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Mar 4, 2009 10:07 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board considers capping County Road 39 moratorium early

Mar 4, 2009 10:07 AM

The faltering economy may result in an early end to the County Road 39 moratorium enacted by the Southampton Town Board, which has been in place since July.

The 12-month construction ban, which extends along the commercial corridor through parts of Shinnecock Hills, Tuckahoe, North Sea, Southampton and Water Mill, was set to expire on July 22, a year after its adoption. But the Town Board is now considering lifting the moratorium sooner than planned—March 30 is the new termination date being considered—and will likely hold a public hearing on Tuesday, March 24, to discuss the issue.

Town Planning and Development Administrator Jefferson Murphree pointed out Friday that the economy has significantly changed since the moratorium was enacted last summer, and since then many small-business owners along the corridor have suffered losses. Some have argued that, in this economy, freezing development is not sound policy, and that allowing building projects to go through would result in jobs and provide a boost to the local economy.

Though the board is considering lifting the ban early, Mr. Murphree said the County Road 39 study, which is running concurrent with the moratorium and is aimed at addressing future development along the stretch, will continue.

Two major projects that have been blocked from going forward by the moratorium are the possible relocation of Southampton Hospital, on the fairgrounds next to the Elks Lodge, and a new King Kullen supermarket proposed to be built on 12 acres south of County Road 39 and east of Magee Street behind the Enclave Inn.

Plans for the King Kullen also include a café, a restaurant, a bank, a bookstore and other retail establishments in what is dubbed the Tuckahoe Hamlet Center. Blueprints for the center also call for 28 apartments to be situated above the retail establishments, with some of the units set aside for affordable housing.

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Currently there are 10 unoccupied retail and commercial spaces on CR 39 along with the unrented apartments above Ocean electric. What economic advantage is there to more empty space and vacant apartments? These are indeed difficult economic times. Will lifting the moratorium create short term benefit or long term blight? The Town Board makes the claim that the moratorium is an obstacle to economic development but offers no evidence to support their claim. Economic development is not being frozen ...more
By Viewpoint (26), Southampton on Mar 1, 09 6:35 AM
Since they can't build and sell homes in this economic climate, the building lobby/industry now turns to commercial development. This approach is not going to work and what we are going to be left with is an overabundance of nice looking, but unoccupied, strip malls and a trashed county road 39.

Does Murphree think that supplying a few construction jobs for 2-3 years while out-of-town developers build these economically unviable retail spaces will add to the town and it's economy?

We ...more
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Mar 1, 09 9:25 AM
Last year's highway improvement was an environmental disaster to those of us who used to clam in the waters of cold spring pond, behind Sebonac. I have photos of runoff from the highway pouring in to the estuary during a storm and would like to see these used in court.

As to more strip malls and King Kullens -- lets not forget that these are not the reason why people come out the hamptons. I live in the cr98 development area and let me be very clear: I do not want these stores ...more
By deKooning (106), southampton on Mar 1, 09 4:31 PM
developing cr39 into Myrtle Beach aint gonna help anyone
By david h (405), southampton on Mar 2, 09 8:14 AM
Bad economy = incumbents elected out of office. Granting exemptions = campaign contributions from those seeking to build on CR 39. Add it up and you can see why the Town Board is considering the exemptions. The quid pro quo is bad for taxpayers, but what does the Board care, without their Town positions, they might have to go out and actually work like the rest of us.
By CommonSense (71), Southampton on Mar 2, 09 6:15 PM