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Jan 25, 2012 10:59 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Supermarket Law Takes a Pummeling, May See Revisions

Jan 25, 2012 11:28 AM

A proposed Southampton Village law intended to pave the way for a supermarket on Hampton Road appears likely to see some revisions after taking a public pummeling.

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 chain 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—something that Village Board members said openly at a meeting on Tuesday that they were not pleased with.

Following a second public hearing on the proposal Tuesday night, Mayor Mark Epley refrained from commenting other than to say the village needs to “regroup.” On Wednesday morning, he said he was still leaning in favor of the law.

Other Village Board members also showed greater concern Tuesday. Trustee Richard Yastrzemski, who at the first public hearing on January 12 said he had some apprehensions about the precedent the legislation could set, said on Tuesday that his apprehensions have turned to “complete misgivings.”

Trustee Bonnie Cannon kept repeating Tuesday that the proposal had nothing to do with the deal between The Fresh Market and the Glennon family. “It needs some enhancements for me to be in favor of it,” she said Wednesday morning, explaining that the law should better define a supermarket so that a more traditional supermarket like Trader Joe’s could come in, not a gourmet food store like The Fresh Market.

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.

Trustee Nancy McGann did not take an explicit stance on the issue Tuesday. She said on Wednesday that she was still undecided, and that her main concern was that the law would only provide for small specialty stores instead of larger supermarkets. Trustee Bill Hattrick, who had previously said he was “leaning” in favor of passage, was out of town and absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

Village officials have said the proposed legislation arose from community members’ desire for a new supermarket, and that the 68,950-square-foot lot owned by the Glennon family—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.

Accusations of spot zoning were among the many objections residents have raised against the proposal—but according to people familiar with the law and land use issues, the accusation is not so crystal clear.

Spot zoning—unlawfully changing the underlying zoning of a single parcel to the benefit of a developer—is a difficult burden to prove, according to State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.

Mr. Thiele, who also serves as the village attorney for Sag Harbor, said he was familiar with the Southampton Village proposal, although not involved with it. Mr. Thiele declined to offer an opinion about whether the proposal would constitute spot zoning. But he explained that if the Village Board could demonstrate that the zone change would provide a public benefit, it could offset claims of spot zoning.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions about what constitutes spot zoning,” Mr. Thiele said. “A lot of people think that if a zoning classification only applies to one piece of property, that automatically constitutes spot zoning—but it doesn’t. It may raise a red flag or two if it’s only one piece of property, but that isn’t what constitutes spot zoning.”

If a property was being rezoned because of a benefit to the greater public and had a rational basis, then it would be legal, he said. If, however, the benefit was only to the property owner and there was no public benefit, then it would be spot zoning, he said.

Any zone change should also be in accordance with a municipality’s comprehensive plan, he said. As part of the proposed legislation, the Village Board “finds that this local law is not inconsistent with the Village Comprehensive Plan,” which identifies supermarket uses in the village business district as important uses.

The issue of spot zoning relies largely on case law, Mr. Thiele said, citing the 1960 case, Church vs. Town of Islip, as the number-one case on spot zoning. In that case, neighboring property owners unsuccessfully claimed that a zoning change made by the Islip Town Board was spot zoning because, they argued, it did not comply with a comprehensive plan and was passed arbitrarily. “The presumption is always in favor of local government,” Mr. Thiele said.

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Let's see: development of defunct property; creation of local jobs; more product choices for shoppers; increased competition which usually means lower prices and better service. Please do the right thing.
By Richard Blumenthal (13), Westhampton Beach on Jan 25, 12 1:03 PM
4 members liked this comment

90% of which will most likely pay minimum wage (7.25/hr), or at the most $9.00/hr. Try living on $200 a week, and get back to us.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jan 25, 12 2:17 PM
2 members liked this comment
Well Richard you live in Westhampton Beach. As we all know talk is cheap. How about if the County put up housing for 100 homeless famililies (they have the land) at Gabresli? I think they should.
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on Jan 27, 12 3:12 PM
So anyone who works a minimum-wage job should just quit their jobs because they are practically worthless in your opinion? Their work has no value? Maybe to you.
But I know quite a few people who work minimum wage jobs...Some are young, and it's their first job...Some are older and have to supplement their fixed income...And some have it as a second job because they need it to get by. I know others who are out of work who would be happy to have any job.
You know what's worse than trying ...more
Jan 31, 12 11:54 AM appended by TheWaterMillian
(Directed to Mr.Z, not Richard)
By TheWaterMillian (34), Water Mill on Jan 31, 12 11:54 AM
2 members liked this comment
Trader Joe’s Trader Joe’s Trader Joe’s or nothing you people make me laugh!
just listen to how you try to engineer capitalism.
By They call me (2826), southampton on Jan 25, 12 1:27 PM
Fresh Market is a good company that runs clean, well organized stores.
I for one will be there from the moment they open.
Frankly, Trader Joe's isn't all that, get over it !
By SIslander (5), Shelter Island on Jan 25, 12 1:46 PM
2 members liked this comment
Spot zoning? what about the "convience stores on the highway like the 7-11?
If y'all let this one get away from the community it will be a big loss. If the Village wants to continue to have a responsible businesses within it's bounds then take it from me and all the other residents of Southampton who spend the winter in the area of The Villages of N/Central Fla. I'm sure Kathleen would not put her product in a lesser quality store. And I am so happy to have Tate's Cookies here where I can ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jan 25, 12 2:46 PM
Another thing every worker I encounter in Fresh Market seems very happy. They greet the customer with a smile and treat us (even seemingly stupid questions) with respect. Their pay is a bit above par for this area of Florida. I asked! The store is very clean. As I've said before it will not be such a threat to Schmidt's because of the distance between them. Fresh Market will only be an addittion to the east end of the village.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jan 25, 12 2:53 PM
2 members liked this comment
Summertime, do you own stock in this company? Are you a partner? Does your child or husband bag groceries there?
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Jan 26, 12 9:19 PM
No to Tuckahoe, but yes to this? Typical crony BS.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Jan 25, 12 2:55 PM
2 members liked this comment
Excuse me, but when I think of grocery store, I don't think of Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or Fresh Market! How about some real local competition to Waldbaum's and King Kullen. Stop and Shop or a Shoprite is what we need.
Not all of us are as concerned with the price of arugala as our Dear Leader Obama was in 2008!
By cedric (22), Southampton on Jan 25, 12 3:44 PM
3 members liked this comment
Have any traffic studies been presented yet? That's the biggest problem. A small gourmet store is not what people want for a supermarket. A Best Yet market would be a good alternative. Then there would be competition for Schmidts, Citarellas,and farm stands...The problem with these people coming in here is that they have not spent the winter here. They are used to the year round wealthy zip codes. Not the two months it takes to make it year round.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jan 25, 12 7:56 PM
I like arugula... really, makes a great salad, walnuts and pears, a nice dressing.
What were we talking about? Oh that airplane hanger called a museum!
By ride the truth wave (125), southampton on Jan 25, 12 10:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
The village of no wants to put a supermarket at the busiest east end intersection? The village that is worried about comercial development and gaudy signs wants a supermarket? They don't want a supermarket like King Kullen further down on 39 because of traffic problems, but a supermarket at a 4 way intersection is ok? Something smells in Hazzard County
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 26, 12 12:00 AM
You have no idea just how classy and upscale The fres Market is so stop yer beefin'. Kathleen of Tate's Cookies thought high enough of the very small chain to allow her product to be sold there. Every Sountamptonite that I know of in The Villages, Fla is happy to go to The Fresh Market.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jan 26, 12 8:35 PM
The over-development fanatics who cannot live without 10 grocery stores in a 15 mile radius don't want upscale, they want affordable.

How long were you held captive in the Fresh Market reeducation camp?
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Jan 26, 12 9:21 PM
2 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Jan 26, 12 3:50 PM
It would be a good thing if the Trustees of the village would avail themselves of the information on this highly recommended store, The Fresh Market/
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jan 26, 12 8:37 PM
Attention Fiddlers !!!!

Wake up !!!

It does not matter one WHIT what market is proposed for this location.

The location is probably the WORST place to put a food market in Southampton Village.

Are you brain-dead?

If God and Jesus proposed to open the Market of The Almighty here (with a guaranty of the Life Eternal), it would STILL be a terrible location.

Fiddle On !!!

Keep re-arranging deck chairs on The Titanic !!!
By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Jan 26, 12 9:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
PS -- and don't forget The Golden Rule:

"He Who Has the Gold, Makes the Rule."

Perhaps this location would be a perfect spot for Bay Street Theater?

Fiddlers, unite!
By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Jan 26, 12 9:35 PM
Guess how many new applications for "relief" are going to be generated by this rezoning ? Our ruling aristocracy is slowly pissing away this Village for short term gains. And what happens when Fresh Market goes away ? What's next ? The number 4 train from Flushing ? And let's not forget Southampton Meadows condominiums that just got thrown under the bus.
"Take paradise........... "fougedaboudit. it's already been took.
By lazymedic (100), southampton on Jan 28, 12 12:05 PM
The Pope loves Fresh Market . So when he stops here He wants his Stuffv.
By patrickstar (67), hampton bays on Jan 28, 12 1:55 PM
Just went to my first Fresh Markat in Fla-very good store
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jan 28, 12 3:50 PM
The supermarket in FLA is classy??? What has that have to do with anything? So you went to a fresh market in FLa and it was nice. I'm very happy for you. How are the cantaloupes, Sheesh!!! I'm sure any chain supermarket is going to build a very nice and classy place for you to shop. I would think that location is probably the worst place to build a supermarket, if in fact a supermarket was even in the best short, and long term vision of this community.
Before you start asking what ...more
By good vs evil (4), southampton on Jan 29, 12 9:59 AM
Let's lay it down. Don't get hung up on Supermarket or whatever smoke and mirrors the legacy seekers look to cloud your synapses with. You need more competition out in Southampton for Nusbaums. Don't let the excrement stirrers tell you differently. This ain't it though. You do NOT need some overpriced ego massager filled with demitasse and pinkies in the air. It does you NO good. What you want is a nice place with good prices that will attract boatloads of shoppers. Yeah, that's the ticket.
By PrEtEnDeR (2), East Hampton on Jan 30, 12 7:37 PM
Whole Food or Fresh Market
By Bel (86), southampton on Jan 31, 12 3:51 PM
The fact is that there is not room at this site or any other I can think of within the Village for a supermarket like Stop & Shop or a King Kullen. Those stores certainly are not going to be able to use a site like this for a store because it's too small. And any place you could find in the village (on some highway) is going to have the same traffic issues everyone is mentioning. The spot in question can accommodate a smaller MARKET which is what this is. It is not a SUPERmarket because its ...more
By nancyloo (13), Southampton on Feb 1, 12 1:59 PM