Village Meeting Minutes – September and October, 2012

At the September and October Board of trustees meetings, the main topics of discussion were the highway zoning amendment which could permit a Fresh Market grocery store at the former Glennon Cadillac site and a presentation from The Center for Municipal Solutions outlining the establishment of a cell tower policy for the Village.

The Village engineering consultants have prepared an environmental impact statement regarding the highway zoning change. This was delivered to the Village board in late August. Numerous residents spoke regarding perceived inadequacies in the report including flawed traffic assumptions, negative impact on the surrounding area, and the concern over establishing a precedent on the types of businesses which could be allowed on County Road 39 (both in and outside of Southampton Village.) Given the anemic state of retailing in the Village, many residents expressed concern as to the impact of expanded retailing on the highway – could this encourage a flight of retailing out of the Village? While some residents expressed the need for another market, most indicated that the Glennon location (or the proposed  Tuckahoe Center) would not be appropriate (both in terms of traffic and the negative impact on the Village center.)

At present, Southampton Village trustees are divided on the issue.  Mayor Epley and Trustee McGann support the zoning change, while Trustee Yastrzemski is firmly against it. Trustees Hattrick and Irving acknowledged problems with the proposed zoning change, but agreed with the need for an additional grocery store. Litigation has been threatened by nearby condo owners and this is clearly a concern given the high cost of defending such actions.  As a result, the trustees tabled the matter seeking clarification of the legal issues and the resolution of the Tuckahoe King Kullen project (also on County Road 30), which could alleviate the need for a market at the Glennon site. The Association, however, is not supportive of the Tuckahoe project for many of the same reasons expressed regarding the Glennon site.

The second major topic of discussion was the creation of a cell tower policy by the Village. A presentation was made by The Center for Municipal Solutions, a company that works with many municipalities to establish policies and local regulations regarding cell towers. The consultants noted that new technologies are now allowing for “distributed antennae” systems, which puts smaller antennae on lighter poles throughout the Village. These newer towers have the potential for a smaller visual impact.  The consultants estimate that eventually 15 to 20 antennae would be required to cover the Village. The trustees will continue to study the issue.

                                                                                                                                                           November 16, 2012

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