Southampton Village is bringing in an economic planning and consulting firm to study the village’s retail potential—the results of which could impact pending village legislation to allow supermarkets in the Highway Business District.
Village Board members voted unanimously last Thursday, November 8, to enter into a contract with the Michigan-based Gibbs Planning Group to conduct the retail study. The firm plans to provide an independent analysis of the village’s potential to support groceries, supermarkets and retail, as well as their likely economic impact on existing commerce now and in the next five years.
The firm would visit most village stores and retailers, evaluating their quality, service and merchandise to seek out potential voids or oversupply of a particular good or service.
The idea is to strengthen the village business district, Mayor Mark Epley said, adding that he has always feared the kind of retail sprawl that happened in Riverhead. He named as an example a proposal for a King Kullen outside the village boundaries, along County Road 39 in Tuckahoe. That project, if approved, could pave the way toward large shopping centers on that stretch, he said.
A study like this, he said, would allow officials to speak to others about coming to open up shop in the village.
The cost is $12,000 plus travel, lodging and copying expenses, but the Southampton Association, a local civic group, has pledged $5,000.
The Southampton Association previously spent $8,000 to bring Robert Gibbs, the president of Gibbs Planning Group, to the village in May to offer his view of the health of the village’s retail.
Police Chief Passes Probation
Southampton Village Police Chief Thomas Cummings has passed his six-month probationary period, Mayor Mark Epley said last Thursday.
The chief was promoted to his post in June 2011, but his probation did not start until he officially passed the Civil Service police chief’s examination, which he did in May with a score of 94.
Since then, the village evaluated his performance and decided that he is fit to stay on as chief.
The mayor commended him on aggressively addressing noise complaints and keeping up production and morale and noted how the department hasn’t had issues it has had in the past.
Chief Cummings gave a brief presentation to the Village Board on Thursday night, noting that arrests, tickets and impounds were up over the past year, but that accidents were down over the same period. He also praised the department’s work during Hurricane Sandy.
“I got the good fortune of the hard work that was put in before,” he said of his predecessor, William Wilson Jr. “And I was trying not to screw it up.”