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Sep 16, 2009 3:14 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Residents object to Flanders convenience store proposal

Sep 16, 2009 3:14 PM

A plan to build a mini-mart along a main thoroughfare in Flanders is not going over well with some residents.

Members of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association came to a public hearing on the proposal held during the Southampton Town Planning Board meeting Thursday and spoke out against it, arguing that there are numerous convenience stores already located on Flanders Road, which connects Hampton Bays to Riverhead.

The board is expected to reach a decision within the next two months.

According to town documents, the 3,000-square-foot store would have a parking lot for 30 cars in the rear with lighting. But community association President Brad Bender voiced concerns that the parking lot will become a meeting place for criminals.

At the meeting, mini-mart developer Bryan Whalen argued the property will be well lit and that Flanders Road is regularly patrolled by police. In addition, the store, unlike some others, he said, will provide much needed fresh fruits, vegetables and meats to the Flanders neighborhood. Mr. Whalen, owner of Whalen Homes in East Quogue, said other necessary grocery items will also be in stock so residents don’t have to drive far for a “freshly cooked meal.”

“They don’t want to see another deli,” Mr. Whalen said, noting that he met with civic leaders over the summer to talk about the construction plans. “They want it to be a mini-mart.”

Nonetheless, Mr. Bender called on the Planning Board to reject the application.

“My constituents say no and we ask that you say the same,” Mr. Bender said. “The location is just so wrong.”

Planning Board Chairman Dennis Finnerty said he sympathized with residents. But the board will not reject the application simply because residents believe too many convenience stores are already in the area, he said. Mr. Finnerty noted that the proposed project meets all the requirements in town code for a convenience store.

Carolyn Kormann

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