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Jul 2, 2014 10:44 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bridgehampton Residents Continue To Fight CVS Plans, Plan To March In Protest On Thursday

Jul 2, 2014 11:16 AM

Bridgehampton residents and community advocate groups are continuing their fight against a proposed CVS in the hamlet, this time making the argument that the combination pharmacy-convenience store would ruin the historic nature of the busy corner where it is slated to be built.

Residents said they are interested in making the now-vacant lot into a green space to keep up the historic integrity of the intersection. And on Thursday morning at 10 a.m., they plan to meet in front of the nearby Starbucks to march up Montauk Highway to protest the CVS.

“We just want to convince the town that pretty much everyone is opposed to it,” said Nancy Walter-Yvertes, chair of the community group Save Bridgehampton Main Street and co-chair of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee. She added that the march will inform seasonal residents who are just arriving for the summer of the situation. “I think it’s a very good way to connect with the local community.”

In a letter to Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and the Town Board, Save Bridgehampton Main Street asks officials to preserve the space at the corner of 2510 Montauk Highway instead of allowing a two-story, 9,000-square-foot CVS to go up. The group sent out a petition last week listing several arguments against the new store.

The petition’s primary argument is that the CVS would ruin the historic nature of the intersection at Montauk Highway and Lumber Lane, Ocean Road and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike. The intersection includes several noteworthy buildings—the Topping Rose House, formerly known as the Bull’s Head Inn, the Nathaniel Rogers House, and the first mercantile building on the East End, which currently houses Almond Restaurant.

Leonard Davenport, of the steering committee for Save Bridgehampton Main Street, said he believes this argument is the most compelling one yet. “All [of the] buildings are really significant,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anyone who disagrees. I don’t think it’s even potentially arguable.”

The petition also cites potential problems with parking as well as with pedestrian and vehicle traffic. It argues that spaces for larger tenants exist elsewhere in the hamlet, such as at the Bridgehampton Commons.

The corner property where the CVS would go, dubbed “Wick’s Corner,” once was occupied by Wick’s Tavern, a 17th-century structure that stood until the 1940s, before a gas station went up in its place and then was torn down as well.

Town officials have stated that the situation is “out of their hands.” Councilwoman Bridget Fleming said that because the developers have already received approval for the CVS, anything related to it is the responsibility of the Town Planning Board.

“I certainly understand the concern,” said Ms. Fleming, who added that she is an advocate for maintaining historic structures. But, she said, “retail use is permitted. The Town Board cannot interfere with that.”

Last month, Planning Board Chairman Dennis Finnerty had said he would support the idea of turning the property into a green space, if the owner of the vacant property, Paul Kanavos of BNB Ventures, would be willing to sell it to the town.

“I think it’s a terrific idea,” Mr. Finnerty had said. “I certainly think it would be money well-spent.”

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