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Jan 13, 2012 12:38 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Mayor Says Southampton Village Supermarket Law Has Good Chance Of Passing, Despite Opposition

Jan 18, 2012 11:16 AM

Southampton Village Board members this week indicated that they are leaning in favor of proposed legislation that would pave the way for a supermarket to be built at the site of a closed car dealership on Hampton Road, despite a nearly two-hour public hearing last week during which opponents of the measure spoke loudly.

Village Mayor Mark Epley said Tuesday he supports the plan and that he believes it still has a good chance of being approved.

The measure calls for a change to village code to allow supermarkets to be built on parcels zoned highway business. It is being considered, primarily, because The Fresh Market has an arrangement with the owners of the Hampton Road parcel, the Glennon family, to build a grocery store there. The Fresh Market already lists the 630 Hampton Road address as a “coming soon” location on its corporate website.

Critics of the plan packed Village Hall for a public hearing last Thursday, January 12, to voice concerns. Some in attendance that night accused village officials of “spot zoning,” the illegal practice of changing the underlying zoning of a parcel to the benefit of a builder seeking to develop the parcel outside of what is allowed to be sited on a property.

“I know when I see a case of spot zoning,” said Abraham Wallach, a village resident who said he has served as a consultant to developers in New York City on zoning. “You know you can cloak it in many different ways. Ms. Piggy may look like a lot of other things, but she is still basically a pig. When you take off the lipstick, when you take off the wig, when you take off the clothes, Ms. Piggy is a pig—and spot zoning is spot zoning.”

Village officials have disputed the accusation of spot zoning, and Village Attorney Richard DePetris said that, under state law, spot zoning means a zone change is adopted for the owner of a parcel without any community benefit.

Village Trustee Bill Hattrick, however, said this week that the possibility that the proposal would be perceived as “spot zoning” was something he would like to look into more. Also, he said he would like to see actual plans for a supermarket at the site in question. Nonetheless, he said was “leaning toward” approving the measure.

Some members of the public attending the hearing questioned the need for a new supermarket.

“It sounds almost as if there’s a wall around Southampton, and that at night the gates close like a medieval village and you can’t get out, when in fact you can go to Bridgehampton and you have a huge food market there, or you can go in the other direction and you can go to Hampton Bays,” Mr. Wallach said, to hearty applause.

The proposed legislation would amend the village code to allow a grocery store to be built, as a special permit use and with Village Board approval, on parcels zoned highway business. The law would affect a handful of lots—those that measure at least 60,000 square feet, or just shy of 1.5 acres, and front County Road 39 or 39A or Flying Point Road. Village officials had originally said it would affect nine lots, but tax maps show only four or five lots affected.

Mr. Epley said that after Thursday’s public hearing, he would like to better define “supermarket” in the law in an effort to close a potential loophole that could allow stores such as Target—which sell food, but would not be considered supermarkets by many consumers—to come to the village. A draft of the law defines “supermarket” as a retail grocery store with between 10,000 square feet and 20,000 square feet of gross floor area. Some members of the public claimed that The Fresh Market is not a supermarket, but a “gourmet food store.”

Village officials have said the proposed legislation arose from community members’ desire for a new supermarket and that a 68,950-square-foot lot owned by the Glennon family that is currently a shuttered automobile dealership on the village’s eastern border with Water Mill inspired its drafting. They have pointed out that new village architectural guidelines would no longer allow a supermarket to be built in the village business district, where there were once several.

Village Board members pointed out that should the law be implemented, any application for a supermarket would still have to win a series of approvals, including a permit by the Village Board. “It’s not a rubber stamp on anything,” Village Mayor Mark Epley said.

Board members expressed mixed concerns. Trustee Richard Yastrzemski, for example, said he was apprehensive about the precedent such a law would set.

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Is this the same administration which proposed bow-and-arrow deer hunting in the Village! It may be time to have the drinking water in Rome checked for hallucinogens!
By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Jan 13, 12 12:42 PM
good one, nero. not.
By milkdilk (49), Southampton on Jan 13, 12 7:09 PM
The Tuckahoe site would have created less of a traffic problem, and could have supported a much larger store.
By SusieD (115), Southampton on Jan 13, 12 11:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
The "Tuckahoe site" is NOT a suitable location. I have followed the issue very closely and this store would create countless traffic issues on 39 and the residential back streets,not to mention destroying the property values of every residence that borders the site.

Additionally, the site is zoned "highway business" - this zoning does NOT allow for a grocery store and should not be changed to accommodate one man's vision.

This talk of "needing" a new grocery store is absolutely ...more
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Jan 14, 12 10:14 AM
The only grocery store in town, Waldbaums, could use some competition. The specialty grocery stores would still be used.
By joan s (53), hampton bays on Jan 14, 12 12:37 PM
2 members liked this comment
I think it comes down to when do we simply say "enough". I thought living out here was BECAUSE some people reject the idea of a 24/7 society. I know that's one big reason why I have always loved it. Peace, and quiet. Now, there are times when I feel like it's some "bastard suburbia". When will there come a time that there is nothing left to exploit? I agree with David on this one. And, I think that you can place "demanding convenience" under the header "wanton destruction".

Overdeveloped, ...more
Jan 14, 12 10:24 PM appended by Mr. Z
Also, don't forget livin' life slow...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jan 14, 12 10:24 PM
If you're the "we" who decides, we'd be living in caves, clubing women for wives and wearing fur boxer shorts. This is still a republic, Tarzan, and the "we" still means "we the people" and not "me the person".
By Dodger (161), Southampton Village on Jan 22, 12 7:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
Y'know, I remember when going to Riverhead was a "treat". When the old King Kullen in BH was a "haul". Hide and seek in the appliances at the Sears Catalog store next door. Vaguely one movie at the drive in, and a trip to Austin-Clark becauese it was going to close. How about the T-shirt shop, next to the banquet hall, where you now catch the bus.

Country life was about properly stocking the pantry. It was about a certain commonwealth, that seems to be missing, in a way. Commonwealth. ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jan 14, 12 12:10 AM
Too true Mr. ZZZ. When you're right, you're right! Slightly incoherrant, but right.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jan 14, 12 7:57 AM
A bit of a ramble, for sure. But, that's kind of the way the free association in my head works most of the time.

If you want a real throwback, check out the aerial views in the LIAM film on the Vanderbilt cup racing website. Trying to pick out the intersections, and streets is pretty interesting. There are now & then photos as well.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jan 14, 12 10:08 PM
I hate to say this but it looks like there will be another supermarket. Plus more and more congestion. "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot" I believe that's Judy Collins
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on Jan 18, 12 12:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
as the urbanization of the city of southampton continues apace, why would you even be surprised that this is taking place. However, isn't it convenient that the Glennon property was worth X under current zoning and then 4X with the zoning change. Talk about a homerun. This really, really, REALLY doesn't pass the smell test. Perhaps our annointed officials would reveal the terms of the lease, eh ? And those poor people in the condo next door; all those delivery trucks at 3:00 a.m.. But hey, it's ...more
By lazymedic (100), southampton on Jan 19, 12 9:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
Lazymedic: Why would the terms of the lease be any of YOUR business? And the village does not get a copy of such PRIVATE documents. That's between the Glennon family and whomever they lease their space to or sell it to, if that's what THEY choose to do. And, if disclosed, what would it tell you? More to gossip about? If this was your business, you'd be telling everyone to butt out. So take a hint. And if you were that close to the Glennon family, you'd know all the answers, wouldn't you? ...more
By Dodger (161), Southampton Village on Jan 22, 12 7:47 PM
The Golden Rule?

He who has the gold, makes the rule.
By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Jan 23, 12 6:01 AM
2 members liked this comment
I've read all the above and I have to wonder just where y'all are coming from. I set up house keeping in Bridgehampton in 1952. My parents had a village meat and groceries store since the 1920's in Southampton village so I do remember how it was. I see how it has become now in 2012. And in reading David Goddard's book regarding the 'Colonizing of Southampton" The changes over the years are only inevitable or natural, whichever.
The Fresh Market would be a good thing for Southampoton. The Schmidt ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jan 23, 12 12:41 PM
What has happened, is some idiot called it "Paradise".

That was pretty much the end of a good thing, and the beginning of exploitation beyond any dreams of avarice.

Let's build a second home haven, 'cause farms, who the h*** needs them?
Jan 23, 12 2:20 PM appended by Mr. Z
And, BTW, there was NOTHING "natural" about all the fake money the Fed pumped into the economy, which drove the orgiastic greedfest out here.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jan 23, 12 2:20 PM
Over-development is not inevitable and it is most certainly NOT natural
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Jan 26, 12 10:39 AM
While the location may not be appropriate, depending upon traffic studies and the like, the objections based on our having more than enough grocery store choices are ridiculous. In a capitalist society, the consumer drives those choices. If the market owner believes there are sufficient customers out there and they want to compete with Waldbaums, Avanti and Schmidts they should be permitted to do so. I should bot be required to go to horrible Waldbaums, buy over the hill and overpriced produce ...more
By nancyloo (13), Southampton on Jan 24, 12 3:30 PM
3 members liked this comment
"The consumer should make the choices . . . . . ?"

After the Emperor of Southampton Village enforces the Golden Rule?
By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Jan 24, 12 7:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
What's up with the attention to detail at 27east? I've seen so many typos and mistakes in 20 of so minutes flipping through this site. Ya'll are slipping and you want money for full access... LOL is there more attention to detail in the paid section?
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jan 25, 12 5:35 PM