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Oct 12, 2015 11:52 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board Still Awaiting Traffic Study For Tuckahoe Supermarket Plan

Oct 13, 2015 1:33 PM

A pending traffic study will either be the final blessing or the final nail in the coffin for a proposed shopping center on County Road 39 in Tuckahoe.

Expected to be completed and filed with the town within a few weeks, the study is expected to be used by the Southampton Town Board to determine the potential effects that the supermarket and retail complex, if built, would have on the surrounding neighborhood.

This week, four of the five Town Board members said they would review the report before making a final decision on the proposal—with Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera alone stating that she intends to cast a “no” vote on the application, regardless of the results of the traffic study.

“All along, I have said that we had concerns with the traffic,” Ms. Scalera said in a phone interview last week. “We just adopted a County Road 39 corridor plan, and one of the things specified for that quadrant is to keep low trip generation. With the current proposal as is, I can’t say on one hand that I want low-trip-generated uses and, on the other hand, this supermarket. Those things don’t correlate.”

The current version of the Tuckahoe Center project calls for the construction of a roughly 40,000-square-foot supermarket on Magee Street, as well as a 15,000-square-foot shopping center that would include space for retail shops and restaurants. A 3,000-square-foot free-standing bank is also proposed as part of the plan.

King Kullen had plans to occupy the new supermarket space, but that agreement expired, and no new tenant has been identified for the space.

The project was first brought to the Town Board in 2010 by developer Robert Morrow, who is working with three local businessmen, Lance Nil, Lyle Pike and Mark Zucchero. The application has been scaled back from an original proposal that called for more than 100,000 square feet of space for a supermarket and retail shops, and a dozen second-floor apartments as well.

The revised plan that is currently before the board was first presented in 2012. In order to move forward, the developers need Town Board approval to alter the zoning of 7.2 acres of land along the south side of County Road 39, from highway business to shopping center business. Only three votes are needed for a zone change, compared to the four votes required for approval of a special zoning designation, a planned development district, which has been used for other proposals.

During several months of public hearings regarding the application, both supporters and opponents have come out in droves to offer their opinions on the plan, and many have written letters to Town Hall as well.

With a final decision now looming, it is unclear how the proposed zone change will play out.

Mr. Morrow declined to comment when reached earlier this week, saying there are no changes at this time to the proposal.

For Town Councilman Brad Bender, a final decision is not clear cut—he said the results of the traffic study will play a huge role in that process. He noted that the pending takeover of the old Waldbaum’s in Southampton Village by Stop & Shop could also play a role in whether or not he supports the Tuckahoe application.

According to Mr. Bender, only two things are clear at this point: a clean and affordable supermarket is needed in or near Tuckahoe, and traffic patterns will change if one is built on Magee Street.

“We need access to a good, clean, quality grocery store that will give affordable prices—and that is something we haven’t seen in the village,” Mr. Bender said. “Now that things are changing hands, are they going to clean it up and make it a decent place for people to go?

“I don’t know how this will affect their project, and their ability to attract a grocer, so I don’t have all of the facts yet,” he added, referring to those behind the Tuckahoe Center project.

For Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, she is hoping that the traffic study will shed some light on the issue, saying that it will play an important part in her final decision. “I have very serious concerns about the traffic, and I will be taking a hard look at the study,” she said. “For us to even consider it, it has got to meet our concerns with regards to the mitigation of the traffic impacts from the development.”

The same holds true for Councilman Stan Glinka. This week, he said the developers have put a lot of work into the planning phases for their proposal, and it would only be fair to read the final traffic report before making a decision. Likewise, residents are still submitting letters to the board for the record and, Mr. Glinka said, their opinions deserve to be taken into consideration along with the other facts.

“I will not make a decision until I have everything in front of us,” he said. “There is still a lot to be done, and it is not fair to make any sort of decision when everything is still out there.”

It is unclear when the final traffic report will be completed, though Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said she expects it to be submitted to the town in the next few weeks. She agreed that a final decision will not be made until after the traffic study is released.

“It is really about making sure we have good services for local working-class people, so we don’t lose sight of what makes this whole economy work,” Mr. Bender said. “Not everything can revolve around the people who come from the city to spend the weekend.”

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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 12, 15 2:18 PM
Ummm Brad? "Working class" folks have been doing just fine without a mega market on an incredibly crowded, dangerous thoroughfare. The only beneficiaries of this ill sited project would be the land speculators and developer. Your condescending attitude and obvious support of this mess just cost you my vote . Let's hope the traffic study and vote on change if zone happens before Election Day , the entire Board's political future will be determined by how each member votes.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 12, 15 2:18 PM
2 members liked this comment
if you don't want it then don't go when its built but its needed
By BrianWilliams (87), on Oct 12, 15 4:28 PM
The population has gone down in Southampton,and ion the east end overall. Over 60% of the homes are seasonal. There's NO need to make traffic worse.
By JM11968 (71), southampton on Oct 12, 15 8:47 PM
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? ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 13, 15 1:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
It is appropriately called Mega because it is precisely 300% of the recommended allowable sq footage for highway business recommended for decades by Town and transportation planners for CR 39. You likely financially benefit from all these out of control development in our Town that has upset so many people.

Your logic is obvious. You compare it to other areas like up island with much better infrastructure to handle dense traffic, while ignoring the infrastructure limitations of our Town, ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Oct 15, 15 7:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
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, ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 18, 15 2:04 PM
haha you scare me!
By dave h (193), calverton on Oct 18, 15 10:30 PM
--this reply is in response to the above "if you don tlike it don't go".
..like an ostrich, put your head in the sand and preend this mega mini mall doesn't exist
that's NO way to live
By dave h (193), calverton on Oct 18, 15 10:32 PM
" Together, that makes 60,000 sq ft. The proposal is for 58,000 with substantially larger setbacks than the individual lots would yield."

Again, that more devious logic, because zoning doesn't permit aggregating 4 different lots, taking their 15,000 legal limitation, pool them together, to come up with 58,000 sq ft allowable development. You can buy up 10 lots together and the maximum per facility built is still, yes, 15,000 sq ft, not one sq ft more.

Please show the zoning variance ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Oct 19, 15 10:55 AM
"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.
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 20, 15 11:57 AM
Rickenbacker, that zoning variance is in your mind. It doesn't exist. It is disallowed by law, and recommended against by all independent studies on CR 39. It is a "proposed" justification but it is against zoning law, which is why it can't be built.

You say it is acceptable because it is only 58,000 sq ft, under 60,000 you say, so the supermarket is fine. No cigar. Not allowed, because it defeats what all independent studies have shown repeatedly what shouldn't be built in that space. ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Oct 21, 15 7:35 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. ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 21, 15 2:36 PM
"It is not against the law, there is a legal procedure for a zone change request, and the developers are following that legal procedure."

This is an illogical nonsensical non-sequitur. Whether there is a legal alternative to circumvent established zoning law by creating a new law to make an exception of the currently illegal proposal for a mega-supermarket, is irrelevant! Circumventing zoning law in Southampton town is a specialty of 3 or 4 legal hacks as we know and campaign contributions ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Oct 23, 15 8:23 AM
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 ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Oct 23, 15 2:27 PM
Where is all of this traffic coming from?

Hampton Bays? No, they have 3 supermarkets.

Bridgehampton? No, they have a really nice King Kullen.

The traffic is coming from southampton village, basically the southampton Fire District. WE DON'T HAVE A SUPERMARKET!
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Oct 12, 15 4:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
Southampton village residents are too few to create traffic problems. That is caused by all the vehicles from west of here servicing the too-many homes built in the last couple of decades. Those homeowners eat out, take out, shop at Citarella or Catena's, local farmstands, and/or have inhouse chefs who have food delivered by specialty suppliers. They are not supermarket shoppers.
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 12, 15 5:44 PM
2 members liked this comment
3,100 people are casing that traffic, don't think so. People in other areas of the country have to go a lot further then the distance's of Bridgehampton or Hampton Bay's to get to any Market. The only people who want this are people who were promised by the developer contracts,
By JM11968 (71), southampton on Oct 12, 15 9:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
the traffic that this mega shopping center will bring to an already , at times, gridlocked artery will outweigh any perceived convenience. Enough is enough, we have reached the saturation point. The traffic comes from mostly up the Island tradesmen , blame that on the unbridled development brought to us by our own darling Queen Anna, pay for play anyone?
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 12, 15 5:30 PM
As I asked, said, before surely you are not originally from big fresh R U? If you were you would not be complaining about a shopping center which is to be located with entrance on a side street. That in itself alleviates the pain of traffic on Cty. Rd. 39. I agree with June Bug. Surely she understands the need for a good supermarket favoring the local residents many who incidentally are working for all the folks who are buying properties at outrageous prices but need the help of local year round ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Oct 12, 15 7:34 PM
I will refrain from voting for any one who votes for this bad idea !
By bayview (160), Southampton on Oct 12, 15 7:08 PM
2 members liked this comment
This report should show what we already know, that 39 is filled to capacity, especially during the summer season when it often moves at a crawl. It comes to a complete halt any time there is an accident. Any other conclusion would be a fabrication in favor of the developers, but I wouldn't put it beyond certain members of the town board to have put under pressure on whoever is writing the report.
By heythere (2), Southampton on Oct 12, 15 8:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
As a resident of HB, I vote yes for KK on 39. It will drastically cut down on the amount of people coming from SOH to shop here. I wonder just how many people come west to shop.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Oct 12, 15 8:56 PM
As proposed there will be curb cuts on CR 39 Summertime a recipe for disaster, especially when the snowbirds are here.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 13, 15 6:51 AM
Need a market or not is moot (People on Shelter Island and in Sag harbor don't seem to be whining as much about their dinky little IGA's as I am hearing here ). This is just one lousy spot to stick this project. Anybody try to get out of town last evening (Columbus Day)? This project will push traffic through residential streets. Why should those homeowners have to put up with this so someone else can make a buck?
By Tuckahoe Ted (53), southampton on Oct 13, 15 8:11 AM
2 members liked this comment
... shouldn't the Town wait until these three new grocery stores (E.H.,Shampton, and WHB) are up and running? Aren't these new guys gonna' redo these stores so they kick ass? Or are they just gonna' bring in inventory and change the sign?

The Town should be making sure it is the former and not the latter. That is effective and efficient govt. Help them transition so everybody, mostly citizenry, wins. Why further deface the East End with a new PDD? Upgrade existing locations, use existing ...more
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Oct 13, 15 2:08 PM
Scalera just lost my vote. She has already made up her mind without reading the traffic study? Oh I forgot it's election time tis the season for lying.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Oct 20, 15 7:40 AM
In my opinion, it is not so much the traffic that is the problem, it is the location and the amount of CONGESTION that it will cause. Maybe there won't be MORE cars on the road but there will be MORE going on now. More people turning, more people trying to sneak out into traffic, ergo more accidents maybe even deadly ones. I just don't think it is needed. That road is already too dangerous. Another store is unnecessary.
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Oct 22, 15 11:22 AM