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Sep 19, 2012 10:33 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Neighbors Of Glennon Property Call For In-Depth Traffic Study; Village Eyes Sewage Solutions

Sep 19, 2012 11:48 AM

Residents of Southampton Meadows Estates, prompted by a recent traffic study that determined that supermarkets in Southampton Village Highway Business district would be benign, attended a Village Board meeting last Thursday, September 13, so they could beg to differ.

The neighbors of the Glennon property at the corner of Hampton and Flying Point roads, the proposed site of a Fresh Market that will be built if a change in village zoning is enacted, stressed the importance of a more in-depth traffic study before that decision is made.

Village Board members, heeding the residents’ concerns, said they would take time to digest the comments before moving forward with legislation to allow supermarkets to be built.

Even so, Mayor Mark Epley said that applicants who want a supermarket on County Road 39 and at the corner of Hampton and Flying Point roads would have to pay for extensive traffic and environmental studies anyway to gain village approval. The studies, he noted, would not be cheap.

Engineering consultant firm Nelson, Pope and Voorhis released a village-sponsored study last month stating that a supermarket in the Southampton Village highway business district would not cause a significant impact on the environment or traffic. The analysis looked at seven supermarket-eligible sites along County Road 39 and Flying Point Road, with a minimum lot size of 60,000 square feet, or 1.38 acres, in order to assess potential adverse environmental impacts of building supermarkets on the sites.

The study needed to be completed before the village could approve a change in the zoning code, which would allow supermarkets in the highway business district on a special permit basis on those lots.

The board introduced the legislation to change the zoning code last October, just a month before it came to light that the Glennon family had signed a deal with Fresh Market to build a grocery store at 640 Hampton Road, a former automobile dealership.

Concerns over noise, light and odor stemming from a supermarket next door cropped up in the conversation between the Southampton Meadows residents and the board last week. But what weighed heavily on most people’s minds wasn’t whether the village needs a grocery store but the issue of increased traffic and the fact that the study used numbers from a 2009 State Department of Transportation volume count. The study estimated that traffic would result in significantly less traffic during Saturday peak hours than a drive-in restaurant.

“I’ve lived in the village 74 years, and I’ve never seen such a dumb proposal in all my life,” said village resident Diane Deutschmann, noting that heavy traffic made it impossible for her to move easily around the area by vehicle this summer. “The fact that the village is paying for the traffic study is horrendous.”

Members of the public called for a more in-depth study of traffic on County Road 39 and Hampton Road, leading up to and around its intersection with Hampton Road, to be conducted before the village votes on the zoning change, which could happen as early as next month.

“I don’t think I know of a bottleneck anywhere in the Hamptons that quite compares to what we have at that intersection,” said Peter Conrad, who was representing his neighbors from the Southampton Meadows Estates.

Mayor Epley said while he understood their concerns, it was best to make individual parcels go through the painstaking process of the study.

“I didn’t want to go out and spend money to go into a big traffic study,” he said, noting that an environmental and an up-to-date traffic study would be another long and expensive step in the process that applicants should have to go through.

A landowner in the highway business district would need to submit an application to the Village Board for a special permit and would need to get approval from the Planning Board and the Architectural Review Board. If any variances were needed, the applicant would need to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals. Mayor Epley said major studies would need to be done and approval from the Suffolk County Department of Health would need to be secured before an application could get the green light.

“It’s not a rubber stamp,” the mayor said. “It’s an opportunity for a property owner to come in here and do something different.”

Village Wants System

According to village officials, implementing a wastewater treatment system is the next step to getting the village to be in-line with its master plan, an overall guide to how village officials envision future development.

The Southampton Village Planning Commission, charged with creating and evolving the master plan, is looking to Sag Harbor as an example for a future treatment system.

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