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Feb 21, 2017 2:47 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Supervisor Pushes For Alternative To Tuckahoe Center: Assisted Living

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. JEN NEWMAN
Feb 21, 2017 3:10 PM

An alternative plan for the Tuckahoe Center property—an assisted living center for the elderly or disabled—has begun circulating since all five Southampton Town Board members have expressed reservations about the pending shopping center proposal.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman first suggested the alternative use earlier this month, noting that he has pitched the idea to Robert Morrow, who heads the investment team seeking a change of zone to allow a supermarket and other retail shops at the site. He said Mr. Morrow had agreed to investigate the possibility.

But on Tuesday, Mr. Morrow declined to comment on Mr. Schneiderman’s pitch, except to dismiss it: “I have not reviewed the idea and am only focused on Tuckahoe Center.”

Another partner in the project, Lance Nill, this week also declined to say whether he would consider an assisted living facility. Instead, he kept his focus on Tuckahoe Center, what he called a “traffic-reducing grocery store,” citing studies showing that a supermarket at the site off County Road 39 in Tuckahoe would actually reduce the overall number of miles driven by residents who now drive to Bridgehampton or Hampton Bays supermarkets to shop.

However, after several public officials, including Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming, voiced opposition to the project at a January public hearing, Mr. Schneiderman said he was skeptical the project would get the needed three votes from the Town Board to approve the zone change for Tuckahoe Center.

This week, the supervisor continued to express concern over a potential change in traffic pattern on County Road 39 created by a shopping center at the site, since—without a traffic signal with a left turn arrow—movements in and out of the center could be difficult and potentially dangerous.

Mr. Schneiderman added that he thought an assisted living center would be a better option for the community, with an aging population and the absence of such a facility in the town.

“An assisted living facility is needed more than a grocery store,” the supervisor said. “There are none on the South Fork. It has very little traffic generation, provides good jobs and is a viable economic use of the property.”

He said he hoped the developers would be willing to entertain the idea and consider withdrawing their current shopping center application before the Town Board votes on it—a vote, he said, that is not likely to pass.

The current shopping center proposal by a group of developers, including Mr. Nill, Lyle Pike and Mr. Morrow, seeks to alter the zoning on three adjoining properties, totaling 7.26 acres, along the southeastern side of County Road 39 and Magee Street in Tuckahoe. The zone change, from highway business to shopping center business, is required for the proposed construction of a 38,000-square-foot supermarket and an additional 14,500 square feet of commercial space in three additional buildings on the property.

In the town code, there currently is no mention of the rules regarding an “assisted living facility,” which is designed to offer meals, nursing care and other support to residents, but not at the level of a nursing home. But creating a “special exception” for such a use would be a less arduous process than a change of zone, Mr. Schneiderman said.

Southampton Village Trustee Nancy McGann, a vocal opponent of Tuckahoe Center, said this week that the supervisor recently had approached her in the Southampton Village Stop & Shop store and brought up the assisted living facility idea.

“I said I would be open to listening about what that plan would be,” Ms. McGann said. “I personally feel the traffic would certainly not be as much as a supermarket. We have an aging population here, and I think that might be a good thing to have in the community.”

According to a study released last month by Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation, the number of individuals 65 years and older on Long Island, particularly across Nassau and Suffolk counties, has significantly increased over the past several years. In fact, the study shows that the two counties were ranked among the top 25 counties nationwide with a population of individuals of retirement age.

A Suffolk County demographic data book based on 2010 census information confirmed that as “baby boomers” get older, the number of individuals over age 60 will continue to increase. It projects that approximately 469,144 residents will be 60 years old or greater in the year 2040—compared to approximately 321,123 in 2015.

The co-chair of the Southampton, Tuckahoe and Shinnecock Hills Citizen Advisory Committee, Linda Ashcraft—also an opponent of the Tuckahoe Center application—echoed Ms. McGann’s thoughts on the possibility, saying Mr. Schneiderman had approached her as well.

“It sounds like something the community could really use,” she said. “We are an aging community—it could be a wonderful opportunity for people who want to step over to assisted living.”

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Much better idea!!
By sandydog21 (195), Southampton on Feb 21, 17 3:26 PM
Oh boy, this has about as much chance of flying as the dude ranch Bob DeLuca pitched to substitute for the project at The Hills. Yes, would it be nice to have an assisted living facility, sure, but the Tuckahoe Center already has a better and higher use for that property. Nice misdirection, Jay, but it seems more an attempt to get the public to focus on something else rather than the facts supporting the Tuckahoe Center, which are overwhelming. The board may not yet have the votes to approve, but ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Feb 21, 17 4:05 PM
Eat ****.

And, that's quite a mature response with regard to brevity.
Feb 21, 17 7:55 PM appended by Mr. Z
**** = cake
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 21, 17 7:55 PM
Of course it doesn't appear that way to you Mr Florio, you have been blind to the truth about the project since the beginning.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Feb 21, 17 9:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
This isn't a very good idea because it wouldn't result in a ridiculous amount of traffic on an already dangerous road, nor would it burden residential back roads with even more bottlenecks.

Really, what are you thinking?

It is a suburban requirement to have supermarkets within 5-10 miles of every home. and to have an ever-increasing amount of annual fatal and non-fatal accidents on major roadways.

Get with the program..
By btdt (449), water mill on Feb 21, 17 4:20 PM
What program are you referring to? Several traffic studies refute your worries.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 21, 17 6:49 PM
Never going to happen. The developer would have to go through so many additional requirements for healthcare facilities. Commercial and high end residential use is way too lucrative in this area.
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Feb 21, 17 6:58 PM
just deny the shopping center change of zone and get out of the picture Jay and Board.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Feb 21, 17 7:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
Jay, It's not your responsibility to recommend alternatives. Just vote down the proposed change and move along. Don't worry, the Morrow/Nill team will be back with another unacceptable plan soon.
By mickeyf (7), southampton on Feb 22, 17 8:00 AM
This sounds like a really viable solution and I hope the developers will consider it. Thanks Jay for thinking creatively. Maybe Morrow/Nil et al need to be reminded that they purchased this property with the zoning it currently has. If somebody promised them a zoning change, then I guess it sucks to be them, but when you play dirty, sometimes you get played dirty. They should put on their big boy pants, accept that the town is NOT going to approve the Tuckahoe Center, and move on.
By Dafsgirl (64), Southampton on Feb 22, 17 9:57 AM
1 member liked this comment
Put town hall and justice court there and the police and highway department and have a real modern town hall. Sell the existing town hall to the school district for offices and meeting rooms etc. Traffic would be minimal and low uses on weekends and summer and Town Hall and all it's functions would be accessible.
By Obserever (40), Southnampton on Feb 23, 17 5:09 PM
Only problem is the line for the Building Department and all of their new permits would extend to East Quogue!
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Feb 24, 17 9:20 AM