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Aug 13, 2019 9:07 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Planning Board Continues Review Of Proposal To Convert Hampton Bays Movie Theater Into CVS

Southampton Town Planning Board Co-Chiarman Dennis FInnerty. VALERIE GORDON
Aug 13, 2019 3:54 PM

Plans to convert the United Artists movie theater in Hampton Bays into a CVS drugstore are taking shape, and are being considered by the Southampton Town Planning Board.

At a meeting last week, the board discussed a pre-submission conference report, prepared by planner Claire Shea, detailing the recommended aspects of the proposal that would need to be analyzed as part of an environmental study under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

The review would potentially address concerns regarding the width of Springville Road, which several community members stressed is too narrow to accommodate an increase in traffic and large delivery trucks. It also may require an analysis of the existing parking lot.

Christopher Kent of Farrell Fritz in Water Mill, who is representing the drugstore, said that deliveries can be scheduled at different points during the day, including early morning and evening time slots, to further mitigate any traffic concerns.

At a meeting last month, board member John Zuccarelli pointed to a previous application to build a 9,000-square-foot CVS in Bridgehampton, which was denied because of the parking lot’s inability to handle the anticipated influx of cars.

To combat those concerns, property owner Walter Morris noted that CVS customers would be parked in the lot for only approximately 15 minutes — as opposed to two and a half hours for a movie. However, board member Robin Long countered Mr. Morris’s comment, noting that those conditions would mean only more traffic in the area.

As part of the environmental review, the scope of which has yet to be approved, the applicant will likely be required to conduct both peak morning and afternoon traffic counts and offer an estimated increase in vehicles per hour based on the proposal.

The Planning Board also requested that the applicant revise the application to include a well-lit rear entrance into the proposed CVS in an effort to increase safety and to allow for better utilization of the 57 rear parking spaces.

“It’s unsafe the way it looks now,” Ms. Long said. She added that the modification would also allow for the beautification of the existing front parking lot, which she described as a “longtime eyesore.”

However, the request was not well received by Mr. Kent. “It’s a problem for them,” he said of his client, noting that a rear entrance wouldn’t fit the company’s business model.

Instead, Mr. Morris suggested using the back parking lot for employees of the 27,552-square-foot strip mall, which currently includes Dunkin’ Donuts, Bays Liquors and John’s Pizza.

In fact, he said that his leases already include clauses requiring those employees park in the rear of the building, but that it isn’t enforced. He agreed to enforce that restriction via parking stickers to be required on all employee vehicles.

Board member Phil Keith was more receptive to that idea than Ms. Long’s request for a rear entrance. He pointed to a recent drug transaction last month, where Southampton Town Police arrested a 69-year-old Hampton Bays man and charged him with selling cocaine behind the movie theater.

Employees would be able to access their respective buildings through an existing rear door, which is strictly used for deliveries, according to Mr. Morris.

Additionally, at last week’s meeting, the Planning Board agreed to send the application to Chief Building Inspector Michael Benincasa to determine whether the applicant’s proposal would be permitted under the existing village business zoning district.

At a meeting last month, the board was skeptical that the proposed CVS would be classified as a drugstore, as permitted under the town code. Several board members, including Mr. Zuccarelli and Glorian Berk, pointed to the store’s capacity for retail and medical services. “Their uses are evolving,” Ms. Berk said.

The board last week also further criticized the applicant’s request for a monument sign along Montauk Highway.

Ms. Shea stressed that the applicant would need to apply for several setback variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals in order to move forward with the sign.

However, Mr. Kent was adamant that his client “needs” the sign in order to draw in customers and pointed to the 20-foot-high King Kullen sign less than a mile down the road.

Planning Board Co-Chairman Dennis Finnerty was quick to explain that the sign was approved as part of a planned development district — a now defunct zoning tool that allowed exceptions to code. “Every business needs it until they don’t get it,” he added.

Ms. Long added that approving a monument sign under the existing village business zone would set a precedent for other businesses to do the same. “Once you open the door for one tenant, it’s not going to be just one,” she said.

At the applicant’s request, the Planning Board deferred a decision to approve the conference report and scope of review until Thursday, August 22. The delay, he said, would allow Mr. Benincasa enough time to review the application and determine whether the proposed CVS falls within the town code’s definition of a drugstore.

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Yes, we need another pharmacy! There isn't a Rite Aid 1 minute from that location or anything. This will surely improve the quality of life in Hampton Bays! Lets take away the one thing in HB that entertains kids and allows them to spend quality time with their family. What is happening to my Town? First the Townhouses at Tiderunners, then the revamping of the highway by that location which has already caused more traffic and accidents and now the movie theatre.
By tranquility1985 (25), Hampton Bays on Aug 15, 19 11:10 AM
2 members liked this comment
Very sad!!!
By MelissaA (54), Sag Harbor on Aug 15, 19 12:27 PM
Tranquility, what happened to your Town is poor planning and punitive costs to go into business that has driven out many "mom and pops" from wanting to open up a place. Only those with deep pockets can afford the TOS planning board and all the associated costs. Not many can afford to pay taxes on a piece of land while the the Planning Board decides on whether or not they want Petunias or Rhododendrons.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Aug 15, 19 12:46 PM
2 members liked this comment
Please remind me - wasn't there a grocery store in that location prior to the movie theater? How did the town handle the deliveries? Traffic? parking? lighting? Come on - this is a stretch - to hold up a valid business who actually wants to come to Hampton Bays - will be there long term - and people are complaining. Of yes - lets have another vacancy. Lets face it - the movie theater is NOT staying - whether CVS comes to town or not - they are leaving. So it makes sense to let the building ...more
By Hampton Bays resident (12), Hampton Bays on Aug 15, 19 2:38 PM
2 members liked this comment
CVS is not a Drug Store.
They call themselves "health and beauty aids" Store
They sell scripts in a very small section and much more $$$ comes in from not health related.
By Summer Resident (251), Southampton Town, NY on Aug 16, 19 2:24 AM