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Dec 14, 2011 10:01 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Grocers, Water Mill Residents Oppose Southampton Village 'Supermarket' Law

Dec 19, 2011 2:41 PM

A wave of opposition is rising against a proposed Southampton Village law that would allow supermarkets to be built in the highway business district.

Village officials have said that a 68,950-square-foot lot owned by the Glennon family that is currently housing a shuttered automobile dealership on the village’s eastern border with Water Mill sparked the drafting of the proposed legislation. The legislation itself seeks to amend the village code to allow a supermarket to be built, as a special permit use and with Village Board approval, on parcels zoned highway business.

The Glennons already have an arrangement with The Fresh Market, a North Carolina-based grocery store chain, to apply for just such a use should the village approve the law, according to Bob Silver, the broker for the family. And their attorney, Gil Flanagan of Bourke, Flanagan and Asato P.C. in the village, has said that preliminary sketches have been drafted.

Village officials have repeatedly stated that there are nine total lots that the law would apply to, though they have not identified any of the properties, maintaining that the law is being drafted with a singular focus. An examination of tax maps of the highway business district reveals just four other sites, aside from the Glennons’ land, that would meet the criteria, and all are largely developed already.

The Water Mill Citizens Advisory Committee has unanimously voted to oppose the village’s proposed zoning changes and plans to send a letter of objection to village officials this week, CAC Chairwoman Rachel Verno said. She and other Water Mill residents are planning to attend a public hearing on the law scheduled for Thursday, January 12, at a Village Board meeting that begins at 6 p.m. at Southampton Village Hall on Main Street.

Two local grocers—Dennis Schmidt, who owns Schmidt’s Market on North Sea Road in the village, and Mike DeGennaro, the owner of Avanti Market and Southampton Wines, both of which are in the Water Mill Shoppes plaza off Montauk Highway in Water Mill—have charged that a new supermarket would hurt their businesses.

The legislation, meanwhile, took a small step forward last Thursday, December 8, when the Village Planning Commission recommended the adoption of the law. Planning Commission Chairman Siamak Samii submitted a letter of support in place of the presentation he was originally slated to give.

“The proposed law is a welcome and necessary addition to the village code to provide additional supermarket activity and use within the confines of the village proper without burdening the intrinsic nature and architecture of the historic district of the village business district,” Mr. Samii’s letter states.

But opponents counter that the highway is not the place for a supermarket. The “high-traffic” volume generated by a grocery store directly contradicts the intent of highway zoning, which is to produce “low-traffic-producing” businesses, Ms. Verno said. She added that it was part of the reason the CAC also objected to the Tuckahoe Main Street proposal, a plan that was defeated last year and called for a 40,000-square-foot King Kullen, among other buildings, along County Road 39 in Tuckahoe.

Ms. Verno also said the legislation could be interpreted as spot zoning—a charge that Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley has denied.

“There were multiple things that happened at one time,” the mayor said this week about how the legislation came about. He said the village recognized a need for a grocery store, determined there were no suitable sites in the village business district, and therefore started looking villagewide. He added that the Tuckahoe Main Street proposal popped up around the time that the Glennon family, the owners of the lot at 630 Hampton Road that fronts Flying Point Road, approached him about the possibility of placing a supermarket at their site.

Still, Ms. Verno and others are not convinced that things transpired that way.

“This feels more like an applicant came to the village and said, ‘We’d like to be at that location,’ not the other way around,” Ms. Verno said on Tuesday. She added that she serves on the town’s County Road 39 committee, and that a need for a supermarket on the highway has never been discussed.

According to village officials, a supermarket at the Glennon site would satisfy those residents who want another local grocery store. The plan would also help spruce up one of the gateways to the village, they said. At the same time, the measure would prohibit development as large as the proposed Tuckahoe Main Street project in nearby Tuckahoe that locals—and the village itself—resoundingly objected to last year.

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too much traffic; no need for another grocery store in SH or in any of the Hamptons.
By AFB (31), NYC/SH on Dec 19, 11 3:12 PM
Per previous posts in earlier articles, this application may be a smoke screen, as Mayor Epley has indicated that 9 other parcels +/- would benefit from this change of zoning.

Despite previous requests, 27east has not updated the map to indicate these other parcels. Hmmmmmm?

In particular, there is a large triangular parcel south of CR39 and west of North Sea Road, which would appear to be within the HB designation. How much of this triangle is taken up by McDonalds, the new Nursing ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Dec 19, 11 7:08 PM
I'm sure the Village could care less what Water Mill thinks. Do what is best for the Village.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Dec 21, 11 11:55 AM