underhanded (involving texts and side meetings), Ms. Roberts resigned from the board following the vote. Sadly, this means the application now needs only a simple 3 to 2 majority at the Town Board level to be approved. Tuesday, January 24th at 6pm, the Town Board will be holding what may be the last opportunity to oppose this project, which will clearly add to safety and traffic problems on the dangerous CR39/Tuckahoe corridor.
Discussions continued regarding zoning revisions in the village, with no progress. The recommendations made by the village’s independent consultants (including minimal reductions in GFA, increasing side yard set-backs and requirements for more green space) were vehemently opposed by development interests, most of whom don’t live in our village. Even with the proposed changes, Southampton will continue to be significantly more generous on size and build out than East Hampton Village. Stay tuned! In the meantime, more projects are pouring in, including a 16,000+ sq. ft. project at 28 Gin Lane, in the heart of the historic district. 3 years ago, 40 Meadow Lane was supposed to be the lever of change for our zoning. Unfortunately, the process in Southampton Village still favors the developer.
At our local schools, Assistant Superintendent Nick Dyno has been asked to lead the district following the resignation last year of Superintendent Scott Farina (the Association joined with the Southampton Press to file a lawsuit against the Southampton School district for failing to provide information requested by the public regarding this matter). Our district clearly needs fixing and we hope that Mr. Dyno is up to the challenge. For far too long, spending has been the only measure that has risen in our district. Best wishes to you all for a healthy and happy 2017!
January 22, 2017