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Feb 14, 2012 12:17 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Some Residents Say They Support Remsenburg Subdivision Plan

Feb 15, 2012 12:11 PM

Plans for a new 17-home subdivision in Remsenburg continue to elicit strong opinions from community members, most of whom said that, if given an option, would prefer to preserve the bucolic quality of their sleepy hometown.

But if the 23 acres that make up the former Webb Estate must be developed, the majority of hamlet residents interviewed this week said they support developer Lawrence Citarelli’s proposal for The Estates at Remsenburg. His plan calls for the building of 17 new houses on the property, which is zoned residential, and the preservation of three historic buildings and an estimated 6 acres of open space along the west side of Nidzyn Avenue.

“This is the only [large] piece of vacant land left in the area,” said Michael Molinaro who, along with is wife, Martha, have lived on Nidzyn Avenue for the past 36 years. “You can’t stop the subdivision, so go with the lesser of two evils,” added Mr. Molinaro who, while retired, still dabbles in the real estate and insurance businesses.

The less desired option, Mr. Molinaro explained, is an alternative plan that Mr. Citarelli has been circulating ever since Sally Pope, the president of the Remsenburg Association and a former Southampton Town Board member, filed a petition with Southampton Town that objects to the cluster housing plan and opposes the location of the main entrance along South County Road. That plan, the developer said, could call for the clearing of the entire 23 acres, the building of additional houses and the demolition of all three preexisting structures. It would also force him to relocate the proposed entrance to the development to Nidzyn Avenue, a move that is not supported by traffic studies. Mr. Citarelli purchased the land in 2010 for $2.4 million.

Mr. Citarelli, who took out full page advertisements in The Press in recent weeks stating that he does not prefer the alternate plan, said most in the community support his original proposal. He could legally build up to 23 new houses on the property; his application, however, seeks to subdivide the land into 19 lots, including 17 three-quarter acre lots for the new homes. The historic homes would be located on the other two lots.

“We went back to 1946 aerials and identified all the large growth trees and we are prepared to preserve them,” said Mr. Citarelli, who lives on Tuthill Lane in Remsenburg, adding that his plan preserves about 25 percent of the land. “We are building and asking less than is our right under every code.

“My original plan offers a higher tax base for residents, 
with no burden on the 
[Remsenburg-Speonk] school district,” he added.

Ms. Pope recently collected an estimated 300 signatures as part of a petition stating that those who signed it oppose the cluster plan and the entrance’s placement along South Country Road. In a letter forwarded to the Southampton Town Planning Board regarding the project, the Remsenburg Association argued that “Nidzyn Avenue, which has no other roads entering from Main Street to Montauk Highway, is a better choice to address traffic issues and preserve the quality of South Country Road.”

On Wednesday, Ms. Pope said her group is not playing partisan politics and noted that most members of the Remsenburg Association do not want the subdivision’s entrance on South Country Road. Ms. Pope, who lives off Basketneck Lane, also said she is still pushing for Southampton Town to buy and preserve the land, even though officials with the town’s Community Preservation Fund previously stated that the land does not meet their requirements for preservation.

In response to Ms. Pope’s petition, Mr. Citarelli launched an online petition of his own and, this past week, offered almost 20 letters from hamlet residents documenting their support of his original proposal. John Kern, a former president of the Remsenburg Association who lives on Nidzyn Avenue, said he objects to the group’s decision to take a side on the subdivision application.

“It’s written right here—we represent the community as a whole and we don’t [get involved in] individual property disputes between neighbors,” Mr. Kern said while pointing to the resolution from the Remsenburg Association’s September 17, 2006, agenda that he saved. “[Ms. Pope] has done this,” he added.

As a result, he said Ms. Pope has succeeded in dividing the community.

That sentiment was shared by Christian Killoran, another former president of the community organization. “While I think the Remsenburg Association is a great organization, it is a bad decision to advocate for one way over the other,” he said.

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There are already too many houses for sale in the area we don't need any more developement in the area.
By maxwell (169), speonk on Feb 14, 12 2:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
People still buy houses?
I saw his plan and I actually like it. I think Mr. Citarelli is trying to keep the character of the neighborhood intact.
But, yeah... Maxwell is right. There are a lot homes for sale in the area.
By double standard (1506), Remsenburg on Feb 17, 12 10:54 AM
1 member liked this comment
Think about the jobs that will be created as a result of the building plan.
By local12 (34), Remsenburg on Feb 17, 12 11:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
Sally and her cronies should pressure town hall to buy the land or shut up.

She doesn't speak for everyone in the area, and I for one, am for this. He is a good builder, and actually cares about where he lives. He's not a "weekend" resident from Manhattan (some of my best friends are from Manhattan). He lives here, his kids go to school here, he's vested in this community people. And he's allowed to make money too!

Go Larry - Don't give up just because a few naysayers are ...more
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Feb 17, 12 11:13 AM
If Pope and friends insist on having the entrance on Nidzyn and they get their way, then it's a clear sign of using influence to achieve a goal that is supported by few and a slap in the face of many. If that's what the Remsenburg Assoc is, a group of friends playing baby politics, then you can keep it. I have supported the Rems Assoc for a long time. I'm done with that. I have signed the petition to keep the entrance on South Country and will fight to keep it there. There is no logical reason to ...more
By double standard (1506), Remsenburg on Feb 17, 12 11:55 AM
1 member liked this comment
Thanks all...It is obvious that I am not alone with many residents including former Rem Assoc presidents/officers/memebers that this group is simply out of bounds...The Town CPF i snot an option as they will not support the preservation, replication nor the mainenance of the larger structures...Moreover by state and local law they are required to have a willing seller to whit I am not...
By LCitarelli (10), Remsenburg on Feb 17, 12 2:49 PM
The once white fences along South Country Road near the post office are still green. Can the Remsenburg Association please lobby the relevant residents to clean the fences please ? Hardly a good advertisment for elegant and bucolic Remsenburg....
By local12 (34), Remsenburg on Feb 17, 12 3:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sally-give it up. Larry has you beat. His plan is a good one that benifits the community. Also note that CPF can not buy something that is not for sale.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Feb 17, 12 9:10 PM
What developer wouldn't jump at the opportunity ( for themselves ) to build as many houses as they could in Remsenburg? It seems a shame that "progress" always comes at the expense of open space... no more pheasants , no more quail ... just more houses and more congestion, Next the Remsenburg school will be asking for a bond so they can expand ...it never ends.
By Bill in Riverhead (190), Riverhead on Feb 18, 12 7:32 AM
1 member liked this comment
And I voted for Sally Pope thinking she'd be good for Speonk / Remsenburg. Ugh! I look forward to getting that dues reminder for the Rems Assoc. I need something to get the fire pit started.

Boycott the Remsenburg Assoc!
By double standard (1506), Remsenburg on Feb 18, 12 10:27 AM
1 member liked this comment
If real estate values in the area were increasing (they are not) and properties were selling quickly (they are not) then adding inventory would make sense. Simple economic supply and demand seem to indicate that the area doesn't need more supply of real estate. If these new houses do not sell then it will drag down the value of other houses in Remsenburg. More supply and no demand require values to drop in order to establish equilibrium.

Lawrence can you present a business argument ...more
By mike9186 (17), Remsenburg on Feb 18, 12 6:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
He doesn't have to answer to you or anyone. If he wants to do it it's his right.
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Feb 18, 12 9:17 PM
Mike91, it's not a matter of if the land will be developed, because it will. It is a matter of how the land will be developed. Business has risk and I guess the builder is willing to take the risk. Plus, you assume that all the houses will be built at once. I see no evidence of that. Pure guess here, but I think he'd build as needed. I have nothing to lose and nothing to gain by supporting this project. However, I do have a problem with a few members of a community exploiting their influence and ...more
By double standard (1506), Remsenburg on Feb 19, 12 11:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
DoubleS- Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I too have no horse in this race other than being a resident of Remsenburg and not wanting to see a development begin with the best of intentions turning sour because of market conditions. I am not plugged into the local political scene here so that is not even on my radar concerning this issue.

I understand the risk element of business, but this is risk tied to the local real estate market which has been suffering for the past 4 years. I like it ...more
By mike9186 (17), Remsenburg on Feb 19, 12 7:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
No doubt, inventory levels currently exceed demand. I would not want to be selling into this market right now. These things tend to be cyclical so, and I'm guessing, Mr. Citarelli may feel that when the project is ready to build the real estate market will be in recovery. Have you seen his plan? It's actually a nice plan that attempts to keep the character of Remsenburg intact. If it was a bad plan I'd be barking because it is my nature to be a jerk :)
By double standard (1506), Remsenburg on Feb 20, 12 1:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
Remember, MBS derivatives were considered a good bet once.

I hope this doesn't burn anyone.
By Mr. Z (11565), North Sea on Feb 20, 12 8:14 PM
All the tree huggers are out. if you want to preserve tear down your house rip out your septic and pitch a tent in the woods.
By chief1 (2770), southampton on Feb 18, 12 8:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
Ahhhh I love you all...Thanks to all of you who get it and I am sorry for those of you who do not...Like I have said in the past my name, address and contact information is available if you wish to speak me...I am considering a meeting at the school to layout the plan (revisions included) and further educate to the micro/macro economics replete with how we will be preserving property values, offer a higher tax base, maintaining the streetscapes and characters of our Hamlet and gearing the project ...more
By LCitarelli (10), Remsenburg on Feb 20, 12 7:25 PM
Oh and Bill in Riverhead...Thank god it is me who bought or we would be dealing with another developer who would be exercising his AS OF RIGHT option to build 22 homes in lieu of my 16(new)...which would be including no open space, no preservation(no law requires the salvation or replication of these structures) and my I add MY DONATION of over 6 acres of preserved land without the use of taxpayer money...Yes Free and a Gift!!! I would prefer you say thank you and be on your way...
By LCitarelli (10), Remsenburg on Feb 20, 12 7:28 PM
Nice paraphrasing of Jack Nicholson, and "goodness, is being better than the worst" defense.

It seems to me that many people are just tired of their home being developed beyond reproach. They don't see more luxury as a solution, and the construction jobs provided are a short term solution. The fact that these "homes" will be far outside of the fiscal reach of those who build them, and most likely their children, probably irks them as well.

This used to be such a quiet, bucolic ...more
By Mr. Z (11565), North Sea on Feb 20, 12 7:45 PM
Let me get this straight. Sally Pope's got 300 signatures opposing this project, and Larry Citarelli's got 20 letters supporting it. Right? Sounds like a landslide to me. I know the man's got rights and it's not something where the majority rules, but I'm just saying it sure doesn't look like Sally Pope is the fly in the ointment. All the people putting her down should look at this article, 300 to 20, and realize she speaks for the overwhelming majority of the people. Maybe they won't prevail, ...more
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Feb 21, 12 3:45 PM
The 2000 census reported that there were 822 residents in the hamlet of Remsenburg. 300 questionabel signatures does not appear to be a majority, much less a mandate, of the people of Remsenburg.
By jpk (7), Remsenburg on Feb 21, 12 4:41 PM
If you're going to call the opposition signatures "questionable," jpk, you should state your grounds specifically and in detail. Otherwise, you should withdraw that charge. As far as numbers go, 300 may not be a majority of all Remsenburg residents, but 300 to 20 sure is a whopping majority of those who've expressed an opinion so far.
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Feb 22, 12 4:50 AM
The preamble to the petition which was submitted to the Planning Board stated "but if there is to be development of the property, Nydzyn Avenue, which has no other roads entering from Main Street to Montauk Highway is a better choice to address traffic issues and preserve the quality of South Country Road." This preamble was not shown to the individuals who were signing the petition. I personally saw several people sign the petition without seeing this preamble. When I asked to see it, Ms. Pope ...more
By jpk (7), Remsenburg on Feb 22, 12 9:35 PM
Oh hey, I forgot, Larry's got the support of a lot of the posters in this thread. Good luck with that, Larry. I know the posters on 27east, I'm one of them, and as a group we probably have as much influence on town affairs as your dog. Not a great media pick.
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Feb 21, 12 3:52 PM
This is true. The only ones who reads these posts are the readers who post them in the first place!
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Feb 21, 12 7:34 PM
Actually, I manage to read almost all of them...
By Mr. Z (11565), North Sea on Feb 21, 12 8:16 PM
The town of Southampton's own 2004 planning study listed "Remsenburg community identified assets: Extensive grouping of historic homes, barns, churches; scenic corridor along South Country Road." Nidzyn Avenue is not mentioned. Neither is my house. Our enhanced property values derive in no small part from the curb appeal generated by properties such as the Webb Estate, The Academy building and so forth. To the extent that Larry's project diminishes the historic and rural character of Remsenburg ...more
By rburger (82), Remsenburg on Feb 21, 12 4:22 PM
Once upon a time there was a piece of land in Remsenburg. I bought it and built a house. Nobody cared. Then 3 other vacant pieces of land by my house were purchased and people built houses. They became my neighbors. They are nice people with pretty lawns. Nobody cared. Then a big piece of land became available and someone bought it. He wants to bring in 17 families and neighbors and more pretty lawns. Now everyone cares. Do 1 thing 17 times and nobody cares. Do 17 things at once and the pretty feathesr ...more
By double standard (1506), Remsenburg on Feb 21, 12 9:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thanks to all who get it...Those of you who don't are more than welcome to contact me directly...In lieu of hiding behind screen names with no pictures and dilusional self entitelment issues...The reporter in this article went on her own accord and knowcked on doors and I was called for a quote...As to the signatures we too have over 300 and over 50 letters...However, all the letters, signatures and petitions are a complete waste of time...Development is emminnent...This is as of right, actually ...more
By LCitarelli (10), Remsenburg on Feb 25, 12 12:36 PM
The letter the Remsenburg Association recently sent out asked if, as residents, we would be willing to pay towards preserving the historic properties on South Country Road, because paying for that isn't something the CPF mandate extends to. For our family the answer is no. So, rburger, are you going to donate enough money to do that yourself? His plan includes keeping intact and renovating the Webb properties in question along South Country Road. Another builder might have decided to tear them ...more
By local12 (34), Remsenburg on Feb 26, 12 1:46 PM
Yes, I would contribute.
By rburger (82), Remsenburg on Mar 1, 12 5:18 PM