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257 Comments by Rickenbacker

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Clarity On County Road 39 Traffic Patterns Continue To Frustrate

Please quantify that. Where do all the people who live in Bishop's Pond go to shop for food? Don't they currently use village side streets? We all go to the grocery store. Where are all those additional village side-street-traveling people coming from? They can't be coming from Water Mill, North Sea, Hampton Bays, Tuckahoe. Then, from where? The village? The beach?And why would village residents do that anyway when the village supposedly has such a sufficient set of stores now, according to those people who claim that? And where do you get off again with "mega". Let's reverse your question - have you ever lived anywhere else?" Mar 20, 15 3:50 PM

I was asking about your claim that village side streets and Hill St would have increased traffic, which I don't see. Shoppers coming from the outlying areas I mentioned won't have traveled to the Tuckahoe Center via village streets. So, who comprises the increased traffic over village streets? I think that is just fantasy traffic that will not exist, assuming village shopping options are sufficient for village shoppers, which opponents seem to think is the case." Mar 22, 15 11:12 AM

Alternatives To Tuckahoe King Kullen Proposal Are Debated

I don’t agree at all. The Havemeyer’s and McGann have been at just about every hearing, and each time they get up they assert variations on the same themes. For the Havemeyer’s, it’s an acknowledgement that we need a new supermarket (one of the few opponents who are reasonable enough to actually say this), but do not think that this particular location is the right place (which is the disingenuous part of their argument, since they clearly know - Fred was a Town Trustee - that there are no suitable alternatives, as was confirmed later by Kyle Collins). With McGann, what started out as just raw village protectionism that included a not-so-veiled threat of a village lawsuit has now morphed into focusing on an unfounded perception of loss of property values, and her own, unquantified perception of what traffic impacts will be on village streets (an opinion which was obliterated at the last meeting by the detailed, and well-researched presentation of the traffic engineer).

Even supporters are concerned about the traffic on CR39, but the traffic in the village? Come on….who are those additional shoppers who are not already in the village going to a grocery store now?

I agree with what was said in a previous comment, that the supervisor, having heard this same unsubstantiated information many times over from the same people who should know better, finally probed their assertions. Under scrutiny, their weak positions were shown to be what they are, and then collapsed on the fluff of their own words. That these three didn’t like the hot-seat defending their positions was a breath of fresh air, from my perspective. " Mar 26, 15 4:06 PM

The above comment is an utterly absurd statement. A mall is defined as a shopping complex of greater than 400,000 sq ft and beginning at about 40+ stores (see the International Council of Shopping Centers website). If you’ve even lived anywhere but here it would be very clear to you that a mall is a completely different facility and a “neighborhood center”, something between 30,000 - 125,000 sq ft (Tuckahoe is just 58,500), and typically anchored by a supermarket, is what is being proposed. It will also not expand over time, as there is no room to expand.

The adjacent property owned by the developer is zoned residential R-20, and the developer, several times now, has stated unequivocally that he has no interest in commercially developing that parcel, and would make his approval on this application contingent on keeping it zoned residential.

It is amazing, that after so many public hearings, and so many refutations of these two canards, that someone still tries to claim otherwise. " Mar 27, 15 10:28 PM

Destroyed Mansion Was Gilded Age Beauty

Not sure "Gilded Age" is correct. The Gilded Age was a period of the late 19th century, ending certainly before WWI. This house was built in 1926 according to the article, which would make it more a "Jazz Age" home. Am I wrong about this?" Mar 27, 15 10:34 PM

Alternatives To Tuckahoe King Kullen Proposal Are Debated

You should consult the International Council of Shopping Centers website, which is where Wiki editors sourced the material. Nowhere does the ICSC call neighborhood centers "malls". Dictionary.com delineates between mall and shopping center. Merriam points out that that it is "many" stores, likely in one building. You can parse this all you want, but no sensible person would look at this application as a mall in the way reasonable people understand it. " Mar 28, 15 11:52 AM

With all due respect to the idea of slowing growth on the East End, for the purposes of this supermarket proposal, the horses of slow-growth opportunity left the stable a long time ago. We haven’t just seen “slight" growth in residential buildout since 1970 — we’ve seen significant growth, and rapid buildout, and there are more residential projects approved and coming. The Town and Village could have been discussing how they might work together on dealing with the resulting services demand many years ago, but they didn’t. When a Fresh Market was proposed at the Glennon location just a few years ago, it was voted down by the village board. Citarella only got in because most people didn’t realize the site was the former A&P before A&P moved to the new/old spot where Waldbaum’s is now. Had it not almost been grandfathered in, there would have been a big fight over that too.

The village might also have been more visionary before Rite Aid and CVS were allowed in, but they weren’t. They let it go. Time has passed. And you can’t dig up cemeteries either, so unless there is some rule change on that, I don’t see how the current Waldbaum’s building gets any larger while still having sufficient parking.

At the same time, the outlying areas continue to grow, and even the 1970 Comprehensive Plan was prescient enough to state that as population increases outside of the village, it would be appropriate to look at new non-village areas to better serve the community. That time has surely come.

Delaying the change of zone application while we wait for the Town and Village to dance together is going to go nowhere, and cost everyone a lot of time and money. It is also quite likely, after studying the reports and presentations that have been given so far, that the Village is not ultimately going to see any significant impact, either in loss of business, increased traffic, or prestige.

We also don’t want, as a community, to only address the services demand we have today since any new project of this scope should also be looking into the future. This spot, this use, is totally appropriate for this time, as well as the future. Stop shortchanging us with the view that we have all that we will ever need. That is plainly not the case. " Mar 28, 15 5:12 PM

Well, bigfresh, you are inaccurate on all counts. I have lived in the community for many years, in Shinnecock Hills, the Village, North Sea, and Water Mill, over the past 30+ years, so I think I can speak to some of the issues at play with the experience of having witnessed many of the changes since I arrived here. Why is it that when someone disagrees with you they must be a “shill” for the other side? It is not possible that reasonable people can have a different opinion from yours? I respect YOUR opinion - I simply don’t agree with it.

I made the statement about costing a lot of time and money because if you follow the imaginary possibility that the Town and Village would want to work together to find a more suitable location (which doesn’t exist), it would cost the developer, the Town, the Village, more time and money to draft, study, and implement an alternate plan. Just look at the traffic engineering. On the current plan, both the developer and the Town have hired separate studies, so the taxpayers do pay. In the Town/Village scenario, add yet another traffic study among other planning costs, and that’s only part of the new EIS that would have to completed. We pay the Town employee salaries, so the additional time they would spend on an alternate site is also footed by the taxpayer. They would be diverting attention to yet another study when their time could be better used on other important issues.

Obsservant, in many of her posts, keeps harping on the fact that the developer will “profit" from the center. And I would just like to point out, again, that profit is the very nature of commercial development, which is what the land is currently zoned for. Nobody builds commercial property with the intention of losing money. Name one commercial property along any of CR39 where the owner’s intention is to lose money.

About the field on Tuckahoe Rd - It’s vacant, sure. But it’s already approved for a new housing development, called Fairfield. Yet another group of “residents” that will be served by this new supermarket. " Mar 29, 15 10:53 AM

Nope, you are right it isn't the responsibility of the Town or Village. So the Town only need address the application before them, not the one some may fantasize about that almost certainly doesn't exist, as it would just be a distraction. And here we are.

For what it's worth, as a town resident, I think it's way past time to have something like this built. I'm not paid for my opinion. I believe as strongly as maybe you disbelieve that in order to fully support the community that is already here, with more to come, that we at least need to care for basic needs. A grocery store is a basic need, and as far as I'm concerned, we are incredibly underserved in this regard. The supporters support it, common sense supports it, and now quantifiable data about population growth and traffic patterns support it. It’s a good deal, and we should be encouraging the kind of developer who seeks to make our lives a little better out here. But that’s just my opinion, based on what I’ve seen, read, and heard. You don’t have to agree with me, but if we are going to maintain a diverse and robust community, you need to, at times, meet the needs of that community or it will stagnate, wither, and move on to other places. " Mar 29, 15 1:57 PM

Nature never made that statement defending the specious precedent argument. The approval of this change of zone does not set a precedent for any future development. Any future change of zone request would be based on the merits of that particular application, with all the study and public input that comes along with it, for or against. This isn't spot zoning the way you want to characterize it. This application isn't anti-zoning, either. The 1970 Comprehensive Plan addresses the eventuality of an application for shopping center business coming up as population density grows. This change of zone is not an aberration of current zoning, it is a built-in option established by current zoning." Mar 30, 15 12:11 PM

That may be so with true “highway business”, but this application is about changing the current zone to “shopping center business”. Whether the Plan calls for 15,000 sq ft. per lot is irrelevant, since the four lots that make up this proposal have a total as-of-right development envelope of 60,000 sq ft. The current plan offers to build 58,500 sq ft, so it is below the as-of-right maximum. The numbers, at least, don’t lie. The consolidation of the mass, 100 ft off the roadway, as part of this COZ request, is entirely appropriate.

Then this from the 1970 Plan:

"Convenience business centers will be located in existing hamlet areas and new centers shall be located at reasonable intervals throughout the community as the design of subdivisions evolve the detailed development pattern in local areas."

and this:

“…it is anticipated that, as new residential development occurs, some new neighborhood convenience Shopping Center Business facilities will be appropriate. These should be carefully located with respect to the residential development pattern, at reasonable intervals through the community and on sites not in excess of between five and ten acres."

As I mentioned before the ICSC designation of a shopping center between 30,000-125,000, anchored typically by a supermarket, is considered a neighborhood center. This is not an aberration of the Comprehensive Plan. The plan saw this coming someday, made allowance for it, and that day has clearly arrived. " Mar 30, 15 8:21 PM

New Season Brings Same Old Traffic Delays For Eastbound Commuters

Yes, that's the Fairfield development, approved a number of years ago and comprised of 50+ new condo units. " Apr 28, 15 3:19 PM

Traffic Questions Continue To Confound As Board Closes Tuckahoe Center Hearing

The uncertainty I think stems only from the fact that the project is not yet approved. The grocery store “tenant” has nothing to sign on to since technically, at this point, the center does not exist. It has been bandied about that it would be KK for a long time, so much so, that people are depending on it, however, there have been many who have suggested that a Trader Joe’s, Fairway, or some other store be considered in addition to KK. At one hearing, there was a nod to the developer on a question about that from one of the public speakers, and he didn’t give an unqualified yes or no, mainly because he can’t yet. I don’t think he has ever called it the King Kullen Center, but the Press has many times alluded to it because they themselves never asked the developer that question and have always made the assumption in print that it would be a KK.

At the end of the day, in my opinion, the likelihood of the grocery store actually being a King Kullen is like 90%. The issue of whether it is or isn’t, is, to my mind, not all that relevant to the larger need for a modern grocery store located outside the Village. " Apr 30, 15 11:52 AM

To compare the recently approved PDDs with this change of zone application is to create a false equivalency. Yes, it is unfortunate that the many years those other projects have been in discussion happen to have gotten their approvals at about the same as this one may, but this project is the ONLY one that serves the community in general. The others are PDDs targeted for a very specific demographic, which are a very different animals. The Tuckahoe Center is not trashing the Comprehensive Plan, either, it is actually fulfilling an aspect of it. Don’t believe me? Read it. It clearly states that while traffic is always a concern on CR39, as density grows outside the village, that it would be entirely appropriate to classify certain highway business zones to shopping center business.

The “preservation” reasoning for opposing this project is DOA as well. Let’s review again what is around this location, a long defunct auto museum, two failed restaurants (been closed for more than two decades), a ramshackle collection of auto repair businesses, an outdated motel, and a number of vacant and under-utilized properties that are zoned “commercial”. What about this are you really trying to preserve? Did you move out to the area for this kind of quality?

These properties are not zoned residential, they are not targets for CPF (though the driving range and the Elks property may eventually be, or may have development rights purchased in order to preserve them). They are commercial properties, and if one can say that as-of-right development of the parcels in question could be more auto dealerships, chain restaurants, big box stores, why isn’t a supermarket a better idea? The problem with the opponents is that, to a one, they never offer any reasonable solution to this issue other than to say they don’t want it and to chastise supporters on this unending debate about convenience and need. It’s a silly argument. Anyone who lives out here year round can see that the so-called little trek to HB or BH to shop can very quickly, in one direction likely, be an onerous slog.

Also, Sandy Hollow, Bishop’s Pond, Fairfield, and the last open farm field in Tuckahoe which is now approved for single family homes, all surround this particular project. Any person with access to Google Maps can see that between the canal and Bridgehampton, the most likely and appropriate place to put a modern supermarket is in the area of this application. In fact according to the zoning, with requires a minimum of 5 acres for a shopping center, there are only 2 other options, none of which are suitable. There is need, and it has been established over and over by supporters who have publicly spoken, emailed the trustees, or just “get it” that community infrastructure out here is woefully underserving all the new building that is going on.

Which bring us to another point. Since there are so few likely properties for a development such as this, by opposing this one what are you really saying? That, five, ten years from now, when there could be even more people out here, that NO new supermarket could ever be built EVER outside the village and that some quaint, outmoded idea that everyone needs to squeeze into the small village streets to get to Waldbaum’s is the only solution? That’s not smart planning, that is myopic thinking.

It’s not that the younger generation is playing some “card”. They just see a future differently than maybe you do. They already know we have $1 billion in preservation money to preserve open space and help with historic structures. But this section of road is not in the historic district, will not ever be “preserved” in the way we understand it, so let it go. This project will not only serve the community, it will raise the bar on the quality of other commercial properties along this same stretch should other renovations come to pass. " May 1, 15 12:46 PM

Turkey Bridge, I think you are editorializing pretty wide of what I said. The original PDD included an apartment housing component on the IGHL property, and there was a larger scale to the shopping/office center as originally envisioned (think the King Kullen development in Hampton Bays). Since it was clear early on that strong local opposition, primarily on the housing piece (right out in front, let’s address it, neighbors didn’t want more school children in Tuckahoe School, wonder why?), and the fact that the project had created a sense of establishing a “Tuckahoe Main Street” which frightened some village businesses, the PDD could not move forward.

That was in 2010. This significantly scaled down project, focusing only on the shopping component with a grocery store anchor and a small number of supporting stores and bank (the IGHL property is not part of this application, and as a condition of approval, there will be no zone change request for it in the future), falls within the natural scope of Comprehensive Plan-based zoning, something that town boards have agreed on for many years. The zone change application still had to survive the gauntlet of EIS, public input, traffic studies, etc, etc, but in the end we get a better realized result. That’s how the process is supposed to work.

Your love of the “trashy” part of CR 39 as preservationist is really amusing, as it is the gateway to our Southampton. Doesn’t always work for me, nor most of the other people I know who live here. Who wants to preserve trashy? Better to recycle. My original point scared you, but it shouldn’t. These zombie properties on CR 39 will eventually get renovated, and hopefully the people who do have better business plans than the previous occupants did. With the town zoning and building codes in place now, and with the bar that will be raised in aesthetics, cross-access, green building, we should be thankful that this one large project is setting the stage for more graceful CR 39 upgrades down the line, smaller and in keeping, as they should be.

That said, this is the only shopping center I’d be in favor of on CR 39. After this, it’s done. I’d oppose anything redundant. Somebody else comes in with a good design plan for an as-of-right development on existing highway business property, bring it on, as the area could use some better ideas along this stretch.

The fact is, commercial property is designed to be commercial, not preserved. We have $1 billion of CPF money to do that part now. It’s great we still have the driving range and the Elks property (one or both of which actually might be preserved sometime soon). In Hampton Bays, isn’t Slo’s and the miniature golf area something that harkens back to a bygone era? They still exist, but the rest of CR39 will never be that way again. We no longer have Robert’s Ice Cream, the Bridgehampton Drive-In, the Auto Museum, and countless other small mom-and-pop places that we all used to like. That was then. The cost of property is too high for those things now. It would be nice if some of those things were still with us, but economics and reality have set in. " May 3, 15 2:41 PM

I agree with you certainly that the change in application comes with a difference in what it takes to win approval. I doubt the vote-count was a huge part of the calculation since the two projects are so different from each other, but I’m sure the zoning issue entered into their thinking when trying to figure out how best to make a plan work on the commercial part of the property. The developer didn’t craft the zoning or the comprehensive plans, so why is it a problem if they pitched a project that met not only the spirit of current zoning, but also added newer ideals such as cross-access, green-building, and landscaping setbacks far beyond what is required by code?

You say "plenty of change is available as of right to a property owner” but we’ve discussed this ad nauseum. Are four lots, with 15,000 sq ft of building space each, or 60,000 sq ft total, comprised of (choose your combination), luxury auto dealerships (with front-side parking), out-of-town furniture stores, chain restaurants, motorcycle dealerships (only a special exception, doesn’t require a zone change), up to 4 curb cuts, no cross-access or traffic mitigation - better than a consolidated 58,500 sq ft shopping center, centralized with cross-access, rear parking, buildings 100 ft off the roadway, traffic mitigation and comprised of a 40,000 sq ft supermarket, 3,500 sq ft bank, and 15,000 sq ft of supporting stores (I don’t know what they will be, maybe a liquor store, nail salon, local merchant, maybe)? I’ll take the latter, as it serves the community far better overall and meets a definite need, as stated by many residents in the area at public hearings, even if you can’t see or hear it all the way from Quiogue.

That CR 39 “trash” isn’t treasure, no matter how nostalgic you are feeling. Maybe in some gauzy memory, when some of those places were still in operation, but there are no ghosts lurking within the rusting, leaking, broken down hulks of these late mid-century haunts.

I shouldn’t have to state the obvious, but you've again tried to twist my words. If there is a new supermarket built there, there will be NO reason to have another one built nearby. I would expect the same opponents would be opponents, and many of the supporters, myself included, would become opponents as well if something like that were proposed. Not for limiting competition, but because then there will simply be no need. So, no need, no precedent, either. No Nassau County, no Rt 58. Just give us residents what we need, and we will be happy with that. " May 4, 15 8:57 AM

We’ll have to agree to disagree on the point. I understand your perspective, just don’t think it was a cynical maneuver as you are suggesting. On the point about trash vs. treasure…no… it really is just trash in this case.

I apologize about the Quiogue remark. You are correct, we all have an interest in topics around the town and you have as much right as anyone to weigh in, even if you don’t personally live nearby.

But where you are, to my mind, off the mark, is by your assertion that this development would “break” any zoning rules. A PDD, by its very nature is a zoning rules-breaker, since it proffers to place something not envisioned at all by the existing zoning on a particular site. This application is not a PDD. As a simple zone change application, it is acting on the, if not “as-of-right”, at least the” as-envisioned” zoning rules laid out in the town’s comprehensive plan. So it is part of the zoning rules, not an aberration of it. The Comprehensive Plan explicitly stated that a shopping center business (SCB) zone change in highway business (HB) zones would be appropriate if density in areas increased significantly outside the village, something that town board members understood might happen in the future, from their perspective of 1972. This structure was also re-confirmed in the Corridor study finished just last year (though it didn’t weigh in on it one way or another). You have to agree that the residential density is there today, or you haven’t been really looking at the area. To group this development with a PDD confuses the issue when we are talking about zoning - the two things are very different. One is inserting a need where none was envisioned (PDD), the other is meeting a need based on actual changes on the ground.

And why do you feel the need to question my right to be strongly for this development? I don’t question or suggest your strong opposition is because you are somehow affiliated with a group having an incentive not to see it approved. What motivates me more than anything is the unquantifiable hyperbole and personal attacks hurled by opponents in an attempt to fear monger and claim disasters where nothing of the kind exists. Historically, I’ve seen how that nonsense actually sways people who aren’t really following along, so I’m just trying to look at what’s real and what’s not. For me, this shopping center will be a welcome addition to the people who will use it, and while it may annoy some who never wanted anything there in the first place, it will do a great service for many local people.
" May 4, 15 1:29 PM

I hope anyone else reading this sees that up to now I’ve tried to be reasonable with you in this dialog. But you continue to insinuate that I must have more to gain simply because my opinion differs from yours. Maybe it’s because I won’t back away from confronting your twisted logic. I have nothing more to gain. We need a better grocery store, this location is one of those rare ones left sufficient to be able to mount that better solution, and the fact is that the increasing density not only calls for it, but the comprehensive plan zoning actually saw it coming. The Town established a SCB zone and later a process to allow it to be considered. It’s not a new concept, you just don’t want to comprehend what is already established procedure.

You personally won’t be shopping at this center, for sure, since you apparently live far west of the canal. I, and many others will use it regularly, so while I respect your opinion, and your town-wide worldview, you do not have much standing with regard to what is actually needed in that spot. You have a right to your opinion, as I do mine.

Your census numbers are stupendously myopic, because, what they tell you is that most of the density being built is likely being filled with second homeowners, not year rounders who are finding it increasingly difficult to afford to live or stay here, therefore their census numbers are counted in other areas. As you are well aware, second homeowners do not only use their homes in the summer months, and many use them year-round or on weekends.

That does not change the fact that many, many more people live in, around, and traverse Tuckahoe than in previous decades. To say otherwise is to demonstrate a significant insincerity in your comments. And that, my friend, does motivate me to write in these spaces. " May 5, 15 9:05 AM

I don’t betray a prejudice, I am reacting to one – where someone, whose opinion I do respect, does not respect mine, or attempts to undermine their presumptive respect by always suggesting, hinting, or otherwise implying doubt that my (or any other supporters') opinion is somehow not their own, but comes only because of some sinister relationship with the developer.

You may believe I am near-sighted in terms of the recent spate of PDDs approvals, but they are not the same things as this change of zone request. I empathize with Turkey Bridge on that point, actually, but don’t believe this specific project should be mixed in with them. My opinion is based on the data that we have seen or even experienced by living in the vicinity, and also from the application, DEIS, traffic studies, and a ton of public input, for and against. I think the supporters have so much more concrete data to support their position, that weaker arguments made against it are sometimes motivating opponents to resort to hyperbole and personal attacks to amplify their positions.

It just doesn’t work especially when we call that BS what it is.
" May 5, 15 1:57 PM

Southampton Rotary Club Pitches New Clock At Lake Agawam

No disrespect to Rotary, but why a clock? Don't we all use our cellphones now as clocks, our watches as clocks, etc? It's not 1843 anymore. Don't all of our cards have clocks? Why on earth would we need a faux historic clock/marketing piece in the park? How did this idea get out of a rotarian committee?" Jun 10, 15 8:48 PM

Stop And Shop To Take Over Southampton And East Hampton Waldbaum's

No, because the demonstrated merits of the new one doesn't go away. Maybe the condition of the current store inside the village will get better, but it does nothing for addressing the needs of residents outside of the village. " Jul 20, 15 4:24 PM

Except that correcting the condition of Waldbaum's in the village is not and never has been one of the goals of the Tuckahoe Center. The basis for the new shopping center still exists for all the reasons previously expressd and is not affected by a condition change in the village. Unlike maybe some people who feel like you, I know there are many families that are hoping the zone change is approved, that the reality of supporting the needs of an increasing residential density in the area is actually realized. " Jul 25, 15 10:32 AM

Southampton Town Board Still Awaiting Traffic Study For Tuckahoe Supermarket Plan

Why are you pulling out that tired phrasing about a "mega" anything? Do you not live in the real world? There is nothing "mega" about this development. It is significantly smaller than Bridgehampton Commons, all of the major Hampton Bays shopping centers, and is tiny compared to something that a reasonable person who has experienced life anywhere on the planet west of the canal would describe as "mega". Do you really believe that if you simply repeat that mantra that somehow it will become true? It won't.

This is a modestly-sized proposal, heavily vetted by professionals and supported by many in the community, and while I respect that there are many detractors, the fact remains that there is a demonstrated infrastructure need for this. The beneficiaries of this new center will be us, frankly, especially those of us in the year round local community. That's the bottom line. And hopefully, yes, the developer and every store that sets up shop there should derive some profit, as it will prove further that the location, well-sited, was worth the effort. This is commercial land, for pete's sake, so anything built there, by definition, must be viable for business. " Oct 13, 15 1:08 PM

That's just wrong information. The development encompasses 4 lots, each of which as of right can handle 15,000 sq ft of buildings. Together, that makes 60,000 sq ft. The proposal is for 58,000 with substantially larger setbacks than the individual lots would yield. . So to say it is "mega" is not only inappropriate, it is just bad math. If you note I also compared it to two existing developments in the Hamptons, not up island. I understand that from your worldview, the rest of the planet is up island, but I don't think most people see the world in that coke-bottle sort of way. " Oct 18, 15 2:04 PM

"Please show the zoning variance justification based on legal "assemblage" of 4 15,000 sq ft allowable for highway business there that you are citing. Hint: There's none."

Actually, there is...in the Town's own Comprehensive Plan, which stated unequivocally that a variance for a shopping center zone in that area would be appropriate as density increased. That is one of the main points of justification of this development. " Oct 20, 15 11:57 AM

So, what you are saying, is because you don't like the situation, if it doesn't go your way, you would use a form of extortion to throw votes the other way. I didn't know you represented "the people". Who is really corrupt?

A reading of the Comprehensive Plan is pretty clear and it is black and white that even in 1972 the town planners anticipated the possibility that density would likely increase outside the village, expecially in the Tuckahoe area, where the development is proposed.

You cannot say that density in that area has not increased with regard to residential capacity. Yes, there is traffic, and there will always be traffic, but that doesn't mean that infrastructure, when needed, shouldn't be put in place to support the increasing populace.

It is not against the law, there is a legal procedure for a zone change request, and the developers are following that legal procedure.

" Oct 21, 15 2:36 PM

The point is, whether you agree with the specific application or not, there is a legal procedure to ask for a change to a given law, whether that is a zoning change or a variance, or even in the extreme, a PDD. The request itself is not illegal, nor is it "illogical", as clearly while there are opponents there are also many supporters. The application for a zone change request for this particular development is a legal one, and the process by which approval or disapproval is made is also a legal one. Let the process take its course. " Oct 23, 15 2:27 PM

Sag Harbor School District Continues To Weigh Stella Maris Purchase

Sag Harbor SD should focus on the merits of merging with the Bridgehampton School District if they need space for buildings, rather than go on a fishing expedition about purchasing the Stella Maris property. I know this is not a popular statement, but from a long term perspective it makes the most sense. " Nov 10, 15 2:08 PM

Southampton Town Board Split On Future Of Planned Development Districts

I have to agree with Scalera on this one. From what I understand, you can't just apply for a PDD and force the board consider it. Essentially, you have to be invited to submit it after preliminaries with the board, planners, etc. So, in that case, if the board didn't want to consider a particular PDD application, they already have the power, on a case-by-case basis, to reject them. A moratorium sounds good, but it doesn't accomplish anything in this particular case. In fact, it would likely create more problems. Just ask Sag Harbor, which is in the midst of a moratorium misadventure right now. " Nov 18, 15 3:26 PM

UPDATE: Southampton Town Councilman Brad Bender Pleaded Guilty On Drug Charges And Resigns, Facing Up To 20 Years In Prison

Technically, there is currently only a need for 3 votes to pass. This is not a PDD. " Nov 25, 15 10:54 AM

Suffolk County Planning Commission Votes Against Tuckahoe Shopping Center Zone Change

The traffic drivel is and has always been a canard, and those who espouse the "traffic" as being the reason why this development should not move forward seem to be unaware of the impact of what is being said. What you are saying is that while new construction continues unabated for single family homes, whether affordable or not, and denser condo/townhouse projects, affordable or not, year after year, that no service option for supporting that rapidly expanding community can ever exist other than trying to stuff those service needs down into the village center. That's nonsense! the village has it's own parking problems right now, and it's own traffic issues. Working families can pretty much no longer to afford to buy, let alone rent anything within the village, so expect the population, both year round and summer to continue to grow north and west.

The recent Stop & Shop renovation did not change any of the dynamics of this point - it only partially cleaned up that single undersized location's act. The need for these services still exists, and will continue to demand a solution for many years to come. Remember, in order to have a shopping area like this, you need a minimum of 5 acres. It has been stated many times that other than this particular site, there are no other commercial parcels like this one (save the Elks property nearly across the street and the PSEG property on David White's Ln).

The traffic studies all pointed to a nearly net zero impact on overall existing traffic, and many thousands of miles would be less traveled by many local shoppers because of the development. The county's own planners agreed that they could even mitigate issues in the immediate area around Magee and CR39 so that there would not be any adverse impact.

Yes, Barbara Roberts should be ashamed, as she spent a good deal of time letting the commission and attendees know how smart she was as an East End representative, and then proceeded to cherry-pick her facts, agreeing with traffic study elements when it suited her narrative, and dismissing those same traffic studies when it didn't. She came with an agenda, one most closely resembling the hysterics espoused by Havemeyer and McGann. Most ridiculous was her claim, ala McGann, that a substantial amount of people in the trade area for this development are already buying their groceries online! I'm a big user of the internet, and even I don't buy that crapola.

Roberts' opinion also went against both the Suffolk County Commissioner of Public Works' positive recommendation AND the county planning commission's own professional staff's positive recommendation for approval. Hey, that's what they do for a living, but ok, just dismiss them out of hand because you must be so much smarter. It was such a clear political calculation rather than a substantive debate on the actual finalized plan and data, that it left many gobsmacked in disbelief.

But a vote is a vote, 8-5 for disapproval, and that's just the way it is. We have to make sure we elect representatives who will be better informed on issues. This was not the case on this particular issue, in my opinion. " Dec 4, 15 2:12 PM

SVO, you must live in a parallel universe. First, while it is a 15-member panel, only 13 were present, the vote was 8-5, not 13-0. Second, there were no "hard facts" discussed by Roberts, as those facts, ie, that the overall effect on traffic effect would be minimal, were summarily dismissed by our local representative on the commission in her self-proclaimed "genius" analysis. Many people have also read that same information and come to a completely different conclusion, including the county commission's own staff - the very people charged with digging into the details.

In your universe, a "mega" mall is a little grocery-anchored shopping center. I can only think you must be wide-mouth dumbfounded then when you come across entities like the Smithtown Mall, the Roosevelt Field Mall, or the Walt Whitman Mall, which, by the way, only one of them is truly "mega", but are all more than 20x the size of this project. I shudder to think how you survive the shock and awe of retail commerce if this one modest project was so over the top for you. It must positively give you the vapors! There is nothing "mega" or "mall"-like about it.

All you are saying is that regardless of the intensity of growth in the Tuckahoe area, there should be absolutely no support for it regarding basic shopping needs.

As an alternative, you probably think the village center is the only right place to service the increasing needs of outer village residents. Are you nodding yes? Then how do you explain statements made in this week's paper by village residents now complaining that the proposed business-district sewer project, which is designed specifically to enable village business to handle the increased traffic and commerce, is going to, dare we mention it, bring more development and business?! You can't have it both ways.

The fact is, cries of mega-malls and traffic armageddon are soley designed to divert attention away from what the "mall"-calling class of whiners is really all about - No more development, now, or in the future, no matter what. It's the modus operandi of the Group for the East End, the aberration of tone in some of the local CACs, and people who, no matter what "fact" is presented, want to bury their heads in the sand and just say "No". What kind of universe...excuse me...what sort of community, do you believe you still live in?

Your accident comment is also incorrect. The hottest spot for deadly accidents on CR 39 is west of the college, not east or even at the CR39/Magee St intersection. That was just thrown in there by you to see if it stuck. It didn't. But maybe, in your universe, gravity is just different.
" Dec 5, 15 3:40 PM

1 - Actually, the only thing true in your statement is that the King of Prussia mall IS truly a mega mall. I agree with you on that. Now, however, since we are talking scale and we agree on what a mega mall is (finally), we also know the proposed Tuckahoe Center is substantially SMALLER than the existing "neighborhood shopping centers" in Hampton Bays, and Bridgehampton, none of which any sensible person would affix the label "mega" or "mall". The Tuckahoe center is classified as a "neighborhood shopping center", as it should be. Conflating it with something like the KoP mall, even if you want to qualify the definition by dumbing it down to a local scale, is insincere at best.

2- I do not and never have had a stake in this or any other development. I have just lived here locally for many years and understand that things do need to change, not because I want any more "surburbanization" (I don't) or a desire for UTI-type density (don't want that either), but for the REALITY of the fact that there are hundreds more families that live outside the village who would be better served having a new grocery store closer to their homes. The traffic-nazi's complain about the "devastating" traffic "destroying" their way of life, but ignore the fact that the very same traffic inhibits and slows down life for regular working people trying to get basic needs. The village option is not suitable long term, as the facility was built in the 1970's, well before the population growth exploded out east. And that grocery store was built when there were already 4 other competitors within walking distance of it (IGA(Bohacks)/Gristede's/Herbert's/McClaren's Market). It also cannot reasonably expand. On top of that, the village already has parking issues, and traffic gridlock of its own at times.

3- Concerning accidents, your scale is off. It's 1.5 miles to Stony Brook U and 3 miles to Lobster Inn, quite a distance and different type of road there as opposed to where this project is sited. Yes, there was 1 horrible fatal accident near PC Richard and this is close by, but unfortunately there are fatal accidents all over the South Fork, none of which should have happened, but those conditions are not going to be worsened by this development. In fact, since the county is getting a 75-ft easement on the Tuckahoe Center property, specifically for road improvements, I'll make you a bet that it will end up being one of the safest parts of CR39.

4 - I am not pro-density. I am however cognizant of the incredibly robust new construction going on in and around the local area. It's not just condos. Take a drive on the back roads, and you will easily count hundreds of new homes built or under construction, all outside of the village. That's just our whole community's present reality. And that has created a situation where more services, like a basic grocery-anchored shopping center are entirely appropriate. " Dec 6, 15 12:17 PM

Democratic Party Nominates Julie Lofstad To Run For Town Board

Good question. I'd like to know that too. " Dec 7, 15 9:39 AM

Suffolk County Planning Commission Votes Against Tuckahoe Shopping Center Zone Change

Except when it isn't appropriate, as in how you apply the term. If you're going to use a dictionary, why not use the actual national definitions of shopping centers, which describe a mega mall of something over 1 million sq ft, when this "neighborhood shopping center" is only 58,000 sq ft. The pumpkintown field in Water Mill is "very large" too, but I don't hear anyone calling that "mega". The Mercedes dealership, to my eye, seems "very large", but I don't call that mega. The new covered ice skating rink at the driving range is nearly twice the size of last year's open air rink, it too is "very large", but I don't think anyone would call it "mega". Just because you paid for some silly T-Shirts that say "no Tuckahoe Mall" doesn't make it one. Of course if you told Robert Gibbs it was a mega-mall, and he, being a qualified consultant who understands the definition of one, I can understand how he might feel. But the Tuckahoe Center "ain't no" mega mall.

But help me understand what you are saying - You are contending that the heart of a village center is its supermarket, even though the dynamics in this particular case would show that more people live outside of that village than within it, that there are now fewer basic supermarkets in the village than there were just 15 years ago, that somehow, in your vision for the future, with all that outer growth, with more to come, there is absolutely no possibility of an additional new grocery store being built outside the village, ever, to handle the increased flow.

I can only respond that what you are saying is just not reality-based. The commissioner of DPW, part of whose job is planning, ie, long term vision, stated categorically that traffic mitigation on Magee St COULD be done, based on discussions with his staff. Who are you to simply dismiss it out of hand as if he didn't know what he was talking about? He wasn't asked to come in to testify on his mitigation plan, he came to the meeting on his own to make comments of support of the overall project and stated he was comfortable with what the county could do. Planners plan, and looking into the future with the data in hand, the conclusion for another supermarket, in his mind, the county planning staff's mind, and lots of other people's minds, is justifiable.

I'm not saying you are wrong to feel the way you do, I understand where you are coming from, but the time has come for better solutions than just "no development, no way, no how."

The traffic issue as I've said, is a canard that attempts to obscure that real agenda.

With regard to accidents, the data you quote from the DEIS only compared the roads immediately bordering the proposed development (see also the FEIS, Table 3, page 16). It did not report accident data from west of Magee St or east of PC Richards, which, if included, would dwarf the data in the EIS as it relates to both the amount and severity of accidents along the whole of CR39, which was my point in my earlier comment. " Dec 8, 15 4:03 PM

I'm not comfortable with surburban sprawl either, but the facts of rampant residential building out here are the facts. You can't continually bury your head in the sand and claim you want it the way it was when you first moved here. That's clearly not happening. But you could help the situation by putting services closer to those who use those same arteries to get to shopping places further east and west, which will reduce that aspect of the flow. You can say mall, mall, mall all day, it doesn't make it true. " Dec 9, 15 12:55 PM

Southampton Village Voters Might Have A Say In Fate Of Proposed Sewer District

I'm sort of amused by the opponents of the sewer-district proposal. First, we have village officials and the core of the lunatic fringe constantly bemoaning the "devastating" traffic on CR 39 and that we can't have another grocery store, regardless that the existing density supports it and that future density, which is obvious, demands it. Those same people have always claimed that the village “center," as part of their sanctimonious defense of “rural character,” is the only suitable place for shopping even as density continues to grow.

So, as the village actually tries to resolve a well-known and long-standing issue with run-off and outdated cesspools in order to manage the expected growth in the village, whether that is just to relieve the limits of wet use, allow for improved living and commercial uses, or to keep the environment cleaner, all things that a sewer system may ameliorate, some of these same people are now bemoaning this common-sense upgrade.

In what seems to be a constant, the detractors of these things are not just about the issue at hand - they just don’t want any change - no way, no how. Just bury your head in the sand and say “no” and hope your anger and whining will make it all go away. Sometimes, I hate to admit, that even works.

But that is no way to support a community. It is myopic." Dec 18, 15 10:31 AM

Suffolk County Planning Commission Votes Against Tuckahoe Shopping Center Zone Change

What utter nonsense. Babara Roberts gave a hack job of a review at that meeting. She cherry-picked her "facts" and gave a long rambling estimate from her personal opinion, without even considering her own professional staff's recommendations. In fact, she simply dismissed them.

Oh, she only had a “moment" to you because she is in the same angry, leaky, boat of “No" as you. No development ever, that is. Oh, unless maybe a developer who happens to have gotten his project by you happens to agree to give you an addition on your house. But that never happened, did it?

To many others, Roberts is just another example of the "just say no" crowd, even when facts are presented in front of them and experts on a particular issue come up with recommendations that are opposite from your world view. It’s not saving the community, it is just just making life more difficult for many others." Dec 18, 15 10:52 AM

Read any of my comments above. I am not paid or part of any developer or any development. I have an opinion on where the future of the community needs to go, based on facts, not on a fantasy of days gone by. Whenever someone disagrees with you, you always they must be "on the take". Guess what? Not me. I think your viewpoints on traffic are a concern, but not an insurmountable one. I've lived here for over 30 years, most of it in Southampton, and have traveled to other parts of the world west of the canal. Don't think your attacking my right to an opinion changes the facts, they don't. Your angry leaky boat may have won a battle here, but inevitably, change is coming, and while I am totally on board with environmental conservation, historic preservation, and the maintaining and supporting of a good community fabric, for old and young alike, I at least have the wherewithal to see that we need to support our growing community in ways that make life better, not more difficult. I don’t see any of that in your comments. All I see is “no, No, NO!!"" Dec 21, 15 10:13 AM

I don't think I've much posted on other projects, but I'll help you here. Don't think the Hills project is a good idea, was on the fence about the Rechler project, not so sure about the Gateway PDD. However, I am for the Tuckahoe project as I see a clear community benefit, and I am also for the sewer project to some extent, because it's long past time. I call Bravo Sierra on your contention. Roberts' speech at the commission was a sham, as it was simply a regurgitation of many of the discredited (by facts) things said by Havemeyer and McGann. It's too bad the vote went the way it did, but that's just the way it is. I still believe an alternative outside of the village for grocery shopping is an excellent idea and the scale of the project was appropriate and significantly smaller than the ones in BH or HB, which no one is calling mega malls. " Dec 22, 15 1:42 PM

Proposed Sewer District Would Impact Southampton Inn Owner In Many Ways

I'm starting to agree with you. First, the Latch is not included in the boundary, knowing full well density will increase on that spot, and now the Inn, which of course, has its own grand redevelopment plans including more residential, for the building that now houses Plaza restaurant and radio station. Doesn't sound right to me if some of the largest facilities can just opt out of a massive civic project. " Dec 23, 15 11:26 AM

Calone Clarifies County Position On Tuckahoe Center

Calone, the recently resigned member of the planning commission, now doing a 20/20 hindsight review while he tees up his profile for a congress run against ATH. The article is mistaken, he knew precisely what Roberts, from North Haven, would say. East Hampton chimed in as well. There may have been a member from Riverhead there, but there was no great commentary at that meeting. Calone had Roberts speak first of all the commissioners. Using traffic as the primary excuse, they voted against it. I think it's a wrongheaded decision, but the vote is the vote.

Why is the Press not highlighting any of the other commissioners on the reasons why they voted against this motion of disapproval, which some were not happy about? Funny, a few weeks ago, the Press highlighted Bridget Fleming in a front page article after she was outvoted 4-1 by the town board on a PDD issue. The Press has such a bias on these issues, it's a wonder no one else calls them out on the way they craft who and how they cover these important issues. " Dec 23, 15 11:39 AM

Happy to oblige:

1. Roberts claims this project is opposed by nearly every CAC. That is true, except CACs are not charged with commenting on issues outside of their jurisdictions, in fact, they have no influence at all outside of their areas of concern. This is a major issue with the current makeup of CACs, who believe they have more power than they actually do. They are only supposed to be advising the town board on issues concerning their particular region, not acting as ad hoc advocacy groups for the whole town. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

2. Roberts' letter claims she wrote it BEFORE the meeting, yet she states in the 2nd paragraph that “as you saw today, there is opposition from some elected local officials and local environmental and planning experts.” There were no planning experts speaking against the project, and clearly Roberts knew who was coming to the meeting to speak beforehand. This is a FALSEHOOD by Roberts.

3. Roberts claims infers that the data in the various reports by the developer, their consultants, and the Town’s hired independent consultants are “confusing” and give “conflicting” information. Actually, that’s not really the case, as when where there were initial differences, the two sides then got together and worked out all issues to their mutual satisfaction and whose collaboration resulted in the FEIS. Also, the Cashin report, which came out much later, recommended approval of the project. This is a FALSEHOOD by Roberts.

4. Roberts claims there is no proven community benefit, but uses only her “opinion” that the scale (40,000 sq ft) is out of line and that traffic will be majorly impacted, especially on a property zoned for only a 15,000 sq ft building. However, she ignored the many community benefits expressed by the developer, the various market and traffic studies, and the hundreds of residents who contributed public input in support. Emphasis on her “opinion", as the facts from the studies, and the solid recommendation of the county planning board staff, as well as the county commissioner of Public Works, contradict her opinion and rationale. On top of that, Roberts apparently missed the fact that the development spans 4 separate properties, all having as-of-right development of 15,000 sq ft each, giving an as-of-right building max of 60,000 sq ft. The development proposed is 58,500 sq ft. It’s also significantly smaller than shopping centers in Bridgehampton and Hampton Bays. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

5. Roberts praises the town zoning work that was done 40 years ago that created the Highway Business zone, but neglects to mention that the very same code from 40 years ago also established a Shopping Center Business zone and anticipated increased residential density in the Tuckahoe area specifically, finding it wholly appropriate to consider a change of zone for a Shopping Center Business somewhere down the line when conditions would merit that change of zone. It is clear that the density all around Tuckahoe has increased along the lines the planners of that time envisioned, so there is nothing “against” those 40 years of zoning that would prohibit this change. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

6. Roberts is from North Haven, yet she states that “this development is clearly not in keeping with the character of our community.” Sorry, that doesn’t fly, and I’m not sure she could express an intelligent definition about Tuckahoe’s character without taking into consideration the reality of increased density, which she does not. In the same paragraph she claims the Bridgehampton KK is 42,000 sq ft, which is just wrong, as it is 60,000 plus sq ft, significantly larger than this proposed development. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

7. Roberts claims that the market study which defends the need for an additional grocery store is flawed and includes all people from the South Fork. I thought she said she read this closely. Yes, as a generality, the study looked at the overall picture, but also focused in on the needs of the Tuckahoe and surrounding area specifically. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

8. Roberts makes the claim that the people who did the studies do not understand our community. She says that this grocery store, which includes shopping for basic needs like diapers, toilet paper, pet food, cleaning supplies, etc, is not needed because we should be shopping at local farm stands and/or buy our groceries online. Really? I happen to do some shopping at local farm stands, but not for all my basic needs. And the online claim is so specious as to make me ill. How many of you reading this actually buy your groceries online? Probably not a one of you. This is a FALSEHOOD by Roberts.

9. Roberts asks rhetorical questions as to the viability of a new grocery store. Though this robust need has been demonstrated in a number of studies, through strong public input, and the gauntlet of the entire multi-year zone change process, Roberts simply dismisses these and in a superior way asks all the same questions all over again as if they had not been intelligently considered during that process. If she was truly following along, as she claims, she would know these items had been addressed and that a number of opposing forces, specifically VHB and Dunn, have agreed on most if not all of the major points.There is no “confusion” here. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

10. There is no question that traffic is an issue, but the Tuckahoe Center will neither aggravate nor ameliorate all of the issues. Yes, there will be substantially less miles driven back and forth from HB and BH grocery stores and some of those saved miles will still increase the trip counter to the Tuckahoe Center. But the road at that spot will be widened with another lane to peel off any increased traffic, as the developers are giving a 75-foot easement along the front of the property for that purpose. Roberts seems to claim, like many of the opposition, that nothing can be done, ever. Well, that isn’t factually true, as both engineering firms, the Cashin report, the town planning staff, the county planning staff and the head of the county’s public works have all attested that it can. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

11. The Sandy Hollow intersection has been an issue for many, many years. It was made slightly better when the road expanded, but it could be improved further. It’s probably out of the scope of the Tuckahoe developer, but it was certainly a concern of the various municipal planners, and they have come out in favor of the development. Ok, I get that Roberts may have some trepidation today of making that left turn onto Sandy Holloe, but the Tuckahoe Center doesn’t make that one worse and she provides no details as to why that would be the case. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

12. This one point tells the whole tale of Roberts' insincerity towards the reality of what is happening in Tuckahoe: “Our villages are our shopping centers.” Yes, for many years, before the density hit a tipping point, that was true. You could also drive reasonably comfortably when CR 39 was a two lane “highway”. But those days are gone, and many, many more elements of development have changed the dynamic in this area, in the village, and further east.

The village is also now getting flack for suggesting a sewer system to help with this growth, and village residents are already coming out against it, because the naysayers don’t want to face reality there either. This Roberts document sums up the typical myopic vision of a small group of angry, NIMBY naysayers, and she played right into their playbook, trying to foment fear of a traffic armageddon and other nonsense like loss of "community character", while at the same time trying to obscure hers, and her compatriots' real agenda, which is to deny anyone’s attempt to bring sensible development to an area that sorely needs it, for any reason whatsoever. She has become a poster child for a do-nothing, elitist mentality that has only hurt our community, not supported and nurtured it. This is both a FALSEHOOD and a DECEPTION by Roberts." Dec 26, 15 1:32 PM

Not true. I am openly in favor of the Tuckahoe Center as its chief benefit is that will serve many in the local community, especially the year round resident. I look at these big projects on a case-by-case basis. In my opinion, the Hills does not demonstrate a community benefit, and the Rechler project, while it could be argued there is one, just to clean the mess up there, I can see the other point of view as well. Don't paint me with a pro-development brush, but if you want to do it with an intelligent progress brush, that's ok with me. " Dec 26, 15 2:13 PM

Oh, I get it. Time does not stand still. A decade from now there will be more people, and inevitably, even more traffic. CR39 is going to have to be re-improved again at some point in the future - that's just a fact. It will never get to RT 58 status, as the both the zoning and physical layout of the lots along the roadway can never physically allow it. But this isn't about the needs of a decade from now, it's about the practical needs of today and tomorrow. b

If you think we are already at max now, I feel sorry for you, because your head will probably explode in the coming years as the reality of increased density keeps moving in. If you cannot admit the incredibly rapid growth of new residential homes just outside the village, whether that's single family homes or multi-family condos, you are just going to find yourself getting angrier and angrier over time. Just breathe, it will be ok, if a little good planning is put in place now, you might actually find this is better for the community than just saying no all the time and hoping against hope that a tsumani will come through and bring the Hamptons back to 1962. It's not likely to happen. " Dec 28, 15 1:10 AM

Where is the stretching? Please explain. " Dec 28, 15 10:29 AM

Turkey dude, simmer down now. Someone above asked for examples of what they considered Roberts’ "lies and deceptions" and I took a little time to detail them, as objectively as possible. Roberts really had no more “expert” information than any of the public input supplied by both supporters or opponents. In fact her comments were riddled with weak logic that had been debunked over many hearings and studies by actual experts. I would have expected more enlightened comments from an official representative. If she was considering facts rather than dismissing experts and ignoring her own staff, maybe I could understand, but that’s not what she did.

Again, I am entitled to my opinion, as are you, and I don't ascribe political or financial motivations to you, so why do you to me? I might consider someone who has made over 1,300 comments on a little newspaper website pathological as well, but I seem to understand you have a strong need to express yourself. To each his own.

Regarding CACs - they are not “advocacy" groups, they are local committees charged by the town to keep board members informed on issues relating to the part of town in which each member lives, so town board members, who may be less aware of issues in parts of the town where they don’t live can be better informed. That is the proper use of the CAC construct. This is why there are multiple CACs.

However, talk to any town board member now or in the past and they will likely agree that the CACs are not charged with linking arms with each other and have zero jurisdiction to speak officially on issues outside of their own neighborhoods. They are “advisory", not advocacy committees, and for good reason.

For example, when members of CACs speak out on issues not in their jurisdiction, which is happening with increasing frequency, they are inappropriately self-elevating their position, or voice, over mine or yours, and that should not be allowed. If town resident X who might also happen to be on the Quogue CAC speaks out on an issue like the shopping center in Tuckahoe at a public hearing, they really come representing themselves only as a single town resident, and their voice is equal to mine or yours as a citizen of the town, wouldn’t you agree? But some recent CAC members believe they speak for more than just themselves when commenting on outer-area issues. They come to public hearings on issues outside of their jurisdictions announcing their representation of so-and-so CAC, as if that conferred some elevated, more important voice. It doesn’t. And the public and this newspaper shouldn’t believe it does.

Don’t think this is true and is rife with problems? Ask the East Hampton town board, which came very close to abolishing the CACs over this very issue and had to resort to warning letters to each CAC member to get them to cease and desist. Check the EH Star archives.

The CACs of Southampton town have even recently resorted to holding group meetings so they can share information and link arms on issues to help bolster CACs influence on town issues. This is not even a function of a CAC, they are not a network, but it is beginning to happen behind the scenes. Add to that back room politicking Ms. Spilka, who represents a number of other civic groups in town and is in constant communication with the CACs, and now you’ve got a loosely organized bloc of people wielding attempting to wield influence on town board members. Sorry, can’t use a town CAC that way, they are not there for that purpose.

As far as Roberts comments, she should know that technically, only one CAC, the Tuckahoe CAC, is totally justified having a say in this matter. If we want to be generous, though not technically correct, we could include any CAC within the trade area, but it is totally irrelevant to the discussion what other CACs outside of the trade area have to say. Roberts comment was indeed deceptive, that or she just didn’t know what she was talking about with regard to the structure and responsibilities of a town-appointed (not elected) CAC.

I am also not defeatist. I think the town has a bright future and can balance development with preservation. If you've read some of my comments, I have been clear that I support intelligent preservation, conservation, and other things that keep the character in our community. But you also need to have a living community, one that adjusts and evolves to help maintain the overall good of the community. The Tuckahoe Center would actually be a good thing, albeit that is my own, personal, opinion (not paid for)." Dec 29, 15 7:46 AM

Ask one of the CAC members about the quietly organized meeting at the HB Senior Center a few months ago where they batted about the various issues they were fighting, overtly trying to organize to help each other organize and go out and speak on each other's issues. I'm not talking about a Supervisor meeting, that's fine, I'm talking about the advocacy efforts going on behind the scenes, which are unauthorized extensions to the function of a CAC. Also in attendance at that same meeting was Kevin McAllister and Andrea Spilka, neither of whom are on a CAC but who were advocating for their issues for their particular groups.

It isn’t nonsense. You damage your own credibility for dismissing it out of hand. Find out for yourself. " Dec 29, 15 12:25 PM

That concept of retarding basic infrastructure growth to keep the area “recognizable as the place we knew thirty years ago” is just my point. For you, it’s no development, no way, no how. That is myopic, and it cannot stand if at the same time the same community allows for the rampant residential development. I don’t see you calling for a halt to new house construction. How do you balance stuffing more people in homes out here, whether they are year-round, second home, tourist, etc, and not continue to look at ways to support those people? Is it that only more luxury car dealerships are ok with you? How about an Applebee’s, or a Hooters? These things are allowable as of right on that same spot. But would that help the community that lives here? No. These are commercial properties, they are going to get developed anyway, so why not something viable that would service the most people instead of just a tiny fraction?

The Tuckahoe development isn’t about that, it is about providing a basic needs upgrade to an area that has seen rapid growth, and to provide an alternative to the various limitations of the current village options. The Tuckahoe application was submitted along the lines of what town planners anticipated over 40 years ago, which was that a shopping center business zone change there would be appropriate as density increased. But you dismiss that entirely.

You want to go back 30 years? OK, let’s look at that. In the grocery stores you could only buy only one type of laundry detergent, called Suffolk. It was like a Soviet state out here then. Village commerce was just about nil after Labor Day and as dead as a doornail after Thanksgiving. You want to go back to that? Sure, it would be quieter, more rural, if you like, but many of your neighbors and friends would no longer be able to live here. It’s a ridiculous sentiment.

I’m not being paranoid about CACs. People can organize and meet however they want under laws of free assembly. However, the CACs are town-appointed groups, not free standing committees, and have their own rules. They are charged with informing town board members on issues in their own jurisdictions. That’s it. They are not charged with grouping together and acting like lobbying groups on pet issues that members want to see advocated for all over town. Not all CAC members feel the same as their majorities within their groups, and if you look at who is actually in the groups, you do not see a diverse cross-section of the community. What you do see are concerned residents, but who are increasingly delusional about what their CACs can and cannot do and there has been a drift towards advocacy. Again, ask a town board member, heck, ask Fred Thiele, I think he was there when the CACs were created.

And you are entirely incorrect about my position on development. I am not in favor of “paving over paradise to put in a parking lot”. However, you cannot keep creating residential units without a concomitant upgrade in infrastructure. And that infrastructure cannot all be jammed into the village. That is my position." Dec 30, 15 9:41 AM

I don’t think we are so different in our personal views, but we are in the matter of degree. I agree with you regarding The Hills. The views there are worth more to our communities and character than the small enclave of wealthy users who would use it in their own, private, exclusive way. I am sympathetic to the people who don’t want Matt Lauer to put up screening to block neighbor’s vistas of his horse farm in Water Mill because preservation of our open views was one of the major points of creating agricultural reserves.

I have never looked at the Tuckahoe Center as leading a development boom. I do see it as addressing, or catching up to, a residential boom that has already occurred and is well-established. I’m not for overdevelopment of CR39, but I am for utilizing the commercial spaces there as efficiently as possible with viable businesses. This project was smart and sensitive in its design, providing 100 ft setbacks, green in its building, and had the community in its spirit, as it was designed to serve everyone. It would certainly set a new bar for any future re-development of dilapidated spaces or no-longer viable commercial spaces, of which there are plenty along that roadway.

I wasn’t making a threat that chain restaurants would come into Tuckahoe, I’m just saying, as-of-right, a developer would have the ability to put those types of businesses there, regardless of a CACs potential outcry. You can’t stop something that is already acceptable zoning-wise, right? I don’t want those things either, but to think in the extreme that that commercial property would one day be cleared for a park is also a fantasy.

This concept that we are “full” is interesting. Is there anywhere in the country, save for an island like Nantucket, where a community can legally say “no more”? Why then, do we have an empire zone in Flanders, a new business park in Westhampton, and other efforts that seek to attract more business here, which, in turn will bring more residents? It would be nice, I’ll agree, to believe that if we like the place as it is, we can shut the gates, but our legal, ethical, and democratic reality is that type of exclusivity isn’t likely to happen. The best you can do is slow it down, but by doing that you also reject things that go contrary to the community’s best interests. Maybe that’s what you mean by paying the price, but I don’t see that as a long-term or viable strategy. We should allow the smart things to develop, and try to keep out the stuff that doesn’t matter. The Tuckahoe Center, in my opinion, is a smart idea, and matters. We may disagree, but it’s not because I want to see the area paved over, it’s because I see it addressing a need that affects real people and while the other issues still exist, at least this one was going to do the most good.

BTW, I don’t buy into the over-heated traffic nonsense that is espoused here. Every time I see one of the commenters here shout “Traffic, Traffic, Traffic”, all I hear is “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!” In other words, it’s whining with very little substance or quantitative factual analysis. Bigfresh, I’m thinking of you." Dec 31, 15 10:34 AM

Sandy Hollow Affordable Housing Lawsuit Dismissed By State Supreme Court Justice

Absolutely untrue. All of these types of projects are looked at on a case-by-case basis, and in this case, the town went with the benefits of providing affordable workforce housing, something we sorely need. There is no precedent-setting here, so your "sword of damocles" cry will get you no more than maybe a pie in the face (with a nod to Moe). " Jan 6, 16 11:03 AM

A PDD is looked at on a case-by-case basis. The potential applicant, before they even officially apply, needs to apprise the town board of its plan and needs to essentially be invited to submit. There is no precedent-setting, since if the town board in it's initial consideration doesn't think it's worthy, it can refuse to consider it, with absolutely no ramifications. I can agree with you that wanton and unrestrained PDD approvals would be a bad, bad thing, but this process I believe is set up to allow the town board to look at each potential project on its own merits, not because another project had been previously approved. The same type of project in another area might be totally inappropriate, for instance, in which case, even though one similar project already exists, the town board can, within its rights, deny a future one so that it avoids precedent. " Jan 6, 16 2:00 PM

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