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Feb 8, 2012 9:43 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Glennon Shares Perspective On Proposed Supermarket Law

Feb 9, 2012 9:46 AM

As a chorus of opposition has emerged against a proposed Southampton Village law that would allow supermarkets to rise in the highway business district, paving the way for a planned supermarket near the intersection of County Road 39 and Flying Point Road, the property’s owner, Wally Glennon, has remained quiet, mostly listening. Until now.

Mr. Glennon’s family owns the Hampton Road parcel that Village Mayor Mark Epley said in October inspired the particular legislation now under consideration by the Village Board. The law, if passed, would add “supermarket” to a long list of allowed uses, with board approval, on a tiny handful of lots zoned highway business.

But it is the Glennons’ lot, a vacant former automobile dealership at 630 Hampton Road on the corner at Flying Point Road and County Road 39, that has stirred much of the public’s passion at two public hearings, with many crying that—with an agreement with The Fresh Market food store chain already in place—the cart has been placed before the horse.

Mr. Glennon has remained out of the public eye, listening at a public hearing on the legislation on January 12 but not speaking. He was out of town during a second hearing on January 24. With opposition getting noisier and with some of the village trustees seemingly on the fence about the proposed law, he decided this week to share his perspective on the controversy.

“This whole thing is about a need in the Village of Southampton for a grocery alternative and a search by the trustees to resolve that,” the bespectacled 63-year-old real estate agent said.

Mr. Glennon said village trustees, namely Nancy McGann and Mr. Epley, were the ones who initially suggested a grocery store for his Hampton Road property—much to his surprise—in separate, private conversations that took place in the spring of 2009.

Mr. Glennon said he asked them, in light of the then-coming expiration of a lease on his property and the “unappealing” uses allowed on the parcel, “Are there any pressing needs that village residents have been asking for that we might be able to provide?” They both told him that a grocery store would be good fit, Mr. Glennon recalled, adding, “That need was identified by the trustees before we’d ever spoken.”

For years, members of the community had asked Mr. Glennon about putting a grocery store on his land, he said, but he would always point out that it wouldn’t be allowed under village zoning.

Ms. McGann this week said she remembered that conversation. Mr. Glennon had come to her Hampton Road office, said that his family’s future plans for the property were uncertain, and they wanted to do something good on the property, and asked if there was anything people were asking for. She said the call for a grocery store was “really crazy” then, after several grocery stores had left the village, and she suggested he reach out to the mayor and other trustees.

The mayor said in an email this week that he remembers Mr. Glennon coming to see him about that property and its potential uses. “A grocery store was introduced at some point. I don’t remember when or who introduced the idea,” he wrote.

The Village Planning Commission had been discussing grocery stores then because a need had been identified for one and no solid location would work in the village business district, he said. The mayor said the commission—which in December recommended that the village adopt the pending zoning law, which had been introduced in October—considered many areas in the village to add a grocery store as a special exception use, including Hampton Road and the highway business district, which largely fronts County Road 39.

Mr. Glennon said his family had no grocery store contacts prior to those conversations, but afterward started to research which stores could come to the village based on size and reputation. By the summer of 2009, his family had begun a conversation with The Fresh Market, a North Carolina-based chain with a long-range plan of opening more sites in the Northeast, he said. The chain did its homework, he said, and by the end of this summer agreed—subject to all the permits and necessary requirements—to lease the Glennons’ parcel.

The nearly 70,000-square-foot lot on Hampton Road has been in the Glennon family since the 1950s, Mr. Glennon said. His late father, Walter Sr., developed the site in 1955, when he became the first auto dealer to move his business onto the highway. Wally’s brother Peter helped keep the Glennon Buick-Cadillac dealership running over the next few decades.

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Mr. Glennon, there is no need for a grocery store, only want. Spot zoning is a slippery slope.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Feb 9, 12 12:46 PM
YOU may not need it; that does not mean there is no need for it. If mediocrity is all you require, feel free to never shop in the new store - some of us have different tastes and want more healthy competition.

Don't let the "chorus of opposition" keep you from hearing the silent majority. The empty barrels make the most noise.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Feb 9, 12 10:51 PM
There is no end to the amount of talking that guy does on everyone's behalf. Guy needs to create his own utopia out in New Mexico.
By TianarRob (10), Southampton on Feb 10, 12 4:11 PM
According to the Press, Mr Glennon will not release the traffic study. Given that traffic on 39 is usually backed up to the four corners in the summer and that shopping traffic will therefore use Hampton Road, I wouldn't release it either. The Village therefore needs an impartial study of the traffic impact on Hamppton Road before any vote is taken. This should not be an option.
Mr. Glennon states that his property is beginning to deteriorate. So what. Fix it. And that he's losing money. Tough. ...more
By lazymedic (100), southampton on Feb 9, 12 3:50 PM
The only person who stands to gain from this is Mr. Glennon. The market economy dictates that at a fair (market) price his lot would be leased. His private business needs are not at one with the purported "needs" of the village for a supermarket. Mr. Glennon has a contract with a market that does not address the "needs" of the villagers who say they want a new supermarket. It is a gourmet store with high prices and none of the sundry items that most people purchase at a supermarket.
Zoning ...more
By localcitizen (110), Southampton on Feb 10, 12 10:21 AM
1 member liked this comment
Localcitizen, your post is breathtaking in terms of your misunderstanding of the ways of the world. A private citizen, as you are, has no obligation to the needs of the village. On what basis do you think you deserve to gain from someone else's hard work and luck? If you remove the emotion of the vocal minority, the evidence does not support your assertion. The communication to Village Hall is 98% for the market and 2% against. It does those that are in favor no good to express their opinion ...more
By Stankbottomjones (2), Southampton on Feb 10, 12 11:14 AM
No thanks. As a property owner, I have a right to an opinion and I have the right to try to protect my property interests.

By the way, how are you privy to the communication to Village Hall on this matter?
By localcitizen (110), Southampton on Feb 10, 12 5:27 PM