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Dec 8, 2016 11:38 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Expects To Hold At Least One More Public Hearing In January On Proposed Tuckahoe Center Change Of Zone Before Voting

Developer Robert Morrow at the Suffolk County Planning Commission Meeting.  JEN NEWMAN
Dec 14, 2016 11:23 AM

The Southampton Town Board has a clear path to consider revised plans for a shopping center along County Road 39 in Tuckahoe following the Suffolk County Planning Commission’s endorsement of the proposed zone change last week.

A majority vote of the five-member Town Board is all that will be required to approve the Tuckahoe Center proposal, and the board could take that vote at any time, without further public input—though Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said this week that to do so would be “bad form.”

As a result, the supervisor said no action will be taken on the application, pitched by lead developer Robert Morrow, until after a public hearing is held at Town Hall on Tuesday, January 24.

“Technically, we don’t have to do the public hearing,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “I think it would be bad form not to do it. I would not vote on it based on other public hearings. [The application] has been modified … I think we need to have at least one new hearing on it.

“It’s something heading our way,” he later added.

He also noted that more than one hearing could be held on the application, which seeks to alter the zoning on three adjoining properties, totaling 7.26 acres, along the southeastern side of County Road 39, from highway business to shopping center business zoning. The change is needed to permit the construction of a 38,000-square-foot supermarket and an additional 14,500 square feet of commercial space in three additional buildings on the property.

At its most recent meeting, on December 7, the Suffolk County Planning Commission voted in favor of the proposed zone change, 9-6, despite a plea to reject the application from Commissioner Barbara Roberts, a Sag Harbor resident who immediately resigned from the commission following the vote. A year ago, she led the rejection of an earlier version of the plan by the commission.

“The Town Board had a year to approve this,” Ms. Roberts said at the meeting. “We have had three meetings on this site where not a single town elected official has been here to support it … This zoning change decision is about change of use. In this new referral, there is absolutely no change of use.”

The application has bounced between the commission and the Southampton Town Board ever since a more ambitious proposal failed to win the Suffolk County Planning Commission’s support last December. The revised version pitches a slightly smaller development, and would rely on a fourth lot to create a 50-foot buffer between the proposed shopping center and Magee Street.

The commission’s support is critical because, without it, four out of the five Town Board members—a supermajority—would have to approve the zoning change for it to take effect. With the commission’s approval, a simple majority will suffice.

Mr. Schneiderman said he tentatively plans to introduce a resolution at the next Town Board meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, December 27, to hold a public hearing on the application in late January.

At its October meeting, the Suffolk County Planning Commission labeled the revised Tuckahoe Center application “incomplete,” an atypical decision, as it usually votes to recommend only that a town either approve, reject or call for modification of a project. Additionally, in all three commission meetings, the county staff report—an opinion that the commission typically supports—recommended that the panel approve the proposal.

One of the concerns raised in the commission’s earlier “incomplete” decision was a pending lawsuit filed by Mr. Morrow, of Southampton Venture LLC, and the potential legal ramifications of the commission’s decision. After the courts dismissed his suit—which charged that two commission members, including Ms. Roberts, should have recused themselves due to personal bias—Mr. Morrow filed an appeal in mid-November. He abandoned the appeal after learning that the commission had signed off on the zone change last week.

The county approval comes after Southampton Village officials had expressed concerns about potential traffic created by the new shopping center, suggesting that emergency responders heading to and from nearby Southampton Hospital could be negatively affected by the complex. The town responded to those concerns on December 2, citing a letter by Peter Fallon, a certified paramedic and employee of the Wading River Fire Department, who wrote that there was “no need for any ambulance … to use CR39.”

Mr. Morrow said he was pleased with the commission’s decision to validate the proposed change of zone, noting that he thinks most of the community supports his vision.

“I’m thrilled,” he said after last week’s vote. “We worked very hard. The town has been willing to move the process along. Now that the commission voted in our favor, we intend to move forward with the town.”

While many supporters were in attendance for last week’s three-hour meeting, several opponents also voiced their concerns about the project. The exchanges between supporters and opponents grew heated at times, with some individuals speaking out of turn.

In one instance, when the commission allowed Nancy McGann, a Southampton Village trustee, to speak without a three-minute time limitation, vocal opposition was heard in the back of the room. Lyle Pike of Southampton, a contractor who also owns several rental properties throughout the town and is a partner in the Tuckahoe Center proposal, and Tony Piazza, founder of Piazza Horticultural Fine Gardens in Southampton, argued that she should have not been allowed more time to speak since the development falls outside her village’s jurisdiction.

However, Jennifer Casey, the Planning Commission’s chairwoman—who later voted against the proposal—previously emphasized that the commission holds the discretion to extend that courtesy to government officials.

Two newly appointed commission members, East End farmers Rodney Anderson and John Condzella, voted in favor of the application. Commission members are nominated by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and approved by the legislature.

“What’s next—a Home Depot or a Target?” Ms. McGann asked the commission after noting that Mr. Morrow does not yet have a tenant locked in to run the supermarket. Later, she added that the center would be built in an already “dangerous” and highly traveled section of County Road 39. “The only route to the East End—that says it right there,” Ms. McGann added.

At the end of the meeting and after resigning, Ms. Roberts walked past Mr. Morrow and shared that she plans to attend future town meetings on his proposed center, adding that she will continue to speak out in opposition.

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Morrow's delusional if he thinks the community is behind this project. I don't know anybody who isn't going to profit from it who thinks it's a good idea.
By Dafsgirl (64), Southampton on Dec 8, 16 12:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'm not profiting from this. And I'm for it.

Sick and tired of schlepping to HB or BH for groceries after working all day... Or going to stop n Shop.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Dec 8, 16 7:51 PM
lol!! hahaha.

sick of the supermarket in my town/village
sick of the supermarket in the neighboring village
sick of the supermarket in the other neighboring village

build a new supermarket, this will solve my problem!

hahahaha. what are you trying to buy even
By adkvkdiesldkrive (9), southampton on Dec 8, 16 8:09 PM
Im with you on that Draggerman !!!

By toes in the water (884), southampton on Dec 9, 16 7:44 AM
Would you support a non highway solution?
By TheTurtle (143), Southampton on Dec 9, 16 8:25 PM
I absolutely agree. Will be horrible for traffic, and make the area look like Patchogue. Awful idea.
By braguy (7), Southampton on Dec 21, 16 3:23 PM
Party at rickenbacker's.
Mall in the Pine Barrens soon.
Yay for those who can turn country into city for allegef convenience.
By dave h (193), calverton on Dec 8, 16 12:46 PM
3 members liked this comment
Mall in the Pine Barrens? We already have one in Smithtown. No need.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Dec 9, 16 8:28 AM
Now we will see if our LOCAL ELECTED officials will do the right thing and deny this monstrosity or commit political suicide.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 8, 16 1:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
To Local Officials: Pass this insanity if you want to see an actual swamp draining. Not needed. Advocates few in number have financial interest.
Once again: NO, NO, and NO.
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Dec 8, 16 1:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yes, yes, yes. Alleviate traffic in Hampton bays by opening a store in Southampton. Makes perfect sense.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Dec 8, 16 5:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
Finally! Sorry June Bug.

Jay will vote yes. The other 2 "Jays" will follow. Little lemmings, following big Jay off a cliff. And thank god!
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Dec 8, 16 8:26 PM
Outstanding. Can't wait.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Dec 9, 16 4:33 AM
Well now there is no more need wasting time and money studying the traffic issues on 39. Its really simple ad a huge use like that and they will come! The entire PDD process is a shame and needs to be removed from the books.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Dec 9, 16 6:19 AM
1 member liked this comment
This application is not a PDD. It's a change of zone request, in an area that the town previously anticipated a change of zone request like this. It's not insanity, it is smart development after decades of residential building and growth to meet a demonstrated infrastructure need. The commission, I think, finally got it, and voted 9-4. That's a pretty commanding statement there in the numbers.
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Dec 9, 16 9:51 AM
Here is the results of the County Rd 39 Study.

The traffic is never going away. It's only getting worse. Nothing will ever change that. People drive like morons throughout this stretch and the entirety of Long Island.

The End.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Dec 9, 16 8:26 AM
This is great news! More jobs, more options and maybe they can get rid of that dreadfully disgusting joke of a grocery store in the village they call Stop and Shop.
By Jakeybaddog (1), southampton on Dec 9, 16 8:28 AM
Bizarre behavior: experiment closing intersections to improve traffic flow then consider approving a major barrier to traffic flow that is currently against the law, by changing the law.
How stupid . . .
With all our resident genius can't anyone find a non highway solution to impending starvation of our community?
This will become like the biggest rest stop on the Jersey Turnpike, without 6 lanes in both directions an no 2 lane exits.
We can do better than this!
By TheTurtle (143), Southampton on Dec 9, 16 8:13 PM
If our area has such a lack of food shopping opportunities, why has there been such an increase in residents?? Using Rickenbackers' logic there should be a migration UTI to be closer to supermarkets.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 12, 16 9:25 AM
I am sorry to say but regarding the proposed shopping center in Tuckahoe it has been negated by someone who owns a business that is in conflict with the big box stores.
By summertimegal (97), southampton on Dec 12, 16 9:39 AM
I guess I forgot to read the first paragraph of the story. Sorry .
By summertimegal (97), southampton on Dec 12, 16 9:41 AM
Rickenbacker is correct, this isn't a PDD application. It used to be a PDD application until the developer saw that it wasn't going well and he was stacking the deck against himself because PDD approval requires a 4-vote majority. So he changed it to a simple zone change request which can pass with 3 votes on the Town Board.

His scheme was frustrated, though, because the Suffolk County Planning Commission disapproved the application, thereby re-imposing the 4-vote threshhold for the Town ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 12, 16 11:02 AM
Hate to disagree with you but the PDD was a completely different situation, which included residential apartments and housing and incorporated the residential acreage. The village and the CAC screamed bloody murder over the concept of "Tuckahoe Main Street" at that time. The current application, whose most recent change was not insignificant turkey Bridge, as the town concurred, is a change of zone for the existing commercial space from HB to SCB. The residential portion is left as is (the abandoned ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Dec 12, 16 12:16 PM
Duh, of course the developer had to modify the project in order to go from a PDD application to a zone change application and get that valuable reduction in the vote threshhold he needs. It's self-evident that he couldn't just go, presto, from one to the other.

You may want to be careful of accusing opponents of "behind the scene dealings." Word to the wise.

You say traffic studies conclude the project "will not negatively impact the traffic situation in the Tuckahoe area." ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 12, 16 6:21 PM
The first vote at the county level was seemingly used a an attempted political springboard by Dave Calone. He voted no and was in 27 East for the first time ever. Funny it coincided with his announcement of his failed attempt to get the Dem nomination to take on Lee Zeldin. And he resigned after that hearing.

Why is it that after each vote a member resigned? First Calone, now Barbara Roberts. Who, alegedly, gave erroneous testimony. I read her actual speech, George. She painted East Enders ...more
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Dec 13, 16 6:22 AM
Except that your opinion, or the alleged "many, many" are not necessarily, or even likely, fact. I don't see any of the opponents putting forth an actual traffic study that would contradict the two traffic studies that were done by experts.

I have a seat-of-the-pants opinion on the positive effects the center will have on traffic. I disagree with your opinion on traffic as unscientific and simply an effort to cast any sort of development on CR39 in a negative light, but at the end of the ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Dec 13, 16 10:53 AM
The UTI land speculators have speculated incorrectly and in all probability have this abomination rejected. Rick, why the increased residential density WITHOUT this project ? You make it sound like we are all in danger of starving due to lack of a mega supermarket.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 12, 16 8:52 PM
Traffic nightmare on Cty Rd 39 and the residual problems into the residential nabes to the south will be horrid, so project should be rejected on that basis alone. What hasn't been mentioned here is another which is the negative impact it would have on the village business district. Think Riverhead and what happened to its downtown when Rte 58 was developed. Without viable Main Street shops, you can kiss the SH economy and tourist draw goodbye. No to Tuckahoe!
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Dec 12, 16 9:22 PM
But, Ms. Bug, if the developers put a few chain restaurants on the property that would be better for the village? The only store this would detract from is stop n Shop.

SH village has very few stores for locals, let's face it. Other than the two mega drug stores on the same block. There's 4 locally owned stores I go to on a regular basis. 5 if you count Sean's second location on jobs. Screaming "CR58" is nonsense as this is the only property available for a shopping center.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Dec 13, 16 6:11 AM
Well said Draggerman! I too can only afford a handful of shops in the village. So I cant see how this will hurt the business' in the village.

The current Stop & Shop building would be a great place to relocate Citarella....This would allow for more parking in the village, not just for shoppers, but all the employees who struggle to find parking. Theres too much traffic on Hampton Road....maybe this is a stupid idea but it makes sense to me ....
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Dec 14, 16 7:06 AM
One more nail in the coffin...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 13, 16 6:32 AM
WELCOME TO NASSAU COUNTY . This is total BS. yes, a need for a better grocery store, but not there ! cripes we're getting nailed . Believe me, people aren't going to use Cty road 39. they'll use the back roads. Tuckahoe Lane for one, has gotten s...t on in a big way. The hideous up west looking condos, and now 28 more houses right across the tracks from it. T
he road that now goes from Tuckahoe Lane to Magee Street will be the perfect by-pass from Hill St. to the freaking grocery store. There ...more
By scalloper (17), quogue on Dec 14, 16 9:04 AM
So, at least we can agree a new and better grocery store is needed. Let's look at your other observations. Plenty of other locations - actually not true. In fact, it takes a minimum of 5 acres to get a supermarket with a few supporting stores. There were only 3 or 4 of these locations anywhere near the market area, and they all have more significant issues than this one. One location, the driving range, is being preserved. The Elks property is not for sale. Another property was on David White's ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Dec 14, 16 3:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
The Solar Nation property on the corner of 27 and Flying Point now has a sign announcing a strip mall.

No hearings on that one folks. Just like when Mr. Morrow, et al go for the as of right building permit on this property. So you think fighting this will make the land stay vacant? Guess again.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Dec 14, 16 8:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
I can't believe this is happening. It seems unlikely that the Suffolk Cty vote changed so much within one month without any reason. The lawsuit threats show that the developers are bullies and will do anything to get their $$. I hope our Town will not fall for this and consider residents before the money hungry bullies. It will hurt a lot of people that leave and work in that area. This project needs to be permanently shut down - please consider us - real people here!
By HamptonChick (5), Southampton on Dec 15, 16 9:08 AM
What does that tirade even mean? The last time the commission voted was a year ago, not a month ago. The lawsuit related to Barbara Roberts sitting on the board of an online grocer, creating a potential conflict of interest. The whole project has residents in consideration. Real people, real residents, real supporters. I hope the town sees the wisdom of this addition to the community, and passes it unanimously.
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Dec 15, 16 10:19 AM
Dear Town Board: please consider us current residents in your decision. This project will hurt our community, destroy current small businesses throughout. This should be more important than developers demands or even the convenience of shopping.
By HamptonChick (5), Southampton on Dec 15, 16 11:14 AM
This oversized UTI inspired project is not needed. If the lack of food in the area was so severe there would be a migration OUT , not in. Seems as if we are just fine with the status quo and have no desire for the increased back and side street traffic that this project, with no commitment from a grocery store, will bring.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 15, 16 11:54 AM
OK, I'm going to call you out on this "UTI" crapola. You think this is a UTI project, by UTI people, and I find that really a fiction of your own making. The owners of the properties are all local residents, some of which brought up families in the Southampton school district. Several have local businesses, and the most senior one has been instrumental in a number of historic renovations for the community, well before this application was even on the table. There are also local contractors and landscape ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Dec 15, 16 6:04 PM
Falling on deaf ears, Rickenbacker. They've made up their minds. Don't confuse them with facts.

Amazing that not one of the NIMBY lemmings question putting a "mega mall" at the merge. That horrifies me.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Dec 15, 16 10:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
Check my above post," UTI INSPIRED project". Is Morrow a local resident? Some of the players are local businessmen, but the project reeks of Smithtown.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 17, 16 9:49 AM
Yes, but check out your own post above of "UTI land speculators", and the many "UTI"-inspired posts in past articles on this subject. You're just spreading fiction. And yes, Morrow is s Bridgehampton resident.
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Dec 17, 16 10:40 AM
Maybe my favorite comment ever:

sick of the supermarket in my town/village
sick of the supermarket in the neighboring village
sick of the supermarket in the other neighboring village

build a new supermarket, this will solve my problem!

hahahaha. what are you trying to buy even
By adkvkdiesldkrive (9), southampton on Dec 8, 16 8:09 PM
By dave h (193), calverton on Dec 16, 16 6:43 PM
where will all the employees of the supermarket live? close by, i assume, because otherwise they will be stuck in traffic and the store won't be able to open.

also, will be funny to see a tractor trailer full of goods for this new strip mall making a left hand turn into the parking lot. that's good for a delay of about 2 hours on a busy weekday during the spring rush to open up the mcmansions on the east end. bet they will find that hill street to strip mall series of roads confusing. ...more
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Dec 19, 16 4:22 PM
But the light at Magee Street will be synched to allow left turns, but wait , wasn't the light to the west turned to a flashing yellow to speed the flow of traffic ? That didn't work as planned . Imagine the backup when the light at Magee comes into play to handle the "cross access" touted by the projects' proponents. But the "planners" somehow claim that this will not be a problem.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 22, 16 6:48 AM
I think you are really stretching here simply to make a negative point. The left turn there is probably the most problematic of the issues, but the county director of public works believes it is an issue that can be mitigated. The cross access functionality serves much more than just the left turn into Magee. You "imagining" is just that, and it's not backed up by any reliable data.
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Dec 22, 16 11:09 AM
"reliable data"? Do you use this intersection now? I do , and at times the northbound traffic waiting to make a left onto 39 backs up almost to the tracks due to volume and the timing of the light. This project , if approved will , by design, add significant volume to Magee. Volume on 39 is already so large that the county tried to increase flow by ELIMINATING one of the lights to the west, remember that disaster?There will be either monumental backups on Magee or 39 due to the timing of the light. ...more
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 23, 16 11:57 AM
The problem you refer to has everything to do with the trade parade heading west. People trying to circumvent this traffic by using the backroads to get to Magee are always going to encounter traffic, regardless of whether the KK goes forward.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Dec 23, 16 9:01 PM
Agreed , adding the traffic from the shopping center to Magee will just exacerbate the situation. FYI there is no commitment from any grocer at this time.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 24, 16 8:53 AM
You make an assumption that the traffic studies, and the various planners, have not taken the situation on Magee into consideration, but that's not accurate. Based on the findings, which were done in the heaviest traffic situations, during the height of summer traffic, they all came out ok on traffic, and the head of the county actually stated as much at the SCPC meeting last year. The grocer issue is a canard, since the Town has already told the developer that one of the conditions for approval ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Dec 24, 16 2:34 PM
If it looks like a canard, quacks like a canard, and blocks traffic like a canard then it's a corrupt Suffolk County commission taking in money from a canard to approve a zoning change that will net a real estate developer more than $10 million in net profits.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Dec 24, 16 3:38 PM
And you base this on what facts, exactly? Speaking of canard, your post is just quackery.
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Dec 26, 16 9:42 AM
Please explain how adding volume from the shopping center will not exacerbate the Magee intersection problem, thanks.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 26, 16 10:12 AM
received a curious mailing today. a letter in support of the tuckahoe center from a woman named jennica velasquez, with a petition to the town board attached which jennica advised me to sign. strange thing was that this letter was sent under a bulk mail permit to "postal patron" from a commercial address - 67 mariner drive. Turn out that 67 mariner drive, by way of quick google search, is the address of a business owned by none other than lance nill, one of the owners of the tuckahoe center ...more
By lineside (4), southampton on Dec 31, 16 10:43 AM
Rickenbacker are you Paul, mayor of EH ? .. i still cant figure out why you care so much about this project in SH as opposed to your relative silence on so many other development project
By dave h (193), calverton on Jan 2, 17 8:14 PM

Traffic nightmare on Cty Rd 39 and the residual problems into the residential nabes to the south will be horrid, so project should be rejected on that basis alone. What hasn't been mentioned here is another which is the negative impact it would have on the village business district. Think Riverhead and what happened to its downtown when Rte 58 was developed. Without viable Main Street shops, you can kiss the SH economy and tourist draw goodbye. No to Tuckahoe!
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Jan 2, 17 9:23 PM