The renewed proposal for a King Kullen supermarket on the northern boundary of Southampton Village shouldn’t deter the village from seeking to tweak its zoning code to encourage the development of a grocery store on the fringes of the village business district, lawmakers said this week.
Members of the Village Board said this week that they don’t see the King Kullen proposal in Tuckahoe as negating the need for another grocer within the village itself and said that, pending a traffic study by village consultants, they plan to press ahead with the legislation.
“I don’t think we just need it a little, we need it a lot,” village Trustee Bill Hattrick said this week. “If you introduce the King Kullen, I don’t have an answer for that, but there’s no way of knowing what that will do. It could put Waldbaum’s out of business—then what? I think about this Glennon property a lot and I view it in a very favorable light.”
The village has proposed amending the zoning on a short stretch of commercial property along County Road 39 at the village’s eastern boundary, and board members have largely been steadfast in their support for the legislation despite a host of concerns and objections from residents.
The amendments would make a supermarket possible on seven village properties along County Road 39 and one on the village’s main thoroughfare, Hampton Road, where it intersects with CR 39 and Flying Point Road. Just five of the parcels within the new overlay meet the legislation’s 1.5-acre minimum for accommodating a market and only three of those are undeveloped or unoccupied: a 2-acre parcel owned by Buzz Chew adjacent to his Chevrolet car dealership, a 2.5-acre parcel with two abandoned buildings on it owned by the Stachecki family next to the Village East shops complex, and the Hampton Road parcel, a vacant car dealership near the intersection with County Road 39 and Flying Point Road owned by the Glennon family. The Buzz Chew dealership and the Village East complex would also be potential sites for a market if their owners were looking to redevelop.
The Glennons have already drafted plans and inked an agreement with Fresh Market, an upscale grocer, to apply for a market on their property if the village adopts the amendments to the code. The amended code would still require that any potential grocer be granted a special exception permit in order to allow a supermarket to be built.
Opponents have raised concerns about traffic snarls at the already busy intersection and impacts on nearby residences. But board members have said they believe the impacts, traffic in particular, will be far less significant than some fear.
The village has closed a public hearing on the code amendment legislation and is now awaiting a traffic study of the Hampton Road-County Road 39 corridor by consulting firm Nelson Pope and Voorhis, which handles engineering work for the village.
Mayor Mark Epley said this week that regardless of what becomes of the King Kullen shopping center proposal in Tuckahoe, which is just outside the village border, he still thinks the village should press for a new market at its eastern end.
“We don’t know where that project is going, if it’s going to happen,” he said. “We’ve been looking at a grocery store possibility since long before that original plan ever came up and I’m not opposed to continuing with this law and making the zoning change.”
The mayor and village businesses were among the most strident opponents of the original Tuckahoe shopping center plan introduced in 2009, fearing it would pull business from the village. At the time, the proposal included more than 90,000 square feet of retail space and restaurants in addition to the grocery store. The latest plan asks for just 15,000 square feet of stores and one bank branch building along with the 40,000 square foot supermarket.
Village Trustee Nancy McGann said she worried that the positioning of the King Kullen on the village’s northern border without another option for people in other parts of the village would result in a jump in traffic on some of the residential streets that run between Hill Street and County Road 39.
Mr. Epley and Mr. Hattrick both voiced the same concerns while saying the addition of a market like the Fresh Market would likely not have a big traffic impact at the other end of the village.
“I see it as a zero sum gain—you either drive to Waldbaum’s, you drive to Schmidt’s or drive there,” Mr. Hattrick said. “I see it doing very little harm.”