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Sep 21, 2010 4:31 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Grocery store in Wainscott's future

Sep 21, 2010 4:31 PM

The East Hampton Planning Board, in its first review of a proposed new high-end grocery store for the former Plitt Ford property at 368 Montauk Highway in Wainscott on September 15, generally leaned in favor of the plan, but reserved judgment until a traffic study is done.

Meanwhile, the new owner of the property, Wainscott Retail LLC, is getting ready to announce which upscale grocery store will fill the space once occupied by inventories of new and used cars.

Although he declined to name the store, developer Gregg Saunders, a Wainscott resident, said it would be “one of those green, earthy health food stores that everyone likes. We’re moving forward with this.”

The problem with the store, as the Planning Board saw it during its review is how to get traffic in and out of the new property without wreaking havoc on the already congested Montauk Highway in that stretch of Wainscott.

“This area is a gateway to East Hampton,” said board member Patrick Schutte. “Now it’s an eyesore. But I like the initial plan before us. It’s more important to me to see the site completed than it is to worry about traffic.”

“I agree with Pat, but disagree about traffic,” said Peter Van Scoyoc, another board member. “The concern is on any given summer day, how is traffic going to get in and out of the store without creating a worse situation on Montauk Highway? This could be a real traffic nightmare.”

Board member Sylvia Overby said she would like to see a good traffic study of the area, and other board members agreed.

They also agreed that the new building should have more landscaping to break up the expanse of the exterior, and that the whole building should be set back 10 more feet from the front property line than is currently planned.

“This could be one of the jewels of Wainscott,” said the board’s chairman, John Lycke, who resigned from the board citing personal reasons just two days after the meeting.

Plans for the 1.9-acre property, which was sold recently to Mr. Saunders’s company for $3.9 million, call for a grocery store like Whole Foods Market, which specializes in organic and high end foods, a Trader Joe’s, which sells gourmet foods at competitive prices, or a Wild by Nature, which also specializes in high-end groceries.

Plitt Ford closed its doors about a year ago.

In its preliminary site-plan application, Wainscott Retail LLC says it plans to tear down the existing building and replace it with a 17,530-square-foot retail building that will be designed to look like a barn. Two accessory apartments in the building are under consideration, the company says in the application.

The location of the property is zoned as Central Business, where retail businesses are permitted.

Drive-in access to the store would be shared by three existing properties next to the proposed store site, according to architect Peter H. Cook, who is named in the application as a minority shareholder in the LLC.

“Traffic moves slowly in that area because there is a traffic light, but we’ll consider problems with traffic in the study we do,” he said.

Mr. Saunders said he bought the property because he didn’t want to see “another 7-Eleven store or CVS chain store move in.”

He said the store he is leaning toward will fit better in the neighborhood.

There should be plenty of year-round business for the store he selects, he said. “And this store is unique among the grocery stores out here.

“I do this kind thing all over the country and nowhere is there an explosion of business like there is here in the summer,” he added. “So this store should be pretty happy here.”

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peter cook is the architect? be prepared for a ridiculously over-sized, tacky monument to the male ego.
By justduckey (58), artist colony on Sep 27, 10 7:03 AM
1 member liked this comment
The only way Cook could get this job is by being an owner. He is without doubt the worst (see his fiasco at the light in Watermill!), not to mention all the other C and D grade attempts.
By DasK (26), on Sep 27, 10 5:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
As we all know Peter Cook was a starving unknown architect until he married Christy Brinkley. Now that they are divorced he is once again a "nothing"
By nurse (53), sag harbor on Sep 30, 10 7:47 PM
Gotta love the idea of a new high end grocery store!
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Oct 1, 10 1:39 AM
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