Early on Tuesday, before most shops along Love Lane had opened, business owners, residents and Mattituck Chamber of Commerce members gathered to discuss the possibility of closing down part of Old Sound Avenue to vehicular traffic.
Hosted by the chamber, the meeting was held to allow people to voice any concerns regarding the proposal so that potential problems can be addressed.
“I’m seeing the positive here, of keeping people [staying] longer on Love Lane,” chamber vice president Danielle LaScala said. “Once you go down the block, really, that’s it. There’s no reason to hang out here, there’s no reason to spend time here unless you’re at the vineyard or getting dinner, but that’s different. Maybe we could have music at night and get those longer nights that we were speaking of.”
Ms. LaScala compared the future of Mattituck to other popular villages, like Huntington and Port Jefferson.
Concerns brought up at the meeting included access to parking and storefronts, safety issues and access to large events like weddings and funerals at Church of the Redeemer, located just west on Old Sound Avenue.
“Well, to me it sounds really lovely, but practically speaking, I don’t understand how things would work,” said Kate Altman, owner of Altman’s Needle and Fiber Arts.
Her chief concern was that access to the parking lot behind the shops on the west side of Love Lane, and, thus, her shop, would be hampered.
“Anything that makes it harder to park, to me, is a hindrance,” she said.
The pros seemed to outweigh the cons at this particular meeting, however, as people began brainstorming uses for the additional space. Ideas included adding more parking or making the area, which chamber president Terry McShane described as 140 feet by 35 feet, a space where concerts, farmers’ markets, holiday events and more could be held.
“The idea was to get those cons — we got a few — and I think some were evaded right here, really,” Mr. McShane said. “I have a list of concerns and I’m going to use them, because I think they’re all valid.”
Those concerns will be aired when Mr. McShane meets with the Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association and the Southold Town Board in upcoming months, he said.
“Getting the Love Lane representation and people from the church,” Mr. McShane said. “I think it’s important and a great first step.”
The idea to close part of Old Sound Avenue was introduced some time ago but “died a horrible death” since it was brought up around the time the economy went south, Mr. McShane said. The proposal was revived this past winter, with Supervisor Scott Russell mentioning it during a January chamber event.
“Scott [Russell] didn’t want it to be driven by the town; he wanted it to be driven by the people, if they want it,” Mr. McShane said. “And that’s why we got together with [the business owners], because you are the people.”