Tuckers uncertain about corridor study recommendations

03/16/2011 3:45 PM |

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Town Clerk Betty Neville, town board members Chris Talbot and Louisa Evans and Town Supervisor Scott Russell listen to comments from the public at Tuesday's forum.

Mattituck residents had mixed reactions to a recently released study of the business corridor when more than 60 turned out for a forum on the town-sponsored study at the Southold Town Human Resources Center in Mattituck Tuesday night.

Some praised the plan’s call for more uses to be allowed at industrial properties in the Love Lane area near the Long Island Rail Road tracks. Others said a few of its ideas, such as allowing another building at Mattituck Plaza shopping center close to the street, were half-baked.

“Most people here would laugh at you if you said there was plenty of room in that parking lot” for another building in the Plaza, said Michael Burke. “Somebody’s plan of putting a building in the middle of this thing just doesn’t seem to cut it with me.”

Gail Wickham said that she and her neighbors who own property on the west end of the corridor study area are baffled that the study suggests limiting retail and restaurant uses in the business district.

“I find it somewhat unfair and mystifying that you’re stripping away valuable property rights from some areas,” she said. That section of the corridor would be an ideal place for more retail and restaurant uses, she said, citing its large lots that can accommodate sanitary fields and parking, and its position between a major road and a railroad line.

Jack McGreevy asked why the planners who prepared the study hadn’t considered making Love Lane a one-way street.
Town Supervisor Scott Russell said that federal law requires that a post office must be on a two-way street, and that the Mattituck post office, in a rented space on Love Lane, would have to move if the street became one-way.

The study was prepared for the town by the consulting firm of Nelson, Pope & Voorhis. Mr. Russell said that the town plans to hold several more community forums for the public to discuss the corridor study.

He and Planning Director Heather Lanza said that the town would not act right away on recommendations in the plan for zoning changes, but will probably fold any proposals into an updated comprehensive plan for the town that is currently being prepared.
Some ideas, such as developing design guidelines for new construction in historic sections of the hamlet and seeking grant money for infrastructure improvements, will be implemented in the short term, they said.

Real estate agent Tom McCarthy of Southold, who owns some vacant properties in a light industrial area of Mattituck that the study recommends be rezoned to allow limited retail use, urged the board to act on the idea.

“The sooner we can get that done, the better,” he said. “I’ve got the opportunity to lease some of the space now.”

Of particular concern to many people who attended the forum was the heavy truck traffic that uses Factory Avenue to reach the Waldbaum’s supermarket at the Plaza. The study estimated that 1,000 vehicles use Factory Avenue each day, though residents said that figure was from 2009 and the number had gone up since then.

Leroy Heyliger, who is the deacon at Unity Baptist Church on Factory Avenue, said that a 52-foot-long truck recently blocked traffic for 45 minutes while the driver tried to position it at the loading dock behind Waldbaum’s. He said the incident was not unusual.

“School buses couldn’t get through,” he said. “When that loading dock was put there it was for box trucks, not 52-footers.”

Mr. Russell said that the town plans to meet with the regional manager of Waldbaum’s in the upcoming weeks in an attempt to get the store to notify its vendors to park elsewhere on the Mattituck Plaza site.

Barry Barth, who owns Barth’s Pharmacy on Love Lane, said that he hoped the town would “keep in mind the quality of life on Love Lane.”

“It’s phenomenal how beautiful that street is and it needs to be maintained,” he said. “I also own Barth’s Drug Store on Main Street in Riverhead. I know firsthand what no planning did to Riverhead. There are now about three viable businesses on Main Street.”

Mr. Barth urged Southold Town to have the courage to say no to big box stores.

The Southold town code prohibits stores that are larger than 8,000 square feet, with the exception of existing grocery stores.
Marie Dominici urged the board to “just say no to corporate America.”

“We want to keep local people employed. If we have to compete with corporate America, it’s going to put a lot of people out of work,” she said.

A high school student named Nicole told the crowd that Mattituck needs more recreational facilities for youth.

Mr. Russell agreed. “Peconic has become the de facto recreational hub” even though “it’s equally inconvenient for everyone,” said Mr. Russell. He added that zoning allowed for a metal smelting plant, but doesn’t allow for a laser tag facility for youth. He said that one of the goals of the upcoming comprehensive plan will be to expand the types of businesses allowed under the town code.
Mike Avella, who owns Love Lane Kitchen, urged the board to provide better signs directing motorists to the municipal parking lots surrounding Love Lane.

“Love Lane is a small block. It can get pretty busy. There are parking problems,” he said, adding that many people don’t even know that the parking lots are there.

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10 Comment

  • The consultant who created the Mattituck Business Corridor Study made some good, and made
    some bad, suggestions. The problem is that the Town Board held a public hearing to prioritize
    the suggestions without adequately reviewing them and without adequately informing the public
    of which suggestions it is proposing to implement.

    Southold Town needs a responsible plan. I am trying as hard as I can to be hopeful. But the reality
    is not encouraging. Obviously we have outlived past plans. The first stage of the current plans,
    the Hamlet Studies, started off badly and has obviously been abandoned. The Mattituck Business
    Corridor Study is not yet a plan. The Town Board is saying that the Business Corridor Study will
    become part of the Comprehensive Plan. It sounds like back to the back burner for Mattituck.

  • Benja, your comments seem a bit simplistic and lack a general understanding of the process. The study was presented to the community of Mattituck for the very purpose getting input so that the board can determine priorities and to determine what recommendations are “good’ and which are “bad”. You clearly have a strident view of that, however, planning is a community concept and people may differ on what is good and what is bad. Other then your comments that night which were not pertinent to the issue and bizzarre, even for you, the discussion was civil and thoughtful. The Board also outlined proposals that we considered short-term and proposals that we consider long- term. At no time did the Board say the the study will become part of the Comprehensive Plan. Some measures will be acted on quickly and, in fact, are being acted on already. Others, like zoning changes and land use proposals, will need to be folded into the Comprehensive Plan. The good and the bad, as you say, need to be weighed by the very community the plan is meant to address.

  • Thank you Scott for the clarifications of your intentions. But you still miss my main point.

    Southold will not have a truly comprehensive plan until we learn to respect each other and work together. I give you credit for trying, but you can not do it alone.

    Holding meetings at which you accept input which is in agreement with you and you dismiss and attack those who disagree with you is disrespectful.

    Your own understanding of the process is obviously weak. Your efforts will be too little too late unless you let go of your ego and get real.

    Please remember you work for Southold Town. Southold Town does not work for you.

  • I would invite you or anyone that wishes to view the meeting and I think that they will reach the same conclusion that many of the people who attended did-great meeting. I would also encourage you to keep in mind that the Board, and I were receptive to all comments made that night. That has been the hallmark of this Board-to listen. I do not remember attacking anyone. In fact, the whole room and I were quite polite while you invoked discussion on Mattituck oysters, Mattituck lobsters and a host of other things that one would not find in the business corridor study. Speaking just to be heard is not really public input. Rather, it is a need simply a need to be heard. That is fine and I will still stand ready to listen.

  • Scott, Thank you for the invitation to view the meeting on your website. Now can you explain why your administration is denying me my right to a copy of the videos of the Town Board Meetings?

    My point at the Mattituck meeting was that there are crucial omissions from the study, Now you are accusing me of talking to myself when I raised a few of those issues.

    Listening is important. You give me the impression that you think you have all the answers. Please grow up. Next time you do not understand please ask for clarification.

  • only 60 showed up—–probably the only “true” north forkeys left. consulting firm!? was this cardinales idea. who brought in the firm? “keep the quality of life of love lane” that quality of life no longer exists. it is as dead as the L.I. potato farms traveled thru and written about in TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY by john steinbeck. lets raise our wine glass and toast to “corporate america”. WAKE UP!!! —CONTROLLED DEMOCRACY IS FACISM.( you are all grown up chris)

  • i applaud you. even people of the community with” bizzare and (non) pertinent to the issue(S) comments” should be heard. i am glad to hear that from a “republican’.(thou to me personally both parties hold no distinct difference) we still have the freedom of speech. even so i agree(and i am sure many say this of me in my hometown) some peoples comments may inconvenience us or make us very irritable—very uncomfortable in our own skin. but because you allow this individual to speak(seems to me he probably lends a sense of comic relief actually to the whole mix)-(i know we have a few at our council meetings(that includes myself)) you are assuring your right to speak alond again tomorrow. oh!? while i have your attention . dont let cardinale corrupt you. you are probably north forks last hope. carry on comrade…….peace.

  • i beg to differ now scott…………..perhaps you were with the cardinales all along. could you be a sheep in wolfs clothing preying on the north fork. peace. (i guess you really have to look at all the pieces of the puzzle—research it to the core!

  • denying a citizen copies of town board meeting videos. (are you on to something too BENJA ) what happen to the freedom of information act. (i do realize some “republicans” across the board are trying to eradicate this right ) i just applauded scott for graciously allowing “bizarre” and “inpertinent” (isnt that a matter of perception anyway) comments in his presence. that maybe it may assure him the ability to talk aloud himself.( but if he is)………lets not forget “doublespeak”. lets” counteract 1984 with 1776—-alex jones. peace.

  • you are the north forks demise……………again i stand corrected.