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Oct 10, 2016 3:54 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Suffolk County Planning Commission Deems Tuckahoe Center Application Incomplete

Proposed Tuckahoe Center
Oct 12, 2016 11:22 AM

A revised Tuckahoe Center change-of-zone application was deemed incomplete by the Suffolk County Planning Commission on Tuesday, amid pending litigation between developer Robert Morrow and the commission.

After several hours of public comments for and against the proposal—with deliberation by the commission that led to a closed-door executive session—the commission ultimately decided on Tuesday that the application lacked essential information to allow a final ruling.

Since the application was deemed incomplete, its earlier ruling on a previous version of the application—rejecting it—remains in force for now.

The revised Tuckahoe Center proposal, referred back to the Planning Commission by the Southampton Town Board, still seeks to rezone three adjoining properties along the southeastern side of County Road 39 from highway business to shopping center business zoning. Additionally, it asks for a change of zone for a fourth parcel, which adjoins the northeastern side of Magee Street, from residential to shopping center business zoning. The change of zone would clear the way for a grocery store and additional commercial space in three separate buildings, all on 7.26 acres.

In December 2015, the Planning Commission rejected the regional shopping center project in Tuckahoe. As a result, the Southampton Town Board, which is tasked with considering the change of zone, would need a supermajority vote to move forward. If the Planning Commission—several members of which have changed since last year’s initial vote—approves the project, a simple majority could approve the zone change.

The revised plan by Mr. Morrow, submitted in August, includes a 10-percent reduction of building area compared to the last proposal, reducing it to 52,500 square feet. The revision also eliminates a proposed drive-through lane associated with one of the smaller commercial buildings, increases the landscaped area by 13,000 square feet, and increases the number of parking spots from 249 to 257. Mr. Morrow added that he has no intention of going back to the larger version of the plan.

After the Planning Board vote last year, Mr. Morrow—under Southampton Venture LLC—filed a lawsuit in April against the commission, alleging that individual members of the commission who voted against the project were biased and should have recused themselves. Earlier this month, the litigation against the commission was dismissed in court, though Mr. Morrow may appeal that decision.

“Right now, we have not made any decision on an appeal,” Mr. Morrow said on Tuesday.

According to Planning Commission member Barbara Roberts—who led the opposition to the plan in December 2015 and was singled out in Mr. Morrow’s lawsuit—the application was ruled incomplete on Tuesday on three grounds: it must clarify whether the developers plan to appeal the court ruling on the lawsuit; the commission needs more information on traffic impact; and wants a legal opinion on whether or not the revised application constitutes a “substantial change” from the earlier proposal, as claimed by the developer.

The majority of attendees at Tuesday’s meeting, approximately 30, spoke in favor of the Tuckahoe Center change of zone. Many who spoke identified themselves as consultants, designers and partners connected with the project. But other community members who spoke in favor of the plan supported the plan for a new supermarket in the neighborhood, and claimed that traffic concerns, which were key to the Planning Commission’s rejection last year, would not be an issue—because traffic is already a problem.

“I have a smartphone, I have a smart family—we know when to shop and when not to shop,” said Bob Schepps, a member of the Southampton, Tuckahoe and Shinnecock Hills Citizens Advisory Committee. “Traffic has always been a problem. We need another supermarket, because we need choice.”

“This is far from a ‘mega mall,’” said Lance Nil, a partner in the project, responding to opponents who have used the label in referring to the proposed shopping plaza. “We won’t be creating a single shopper—all of the shoppers already exist. Farmers markets are great, but you can’t buy milk and diapers from them. Residents need year-round grocery options.”

The Tuckahoe Center project did get criticism from some community members and Southampton Village officials, approximately 10 of whom were in attendance. They said the center would worsen traffic and safety conditions on County Road 39.

“I’m very confused as to why this application is being heard again for a slight reduction,” Southampton Village Board member Nancy McGann said. “It cannot possibly change the traffic burden in our community.”

The co-chair of the Southampton, Tuckahoe and Shinnecock Hills Citizen Advisory Committee, Linda Ashcraft—an opponent of the application—said she appreciated the commission’s thoughtfulness and consideration to the issues. “I’m satisfied that it didn’t go in the other direction,” she said. “I feel like we haven’t won this battle, but we’ve kicked the can down the road.”

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This oversized project will cause traffic problems in an area that is already beyond capacity. The light at North Magee will be a main point of entrance and egress, the same light that has north bound traffic backed up to the tracks and south bound traffic passed the stop sign at Tuckahoe school due to the LOOOOOONG green for CR 39 . Imagine increasing the north bound volume for the mega shopping center, can you say gridlock? How about a vehicle making a right from 39 either at the light or the ...more
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 11, 16 7:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
as one community resident responded yesterday, "I have a smart phone and a smart family. We are and the residents of Southampton are smart enough not to shop during peak traffic hours" - not a mega mall. How lovely for locals within that area to walk to the store. I love being able to walk to my grocery store. There are so many times we have had spontaneous dinner parties and luncheons with family and neighbors that would NOT have been possible without our grocery stores being within 1 mile from ...more
By JennicaNill (4), on Oct 12, 16 8:32 PM
Handing over zoning changes to developers is like handing over heroin to junkies. As we see with Mr. Trump, they don't pay taxes, "I love depreciation", so it's all gravy. Ask the developer for the revenue and expense cash flow forecast created for the projects bankers and investors.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Oct 11, 16 8:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
Trump "doesn't pay taxes".

What a stupid statement.

Can you please describe just one instance where you voluntarily paid more in taxes than you were required to by law? Just one?
By AngelaGomez-Caldone (16), on Oct 11, 16 4:42 PM
dfree did not have the brilliant business strategy to lose almost a billion dollars. All you have to do, dfree, is borrow vast sums from banks, claim you're going to build YUGE casinos and skyscrapers that will produce a YUGE number of jobs, then punk out and not pay any of your creditors. The small businesses you stiffed will go out of business (because they're dummies who didn't think big), but the banks you default can't go out of business because they are "too big to fail." So the banks will ...more
By btdt (449), water mill on Oct 19, 16 6:57 PM
Gilbert Anderson, the commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Public Works, is pushing for this, as well as the Tuckahoe Road closure/re-routing plan. Can't help wonder... what's in it for him....????
By foodwhiner (148), Southampton on Oct 11, 16 9:21 AM
I hope they never approve this project - horrible for many reasons. Especially the traffic and congestion. There have been 12 major accidents this year alone on country road 39.
By braguy (7), Southampton on Oct 11, 16 12:21 PM
Once again, supporters make emotional and well-documented pleas to the commission, and once again, the same 4-5 angry "do-nothing" opponents pushed their agenda with hyperbole and non-facts. And once again, a village trustee tried to protect turf with cries of lower property values (no evidence at all), the RT58-ifying of CR 39 (not possible or even conceivable given the spaces and uses on CR39), and that most people buy online (um, nope, how many Fresh Direct trucks have you seen in your neighborhood? ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 12, 16 1:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
Still earning your paycheck eh Rick?
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 12, 16 3:23 PM
Funny, yet not true. Just keeping consistent with my long held opinion on this.
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 13, 16 11:55 AM
I'm amazed that the hearings take place during the working day. The retired NIMBY Liberals that show up have time to give their 2 cents while working locals can't go to mid day meetings. And the one opponent who stated "she had been coming out here for years" and "is retired" really shouldn't say that grocery shopping is easy. She has all day to do it. Working locals don't.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Oct 12, 16 3:56 PM
I am so thankful for our two grocery stores in our Center Moriches town that are not even 1 mile apart!!!! I use both AND the local farms stands (when in season) and the butcher, the fish market... - Very sad for working families that are not in the 1% living in Southampton, they basically have one limited grocery store in the heart of the village hella hard to park- or they can drive to Hampton Bays or Bridgehampton 7miles with crazy traffic, or pay top dollar at CVS, 7-11 or Citerella.... It would ...more
By JennicaNill (4), on Oct 12, 16 7:50 PM
Sounds to me like you're related to partner in this project. Lance Nil perhaps? Why else would anyone living in Center Moriches spend so much time posting these lengthy posts in favor of something we in Southampton DO NOT WANT.
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 12, 16 9:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
Speak for yourself, Junebug. I live in Southampton and want this.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Oct 13, 16 6:18 AM
I want it. In fact, everyone I know wants it. The take away here JuneBug is that you aren't in the mainstream. Your views are outliers on this and everything else. You do not speak for anyone as your views are totally out of phase with your fellow local citizens. It's the anger.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Oct 13, 16 6:26 AM
You live in Center Moriches?? Not quite understanding the hyper-interest in a Southampton issue. Or the Latino population.
By East End 2 (151), Southampton on Oct 13, 16 10:55 AM
The take-away is those in favor are in the minority. And by and large out-of-towners. Nobody who lives here wants the inevitable traffic nightmare. Go back and read the comments on this site---you are totally outnumbered.
As for my views "on everything else", we'll see how mainstream they are very soon. And as for my "fellow local citizens, they're just louder.
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 13, 16 11:29 AM
June bug, are you suggesting that the number of posters in a thread on 27A is proof of some king of majority on this topic?
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Oct 13, 16 9:20 PM
If you go back and look at the comments that were posted during the first proposal of this project you will see overwhelming opposition. Along with opposition expressed at public meetings. If this project is as popular as you claim, why is there such vehement opposition on the Southampton Village Board? Those are the locals who most closely represent local sentiment which is all that's relevant in this case.
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 15, 16 1:59 PM
Pave paradise so jennicaNill party
By dave h (193), calverton on Oct 12, 16 8:46 PM
I don't know if any of the board members read these comments, but it is so obvious that all of the supporters are connected to developers and they don't care about the horrible traffic as long as they get their millions.. I've traveled Cty Rd 39 every day for the last 10 years and believe me - I have the real facts - we can not afford any additional slow downs!!!! The shopping center???? First - demolition of existing buildings! Tractor trailers and dust and pollution, then years of construction ...more
By HamptonChick (5), Southampton on Oct 13, 16 8:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
Traffic, traffic, traffic....marsha, marsha, Marsha! Trying to link all supporters to the developer just shows that you may be in denial of the demonstrated need that exists. Many of the commenters, including me, are never going to make a dime on this project, nor care to, but we do believe that it should go forward in the interest of the greater community (not the 5 angry people) and is in the right place and at the right time, and will benefit those that can utilize a better shopping option in ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 13, 16 12:00 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By HamptonChick (5), Southampton on Oct 13, 16 8:55 PM
So Rick, is it your assertion that this project, will not contribute any traffic at all??!! Do you actually live and WORK here? Do you see the insanity that occurs on 39 on a daily basis? This massive project is not needed , especially on this over capacity highway.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 13, 16 8:57 PM
I travel this road several times every day for the past 17 years. Not sure this project, which I feel is needed, is going to contribute to more of a traffic problem. Traffic didn't get worse when the condo construction on 39 started. I shop in King Kullen in HB 2-3 a week. I see lots of people from Southampton shopping there which means they are either traveling on 39 or Montauk Hwy to get there. This option will help alleviate traffic in Hampton Bays.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Oct 13, 16 9:29 PM
Yes, that is my assertion, the traffic generated there will be non-impactful. Why? Because of new lanes cut into the property to off-ramp flow, the cross-access design through the property, and the lessening of trip generation going to HB or into the village for grocery shopping by those in the vicinity. I do actually live and work here. I see both the insanity and the hyperbole of commenters, but at the same time that doesn't mean good, smart, and well-planned ideas, with gads of good engineering ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 14, 16 10:45 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Phanix, Southampton on Oct 14, 16 10:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 15, 16 10:08 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Oct 15, 16 1:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
Again, why can't anyone have an opinion other than yours and Frances? And if they do you and your cohorts complain that something must be going on behind the scenes rathe than back up your own opinion with some facts? You are just proving my point that if you have nothing to say about the issue, you resort to go after the commenter. The reason that I post so much on this issue to mostly to counter the utter fiction and portents of doom that some opponents have on this project, very little of which ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 15, 16 1:49 PM
What are you sitting by your computer just waiting to pounce? Flaks don't have opinions they have agendas.
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Oct 15, 16 2:02 PM
Bat down what is obvious to any sentient being who lives here and travels Cty. Road 39? Only misguided idiots or paid-off pols would approve a traffic magnet on an already hazardous road much less one that is not needed, that would create back-ups beyond imagining. Not to mention the havoc its construction would cause. Your self interest could not be more transparent. Only a zealot with an agenda would, as witch hazel rightly says, sit by a computer ready to pounce. There is demonstrably more ...more
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 15, 16 3:59 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Oct 21, 16 7:31 AM
You lost me at "idiots".
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Oct 22, 16 6:11 PM
Progresssive forward thinking development is needed in this town. Instead, all we get is emotional outcry at every zone change.
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Oct 14, 16 12:08 PM
I rarely agree with Witchy or June, but this project has galvanized a cross section of the population. The traffic on Magee Street is incredible during rush hour and this oversized , UTI style project plans to make use of said Road as a major point of egress and entrance. Now, how does the "gads of good engineering research" deal with this issue? Bear in mind that the light is already timed to allow priority to east-west traffic flow. Adding a significant number of vehicles to this cluster fluck ...more
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 15, 16 4:18 PM
I don't see this as UTI or oversized at all. It may have seemed that way a long time ago, but not now. In fact, the latest build-out proposal is less than the maximum as-of right sq footage which would be allowed under the current highway business zoning.

The design of the center is tasteful and takes into consideration all the modern planning guidelines that both the town and county envision for future commercial development. I'm not sure if you've actually looked at the traffic studies, ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 16, 16 2:24 PM
No matter what, it's less than eight miles to a grocery store in either direction of Tuckahoe, not counting Stop N Shop. If that's too far for you, move to Nassau.

UTI, you find the kind of density you propose.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Oct 19, 16 6:32 AM
1 member liked this comment
The residential density is already here! No, this isn't Nassau, and this project isn't Nassau-sized either. And 8 miles to travel is approx 16 miles there and back, adding another vehicle twice on roads you don't want clogged. If someone living in the vicinity could get to a closer store, not counting the village S&S, that would remove that element of the traffic from the 10 or so miles that would remain (but note the critical difference, the other 1-6 miles of travel is ALREADY being traveled, ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 19, 16 12:04 PM
every single vehicle entering and exiting this shopping center increases traffic in the immediate area, no way to spin it, that's a fact. Please elaborate on how the North Magee traffic light issue will be addressed since you seem to have the inside scoop.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 19, 16 12:39 PM
One thing is that there is a whole extra lane being added to the eastbound side for traffic going into the market, so traffic eastbound, while I would agree would be more concentrated right at that spot, will have that effect totally mitigated eastbound by the extra lane into the property.

As for the Magee St light, I don't know the exact remedy, but since the county and town are ok with whatever their mitigation solution is, including the head of the county dept of public works, I'm going ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 19, 16 6:10 PM
So, in other words you have no traffic solutions for the increase in vehicles utilizing Magee Street for the shopping center.

Got it.

P.S. It's less than TWO miles to Stop n Shop.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Oct 19, 16 9:05 PM
I'm not a traffic engineer. Suspect you aren't either. P.S In your comment above, you framed the discussion minus the S&S.
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 20, 16 6:00 PM
P.S. on your part is a very weak cop out.

Though I am not a traffic engineer, part of my education was the use of PLCs and part of that training was Boolean logic and programming traffic lights.

Bottom line: we do not need this density.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Oct 20, 16 8:37 PM
Mr z, top it, you drive a garbage truck. At most you can call yourself a refuse administrator
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Oct 21, 16 7:28 AM
Actually, I don't. I'm in management these days. And yes, I do hold a specialized technology degree.

Do get over it.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Oct 22, 16 2:24 PM
Why are suggesting more people drive to Hampton Bays?
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Oct 22, 16 6:12 PM
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 16, 16 8:34 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Phanix, Southampton on Oct 17, 16 5:27 PM
Hilarious that Southampton Village had no problem with 120 condos built in the village named Bishops pond. Oh I forgot that was the mayors father in law.lol
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Oct 18, 16 10:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
There is no point in those lengthy posts about this being a good idea. It is a terrible location for this project. The worst possible place for years of demolition, construction and added traffic. Peapod grocery delivery is getting so popular everywhere - time and huge money saver - there is no need for this.
By HamptonChick (5), Southampton on Oct 19, 16 8:58 PM
I find Peapod to be just as bad as Stop N Shop.....they tend to deliver food thats close to the expiration date. Would be great to have a decent grocery store without shelves lines with season goods that we can buy at CVS an Rite Aid ....
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Oct 21, 16 7:11 AM
Online grocery shopping is a drop in the bucket compared to physical food and basic needs shopping. How many of those trucks do you actually see on your street,... likely little to none.
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 20, 16 6:02 PM
2 members liked this comment
Sez you. Ha! Every working woman I know uses Peapod, then supplement with Aldi, then a Costco or BJ's and/or Trader Joe's.
Fewer and fewer rely on overpriced King Kullen or lousy Stop and Shop.
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 20, 16 6:31 PM
Well said June Bug, all my friends (busy mothers) use Peapod. We get coupons and free delivery offers and we do not need another shopping center. Certainly not on the daily route between work and schools - we already struggle with this horrible traffic... And it is year round now not just in the summer.
By HamptonChick (5), Southampton on Oct 20, 16 8:21 PM
Cross traffic has to end up on 39 at some point Rick. That's one of the fatal flaws of this project.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 21, 16 6:31 AM
Build it already. It's desperately needed. 8 jewelry stores and 1 crappy supermarket. I've see tourist towns in Appalachia with better options. The traffic is built in. Not going to change.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Oct 21, 16 7:13 AM
1 member liked this comment
as well it should BAD IDEA!!
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Oct 21, 16 5:29 PM
Grocery delivery is not at all convenient. You have to sit around and wait for the to arrive. In bust periods of the year you can't get a delivery for 3 days sometimes. It's not a viable option for a community. How ridiculous can you be?
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Oct 22, 16 5:39 AM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you!! I dont agree on the location of the proposed store but the town should have thought ahead when IGA shut down. there is no other location. Stop and Shop is a joke! Tired of coming home to find the meat we purchased smelling like rotten eggs!! Or a bag of chips thats expired. As I said earlier , Pea Pod delivers items that are very close to their expiration date . Fresh Direct ONLY delivers during the summer months!! So now I must go to King Kullen in BH....as if I have the time for that ...more
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Oct 22, 16 8:26 AM
Whether it's needed or not should not be the overriding factor. People have a right to develop the property and if it's not needed, you'll soon find out. You afraid there will be an overground blight left there? Oh wait, there already is.

Time to stop standing in the way of evolution and progress.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Oct 22, 16 8:15 AM
Time to stop the exploitation of our home and the overdevelopment of it.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Oct 22, 16 2:26 PM
Nancy didn't have a problem with traffic when the the mayors father in law put in 120 condos around the block from the site. The village is thinking of rezoning Windmill LA from office to Retail space creating nothing but traffic but that's ok. Or my favorite village screw up was the creation of Citarelli which made traffic totally unbearable. What a bunch of hippocrites the village is.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 16, 16 3:54 PM