The Southold Town Zoning Board of Appeals has ruled that Sports East does not meet the town code definition of an annual membership club, a significant blow to the chances the Mattituck athletic facility will ever be built.
During Thursday morning’s ZBA meeting at Town Hall, board president Leslie Kanes Weisman said the proposal falls into the category of “recreational facility commercial,” more so than the “club membership or country or golf” designation the developers were seeking, since the proposed indoor facilities encompasses more of the property than outdoor fields. The ruling prevents the current plan from being developed under the existing zoning on the Main Road property.
According to the code, such a club membership must have a “principal purpose of engaging in outdoor sports.” The ZBA’s decision states that Sports East does not meet that definition.
The ruling was unanimous without discussion after Ms. Weisman read a six-page findings statement, which will be available on the town’s website Friday.
While the ZBA decision halts the Planning Board process for the proposed athletic complex, Ms. Weisman said the developers still have options, including submitting an amended application that is more in line with the club membership definition or, she added, they may seek a change of zone request.
The proposal has drawn both widespread public support and some pointed criticism from neighbors and community leaders. However, the majority of residents who’ve addressed the ZBA and Planning Board have overwhelmingly expressed their support for Sports East, which was first proposed last December.
The proposal calls for a state-of-the-art 140,000-square-foot indoor space for a gym, indoor and outdoor turf fields and tennis courts, and an indoor pool, among other amenities, at a wooded parcel on the south side of Main Road, just west of Sigsbee Road.
Photo Caption: ZBA president Leslie Kanes Weisman reading from findings statement for the Sports East application Thursday. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)