Southampton Town Board members will hold a public hearing next week on a change of zone application that, if approved, would allow the construction of a new shopping center along County Road 39 in Tuckahoe.
The hearing on the proposed Tuckahoe Center is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 24, at Town Hall and expected to draw a large crowd. The meeting comes less than two months after the Suffolk County Planning Commission reversed course and endorsed the proposed change of zone, meaning that only a simple majority of the Town Board is required to approve the plans filed by developer Robert Morrow.
Previously, Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the board would not be voting on the application at Tuesday’s hearing even though it is allowed to do so.
The application seeks to alter the zoning on three adjoining properties, totaling 7.26 acres and situated along the southeastern side of County Road 39, from highway business to shopping center business zoning. The change is needed to permit the proposed construction of a 38,000-square-foot supermarket and an additional 14,500 square feet of commercial space in three additional buildings on the property.
It is unclear which Town Board members support the project, as they have not yet discussed the center as a group, according to Mr. Schneiderman. When pressed, he said he still has not made up his mind.
“I don’t like to go into a public hearing with my mind made up; otherwise there’s really no point in having a public hearing,” he said. “I remain open to hearing what the public has to say and I’ll take those comments and do some additional research and, ultimately, render a decision from my perspective on whether it’s worthy of a zone change.”
Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera, who stated she was opposed to the supermarket plans when she ran for reelection in 2015, said this week that she still has concerns about the proposal—issues that, she says, have not been thoroughly addressed by the applicant.
“Nothing has changed my position so far,” Ms. Scalera said. “I was not supportive of it at the time and I have not seen anything that has belayed my concerns at this point. As always I remain deliberative, so I will listen to the public and we’ll take it from there.”
The application recently gained the approval of the Suffolk County Planning Commission, which voted in favor of the zoning change 9-6 in spite of a plea to reject the application from Barbara Roberts, a longtime Sag Harbor resident who immediately resigned from the commission after last month’s vote. A rejection by the commission would have required that four out of the five Town Board members, known as a supermajority, approve Mr. Morrow’s application.
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