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Southampton Village Planning Board Members Positive About Citarella Plan

Publication: The Southampton Press
By Shaye Weaver   Apr 2, 2013 6:10 PM
Apr 2, 2013 6:49 PM

A Citarella market in Southampton Village appears to be one step closer to reality.

At a Southampton Village Planning Board meeting on Monday night, board members closed a public hearing on a site plan application to renovate the shops in the mini-mall on Hampton Road into one large market.

Board members discussed concerns raised at previous meetings—parking, shopping cart storage and a planned upgraded septic system—and expect to make a decision at the next meeting of the board on May 6, depending on the applicant’s response to the concerns, according to Chairman Roy Stevenson.

According to Mr. Stevenson, the board’s tone concerning the application is positive because it meets the board’s standards.

“I don’t see how we can turn it down,” said board member Warren Hamer. “The village needs people who want to develop their properties. I’m glad to see something happening that is positive in that particular area of the village.”

In November, Elka LLC, which is owned by Arturo Quiros, submitted a site plan application to the Planning Board. Because a market is a permitted use under current zoning, the proposal would not require a change of use variance, just approval of the interior changes. The building currently has 11,451 square feet of retail space on the first floor and 1,777 square feet of non-medical office space upstairs. The plan would combine 20 Hampton Road, which is a single-story building, and 22 Hampton Road, which is a two-story building. They are joined by a long hallway, which is why it’s called a mini-mall.

The owner would transform the buildings into a single use by removing walls and reconfiguring the space to accommodate a market. An upgraded septic system and new stormwater basin behind the China Garden restaurant also are a part of the site plan.

The application has been controversial in recent months largely because there will be no additional parking added to accommodate the traffic that would follow once the new market opens.

According to Southampton attorney John Bennett, who is representing Elka LLC and the proprietors of Citarella, no additional parking is required because the proposed interior changes do not require a change of use variance and will not increase the square footage of the building.

There are approximately 100 spaces in the municipal parking lot behind the stores, according to Village Highway Superintendent Gary Goleski.

Many residents and business owners have said the parking lot hits about 80 percent capacity even during the winter months and can get only more crowded, especially since some drivers don’t adhere to various parking limits within the lot, and some Southampton School District staff members park there during the school day, although Mr. Goleski said that many teachers who used to park in the lot have moved to a school parking lot, where 40 spaces were recently added.

According to Mr. Hamer, the parking situation is one to be addressed by the Village Board and not the Planning Board, even though he said he and his fellow members are concerned. “The businesses on Hampton Road are businesses in which you drop in and do your business in a matter of minutes,” he said. “But it seems to me it’s going to be pretty crowded. The landlord and the owner will deal with parking and how to control it. It’s not our business. I would wish you the best of luck.”

Mr. Stevenson, who owns Stevenson’s Toys on Jobs Lane, said the parking issue should work itself out.

“As a store owner myself, to suddenly discover the next coolest thing and thousands of people are flocking to my store, I’d be happy about that,” he said. “The parking issue is almost self-regulating—if people find the parking horrible, they may not go to market and it may not do so well. But it is not up to the board or the legislative bodies’ place to make that decision. The businessman is making his effort. We’ll see what happens.”

Board members were also concerned about the impact new leaching pools for the upgraded septic system would have on the structure of the surrounding buildings and asked the site’s architect, Don Jewell, to work with Village Engineer Aldo Andreoli before the next meeting. Mr. Jewell said the applicant is still waiting on approval from the Suffolk County Health Department as well.

In response to a question by Mr. Hamer about shopping carts, Mr. Jewell said that carts would not be able to physically leave the store.

The Planning Board will discuss the site plan further at a work session on April 29, and a decision may be made at its May 6 meeting.

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Welcome to Oz and the PLANNING Board which is not going to do anything about the parking problems this use will certainly create.

Mr. Hamer: "It's not our business."

Chairman Stephenson said the parking issue should work itself out.

“As a store owner myself, to suddenly discover the next coolest thing and thousands of people are flocking to my store, I’d be happy about that,” he said. “The parking issue is almost self-regulating—if people ...more
By PBR (4365), Southampton on Apr 2, 13 9:48 PM
The whole Village has a parking problem, and a lack of business problem> A store like Citarella, is much needed and will only bring more business into this wonderful community. The Village needs to address parking on a Village wide level, not just because a business is taking an already vacant space. What if that Mini Mall was filled with tenants, there would be no parking issue then.
By Puros (30), Hampton Bays on Apr 3, 13 11:15 PM
The problem is that Citarella is not just another business. It is not even just a market, even if the code permits markets as written in the 1950's.

Go to the BH and EH Citarella sites. There you will see much more than just a market.

Under one roof you will find, in effect:

-- traditional market and green grocer with limited selection of traditional market items such as canned goods, cereals, paper goods (toilet paper, paper towels, etc.).

-- deli with extensive ...more
By PBR (4365), Southampton on Apr 4, 13 6:26 AM
PS the last use above is the kicker. VERY traffic intensive for a lousy location. The "seat of the pants" and casual decision making process is inviting a Bumper Car summer unfortunately.

Mark these words, as accidents are bound to happen.

Have you ever sat in a Citarella parking lot on a weekend and watched the action?

Fasten seat belts!
By PBR (4365), Southampton on Apr 4, 13 6:32 AM
Article on p. A5 of the Press says this is likely to be approved on Monday, due in large part IMO to the PLANNING -- repeat PLANNING -- Board saying they have no jurisdiction over parking!

Really folks, you can't make this stuff up.

Welcome to Oz, Toto.
By PBR (4365), Southampton on May 3, 13 9:43 AM
PBR - it's not a change of use. It's a site plan, they really don't have a legal foot to stand on. I agree about self regulation - it's the free market baby. Those who want less government seem to be the same who want government to "prevent" stuff like this.

If parking becomes such a nightmare then people won't go there and they will go out of business. I think what this comes down to is people afraid of the effects it will have on Catenas, Schmidts, Shawn's Place, the Golden Pear and ...more
By Nature (2586), Hampton Bays on May 3, 13 10:56 AM
It IS a change of use, there is no market there now. The fact that the code permits markets in this zone totally ignores that Citarella bears little if any resemblance to what was a market in the mid 1950's when zoning was implemented.

This is really a Fast Food Take Out chain franchise masquerading (with help from hired gun attorneys and experts who will promote just about any cause for money, in my personal opinion).

The PLANNING Board does have more power than they are recognizing ...more
By PBR (4365), Southampton on May 3, 13 11:26 AM
Bumper cars, start your engines!
By PBR (4365), Southampton on May 3, 13 11:28 AM
*change of zone. Apologies.

It's a market - any grocery store today has a large number of "to go items" that can be purchased and consumed later. Whole Foods, Waldbaums, Trader Joes, Stop and Shop, King Kullen etc. There are plenty of people in BH and EH who buy their "fast food" as you like to call it and enjoy it at a table directly outside. What's wrong with that?

Safe streets and parking lots are expected and easily achieved thanks to the high number of summer traffic ...more
By Nature (2586), Hampton Bays on May 3, 13 2:13 PM
The basic point remains that, in my personal opinion, the PLANNING -- repeat PLANNING -- Board DOES HAVE the jurisdiction and power to look into the parking and traffic aspects of this application.

Period.

1. Do you propose that they lack ALL JURISDICTION with regard to traffic and parking, as reported, and as Mr. Stephenson seems to have conceded?

2. If the PLANNING Board does not have jurisdiction to assess the parking and traffic impact of this CHANGE of use, who does?

No ...more
By PBR (4365), Southampton on May 3, 13 2:40 PM
PS -- Just to emphasize, this is a profound change of use for the site.

If not the Planning Board, who is in charge?
By PBR (4365), Southampton on May 3, 13 2:50 PM
PBR - it seems that they don't have jurisdiction because the proposed application doesn't require a Change of Use VARIANCE (variance being the operative word). The proposed USE is consistent with existing zoning, i.e. the proposed USE is no different then the existing uses in terms of parking requirements.

Now, we all know that Citeralla is a very popular establishment and has the ABILITY to produce a high customer turnover per hour. But the USE of a "market" has generic calculations, ...more
By Nature (2586), Hampton Bays on May 3, 13 3:04 PM
Thanks for the detailed reply. We disagree about the board's authority. So be it.

Bumper cars, start your engines!
By PBR (4365), Southampton on May 3, 13 3:49 PM
PS - Hopefully no pedestrian lives will be lost because of the Village's myopic abdication of responsibility.

The Village is hereby notified that it is creating a potentially dangerous situation.
By PBR (4365), Southampton on May 3, 13 4:08 PM
Oh please - you are really blowing things out of proportion. How many mentions of bumper cars will you make? What's the definition of truthiness? Maybe the problem is the clientele of Citeralla's are just poor drivers...
By Nature (2586), Hampton Bays on May 3, 13 9:36 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Nature (2586), Hampton Bays on May 3, 13 9:36 PM
Hopefully the Planning Board will table this application tonight, so that the Village Attorney can advise them on possible liability for pedestrian injuries if they do not fully consider the parking and traffic issues in detail.
By PBR (4365), Southampton on May 6, 13 1:11 PM
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