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Feb 14, 2012 12:00 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Glennon Stirs Up Support For Supermarket Law

Feb 15, 2012 9:02 AM

At property owner Wally Glennon’s request, about three-dozen Southampton Village residents sent emails and letters to village officials in support of his plan to build a supermarket on Hampton Road near its intersection with County Road 39 and Flying Point Road.

The emails came just in time for the third and final public hearing before the Village Board last Thursday, February 9, on a proposed law that would allow supermarkets in the village’s highway business district—clearing the path for Mr. Glennon’s plans. The third hearing generated more support than the previous two.

Should the board approve the law, supermarkets between 10,000 square feet and 20,000 square feet could be built on a small handful of lots mostly lining County Road 39A as special exception uses requiring further board approval.

Mr. Glennon’s family is already in agreement to lease its 630 Hampton Road property to The Fresh Market should the law pass and their plans clear all hoops.

“If the vocal minority of opponents of development (ALL development, without regard for the needs or desires of their fellow residents) succeed in their campaign to intimidate the board into inaction, the opportunity to allow for some competitive and attractive food shopping choice for area residents will, in all likelihood, disappear for decades,” Mr. Glennon said in an email he sent to residents in an effort to drum up support for the legislation.

However, the spectre of Tuckahoe Main Street, a defeated plan for a supermarket and additional commercial space on County Road 39, may provide just that opportunity. The Tuckahoe project is not dead yet, Dennis Schmidt, the owner of Schmidt’s Market on North Sea Road, noted during last Thursday’s hearing.

Indeed, Robert Morrow, the developer behind that plan, recently said that he is drafting a new application that should be ready to be filed in a couple of months. Mr. Schmidt argued that would render the village’s proposal “absolutely unnecessary.”

Village Trustee Bill Hattrick, who previously said he was leaning in favor of the legislation, said Friday morning that the Tuckahoe project could be a “real factor,” since the “single biggest reason for considering [the village law] is choice.”

Many proponents of the law cite a desire for more than one local supermarket to patronize.

“It is often not easy for older village residents to drive to neighboring towns to satisfy or supplement their grocery shopping needs,” Coopers Farm Lane resident Jacquelyn Crocker and her husband John wrote to the board. “We feel it would be a benefit to them and to all village residents to have another grocery shopping option within the village.”

“It is such a shame that Southampton—with all it has to offer—does not have a grocery store where the residents can purchase good, reasonably-priced organic products,” wrote Tapp Francke of Fox Hollow Lane.

Penny Wright, a Henry Street resident, spoke about how she feels a new grocery store would be a welcome alternative to existing stores. She also wrote an email to the board, stating, “While I am sympathetic to those businesspeople who might be adversely affected by the potential competition, the benefit to hundreds of local residents who are frustrated by the paucity of good food shopping options, should, I believe, outweigh other considerations.”

Opponents of the proposal continued to object to how the legislation popped up after a specific store had already drafted plans.

The Fresh Market had, for a short time last month, listed the Glennons’ address as a “coming soon” location on its corporate website. Even Village Mayor Mark Epley, who is arguably the law’s strongest proponent on the board, admitted publicly that the listing was premature. The address was removed from the site, and Craig Carlock, president and CEO of the North Carolina-based grocery chain, wrote a letter of a apology to the board, dated January 30.

“While we are interested in locating a store at that address, we appreciate that no such opportunity is possible without a modification to the zoning ordinance,” it states. “The listing was inadvertent and no way intended to convey presumptiveness on our part.”

Opponents also argued about more traffic tie-ups at a busy intersection and that a store under the dimensions envisioned by the village would be too small to be considered an actual supermarket and would therefore not serve as an adequate alternative to the Waldbaum’s on Jagger Lane, for example.

Abraham Wallach of Meadow Lane, who said he has worked as a city planner and under Donald Trump as a developer in New York City, has taken a particularly keen interest in opposing the law and has repeatedly threatened to sue the village should it pass. He continued to argue that the law constitutes spot zoning and reiterated that supermarkets in Bridgehampton and Hampton Bays are not far away.

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How does a 15,000 sq market serve the needs of Southampton? We already have an undersized market. I don't understand how Fresh Market got involved nor do I understand how the village spot picked a site without notifying the owner. Something is fishy here. Since when is the village in the private development business setting up tenant and landlord?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Feb 15, 12 11:18 PM
By YXZ (32), Hampton Bays on Feb 16, 12 12:35 PM
By YXZ (32), Hampton Bays on Feb 16, 12 12:36 PM
How Fresh Market got involved is not important. Those of you who have never been to a Fresh Market store do not have the right to speak as to the type of store it is. I do shop at a Fresh Market sited in The Villages area of n/c Florida. FM is similar in style as Schmidts. Since I know Southampton so well I can say that the distance between the two sites should not bother the Schmidts. Maybe some people from the east side of the village will stop in to FM but all the Estate folks will not battle ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Feb 16, 12 1:21 PM
Hey Summertime, you have some gall trying to dictate who can comment on what. And for you to say that Fresh Market is like Schmidts is insane. It is nothing like Schmidts. As someone who came from the era when movies were silent, it is a shame you didn't take their cue.
By Spankerstein (6), Southampton on Feb 16, 12 1:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
The issue was to help Waldbaum shoppers who are the majority of supermarket shoppers. How does a 10,000 sq ft market help the avg person? How Fresh Market got involved is not important? Makes me very curious what person tipped off Fresh Market and how they are being compensated.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Feb 16, 12 7:47 PM
2 members liked this comment
If Fresh Market is very similar to Schimdt's then why do we need it, since we already have Schmidt's?

It's not like people who would shop at the intersection of Hampton Road and Flying Point Road can't make it to Schmidt's because it's so far away.

This would be really funny if it weren't so typical. People claiming that the village needs more than just a Waldbaums, and then proposing we need a Waldbaum's owned market which duplicates the products sold at a market about a mile ...more
By btdt (449), water mill on Feb 19, 12 12:44 PM
1 member liked this comment