Reindeer In A Row - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1837454

Reindeer In A Row

Getting a jump on Christmas, Jay Schneiderman has already wrapped up his gifts for his favorite developers.

While pontificating, and making empty gestures to address traffic on County Road 39, on November 9, at his prompting, two traffic-generating “special exceptions” were added to uses permitted in LI-40 zoning.

The first “special exception” — to insert “physical fitness facilities” into uses permitted on the highway — continues his gift-giving, using taxpayer money, to the much maligned “pool for children” project, which he lifted out of Red Creek and plunked down in Tuckahoe. In the process, the “pool” has morphed into a sprawling, two-story barracks building, embedded in asphalt, with 160 parking spaces, that is in reality a sports complex with space for “meetings and special events” (but not towels, the promoters assure everyone).

This follows his previous gift of a $4.9 million parcel of land purchased with the Community Preservation Fund (i.e.: your money) for “open space” and given free to STAR Aquatic.

Forget that zoning law, as well as intent, discourages the proliferation of “special exception uses,” Schneiderman has never required one iota of accounting from STAR to establish their tax status, financials, donations or monies in place for the building of this “pool.”

An oddly worded clause in the resolution sounds more like a directive than an inquiry: “The Planning Board shall consider the existing traffic and pedestrian circulation, and make findings that they will not be negatively impacted and or interrupted by the proposed development.” If the planning staff and Planning Board’s robotic and superficial previous efforts are any judge, they will do just as dictated here.

The second pre-Christmas gift adds “self-service storage facilities” to highway uses and quotes from the 1999 Comprehensive Plan. It stresses “design” (gable, gambrel and hip roofs shall be encouraged …) without “compromising what makes Southampton a special place.” Traffic is dismissed. Not a concern

Mr. Schneiderman is getting his reindeer in a row. Who is the lucky developer who might benefit from this new self-storage special exception use? Given that Mr. Schneiderman did not bother to include a road that cuts across the acreage that he purchased with CPF money from the developer of the defunct mall project but allowed him to keep it — like selling a house but retaining ownership/use of the driveway — well, it is anyone’s guess.

Both of these prepackaged special exception gifts are scheduled for public hearings on Tuesday, December 14, at 1 p.m. (That’s traditional; Ho-Ho-HO!) They will be Zoom only. Schneiderman is keeping the doors closed and the public out until 2022.

If you are lucky, you might be able to participate. It is essential for the public to do so.

Frances Genovese