The faltering economy may result in an early end to the County Road 39 moratorium enacted by the Southampton Town Board, which has been in place since July.
The 12-month construction ban, which extends along the commercial corridor through parts of Shinnecock Hills, Tuckahoe, North Sea, Southampton and Water Mill, was set to expire on July 22, a year after its adoption. But the Town Board is now considering lifting the moratorium sooner than planned—March 30 is the new termination date being considered—and will likely hold a public hearing on Tuesday, March 24, to discuss the issue.
Town Planning and Development Administrator Jefferson Murphree pointed out Friday that the economy has significantly changed since the moratorium was enacted last summer, and since then many small-business owners along the corridor have suffered losses. Some have argued that, in this economy, freezing development is not sound policy, and that allowing building projects to go through would result in jobs and provide a boost to the local economy.
Though the board is considering lifting the ban early, Mr. Murphree said the County Road 39 study, which is running concurrent with the moratorium and is aimed at addressing future development along the stretch, will continue.
Two major projects that have been blocked from going forward by the moratorium are the possible relocation of Southampton Hospital, on the fairgrounds next to the Elks Lodge, and a new King Kullen supermarket proposed to be built on 12 acres south of County Road 39 and east of Magee Street behind the Enclave Inn.
Plans for the King Kullen also include a café, a restaurant, a bank, a bookstore and other retail establishments in what is dubbed the Tuckahoe Hamlet Center. Blueprints for the center also call for 28 apartments to be situated above the retail establishments, with some of the units set aside for affordable housing.