Developer Paul Pawlowski has withdrawn his proposal to build affordable housing above retail stores on Main Road in Mattituck.
Mr. Pawlowski said he contacted the town on Friday about his decision — three days after many residents expressed their opposition to his proposal during a public hearing.
“It’s obvious it will not get the support needed,” he said in an interview Saturday. “It’s very hard for people to see the big picture, so I have to do something that’s within the zoning.”
Mr. Pawlowski, a lifelong Southold Town resident and owner of Cedars Golf Club in Cutchogue, had proposed a mixed-use development across the street from the vacant Capital One building.
He was seeking a change of zone from residential to business in order to proceed with the construction project for the 21-acre wooded lot, which included developing 3.5 acres and donating the remaining 17.5 acres to the town in order to preserve about 85 percent of the land.
“If anyone really looked at the facts, they’d realize it was a good proposition,” Mr. Pawlowski said. “It had everything: preservation, affordable housing and jobs — all in a business corridor and not in a residential area.
“To be honest, I’m actually very surprised it wasn’t supported,” he added.
During Tuesday’s public hearing, Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association president Mary Eisenstein said many members that responded to the civic’s poll said they didn’t support Mr. Pawlowski’s change of zone request.
Specifically, she reported 102 people said they opposed his request and only nine people voted in favor.
When told by a reporter Saturday about Mr. Pawlowski’s decision, Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association president Mary Eisenstein described it as “a testament to the community of Mattituck.”
“The bottom line is people said they had real concerns about the impact of certain projects on their community,” she said. “There was a respect for Mr. Pawlowski as a person — certainly when he came in April to give a presentation to the civic association and handled all 30 questions. He just did a great job and I think people were really informed.”
Ms. Eisenstein, whose group was established in February and currently has over 150 members, said she believes the civic association was successful in vetting Mr. Pawlowski’s proposal.
In addition to inviting Mr. Pawlowski to present his proposal to its members, the civic association invited town planners and officials, as well as environmentalists to discuss land preservation and zoning, among other topics related to development.
“This reinforces how important a civic association is to a community and for the community to articulate what it wants in its community,” she said. “I think that’s where the celebration is.”
Mr. Pawlowski said he purchased the property about a year ago to build affordable housing but later came up with his latest plan after it failed to gain support.
Now that he’s decided to withdraw his second proposal, he said he’s planning to draft something that’s allowable under the current residential zoning.
When asked if he was interested in selling the property, Mr. Pawlowski said “not at this time.”
“I’ll probably now lean toward a major subdivision — unfortunately,” he said.
Photo: Paul Pawlowski. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)