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Oct 18, 2016 10:24 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Officials Fear Tuckahoe Center Will Worsen Traffic

Southampton Village Trustee Nancy McGann is concerned that the new Tuckahoe Shopping Center will create more traffic than what currently exists on County Road 39. GREG WEHNER
Oct 18, 2016 3:13 PM

Southampton Village Board members last week reiterated their opposition to a proposed shopping center in Tuckahoe that is now under review by the Suffolk County Planning Commission, saying the project could create traffic problems for the village.

Some drivers, they said, are already trying to get around traffic backups on County Road 39 by cutting through less-traveled residential neighborhoods in the village, emerging at the intersection of the main artery and Magee Street—and village officials fear that with a supermarket and shopping plaza added at exactly that intersection, the pattern could intensify.

“I think the two strongest issues for me are traffic on that particular road and traffic coming through our village,” said Nancy McGann, the Village Board member who led the discussion at the meeting on Thursday, October 13, as Mayor Mark Epley and Richard Yastrzemski were absent. “We know it’s going to increase.”

Ms. McGann, who has been a vocal opponent of the project, said the developer proposes that westbound drivers make a left onto Magee Street, then turn left again 300 feet down the road to enter the parking lot of the shopping plaza, which would have a 38,000-square-foot supermarket and 14,500 square feet of additional retail space.

“How does a southbound car that has just made a left onto Magee Street cut across a bumper-to-bumper northbound lane?” Ms. McGann asked. “It’s impossible—which means that cars will back up all the way into the turning lane on County Road 39, obstructing traffic heading east.

“There really is not an easy way to get to the supermarket,” she added. “If the town decides to vote in favor of this, we’ll have a bottleneck.”

Ms. McGann was not alone in her concerns. “Without a doubt, you are right on target that the traffic would be absolutely disastrous,” said another board member, Michael Irving. “The village has already turned into a freeway for commuters, which is unfair to the residents.”

The Southampton Town Board will have the ultimate say on the project: It will require a change of zone sought by the developers, Southampton Ventures LLC, led by Robert Morrow. The Town Board is seeking the Planning Commission’s review of the project.

In December 2015, the Planning Commission rejected an earlier version of the proposed project, citing traffic concerns as a main reason. That would have required a supermajority of the Town Board—four members instead of three—to approve the change of zone, though a vote was never taken.

Mr. Morrow’s team submitted a revised version in August, scaling back the building area by 10 percent, eliminating a drive-through lane in one of the retail buildings, increasing the landscaped area by 13,000 square feet, and including 257 parking spaces instead of 249. That plan was again referred to the Planning Commission, which last week ruled it incomplete, saying more information was needed on the traffic impact, among other issues.

Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley has written to the Suffolk County Planning Commission to express the village’s opposition to the plan.

The revised application seeks to rezone three adjoining properties along the southeastern side of County Road 39 from highway business to shopping center business zoning. It also asks for a change of zone for a fourth parcel, at the northeastern side of Magee Street, from residential to shopping center business zoning. The change of zone would clear the way for the development on 7.26 acres off County Road 39.

“To change the zone to shopping center opens up the entire highway to failure,” Ms. McGann said last Thursday. “I just feel that it’s a very dangerous, dangerous thing.”

Ms. McGann attended the Planning Commission meeting last week and argued that the changes in the proposal were not significant enough to warrant a new application, and said the “slight reduction” in its scale “cannot possibly change the traffic burden in our community.”

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Where is the "Traffic" coming from? Hampton Bays? They have 3 grocery stores. Bridghampton? They have a King Kullen. The shoppers will come from Shinnecock Hils-eastern portion, Southampton Village, Tuckahoe and North Sea. These shoppers are already on the road to get groceries.

Maybe if the Village Trustees had made sure that 2 mega drug stores' didn't occupy 2 of the 3 properties zoned for Grocery store we wouldn't be in this predicament of only having one grocery store in Southampton ...more
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Oct 19, 16 7:17 AM
Why isn't Nurel's open in Hampton Bays? It's way easier to get to from Shinecock Hiills. Why keep a fully built store closed and have Suffolk County approving zoning changes for new grocery stores less than 6 miles away? Ask the question: How much does the developer make from this zoning change?
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Oct 19, 16 8:33 AM
What a scam. Since when did traffic EVER dictate what ''village officials'' do? And let's be honest, so called village officials are no more than volunteers with zero education or training in municipal traffic engineering or economics and sociology.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Oct 19, 16 8:58 AM