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Mar 21, 2012 10:33 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board Ponders New Tuckahoe Supermarket Plan

Mar 21, 2012 11:12 AM

Residents turned out to voice their thoughts both for and against a proposed new supermarket development in Tuckahoe at a Southampton Town Board work session on Friday.

Members of the public crowded into the Town Hall meeting room to hear developer Robert Morrow’s scaled-back plans for his project, now called Tuckahoe Center, which would include a 40,000-square-foot King Kullen supermarket, 15,000 square feet of retail storefronts and a bank branch building, all sited on 7.26 acres of land on the south side of County Road 39, just east of Magee Street.

The Town Board would need to approve a change of zone request by Mr. Morrow and partners Lance Nil and Lyle Pike, from highway business zone to a shopping center business designation, for the project to proceed.

Friday’s work session, part of the town’s pre-application process for a change of zone request, was designed to give the board and public an opportunity to review the plans, including a full slate of “green” initiatives. The meeting was a required first step prior to filing a formal zone change application.

The proposal is the latest offering by Mr. Morrow and his partners, following a more ambitious project, Tuckahoe Main Street, that was proposed in 2009. Plans at the time included a 120,000-square-foot development with 70,000 square feet of retail stores, restaurants, apartments, green space and a performance area.

The original Tuckahoe Main Street proposal was an application for a planned development district, or PDD. A PDD grants a developer greater density than what is allowed under the current zoning of a parcel in exchange for a community benefit.

The project was shot down by residents, business owners, and Southampton Village officials, who worried that it would pull business away from the village’s Main Street business corridor.

“When the first project was not successfully received by the community, I realized changes had to be made,” Mr. Morrow said after Friday’s meeting. “I promised the community I would go back and review, and that’s what I did.”

To modify his original plan, Mr. Morrow said he “cut the project in half.” In addition, he removed a controversial 8 acres of residential property originally included in the plan, except for a 50-foot strip that will be used for access to the center from Magee Street. Should the plan get the green light, developers would purchase 1.7 acres on which the Enclave Inn and a restaurant currently sit.

In addition to a change of zone, developers will also need a special exception permit from the Town Planning Board in order to proceed with the current plan. A shopping center district requires at least 5 acres of property and restricts development coverage to 20 percent of the property. It also requires 100-foot setbacks from the roadway, double what the property’s current zoning requires.

A host of green features, including a “green roof” to keep the supermarket warm in the winter and cool in the summer, as well as a 100-foot-wide vegetated buffer recessed in a swale to capture rainwater runoff from the property and allow it to soak back into the ground, are included in the plan. The roof also would feature a garden.

Also included would be solar panels on the supermarket, according to Timothy Rumph, president of Araiys Design of Southampton.

Councilwoman Bridget Fleming thanked Mr. Morrow for working to incorporate her suggestion for a green roof in the plan.

Currently, he said, the property he hopes to transform is dilapidated and an eyesore located at the gateway to one of the most distinguished, beautiful and well-known towns in the United States. “That property, it’s a disgrace. I believe this will be a model. Change on County Road 39 has to start someplace,” Mr. Morrow said.

Businesses that might be considered for the site would be those utilized by supermarket shoppers, such as a card shop, pizza place or nail salon, said Mr. Morrow’s attorney, John Wagner.

Benefits of the project would be a state-of-the-art supermarket that would keep area residents from having to travel to supermarkets in Bridgehampton or Hampton Bays, reducing traffic and gas emissions, Mr. Wagner said. Another boon would be the 300 construction jobs and 125 permanent jobs created by the project, as well as significant tax revenue, he added. Another plus would be the elimination of some existing curb cuts at the site—the plan calls for two curb cuts and access at Magee Street. Approximately 216 parking spaces are included in the plan.

After the presentation, Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said that while Mr. Morrow was not required by law to allow residents to speak, he was amenable to hearing their input.

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The reason Mr. Morrow "allowed" public comment is because he had peppered the audience with supporters, none of whom were able to point to any valid rationale for building this monstrosity, and none of whom live nearby.

The tax revenue on this behemoth is NOT "substantial". In fact, the estimate of taxes going to Tuckahoe school would only be $100,000 at most (a small amount more than what would be generated if that land were developed as zoned). This paltry sum is equivalent to about 1/10 ...more
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Mar 21, 12 12:09 PM
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