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Public can weigh in on Southold Town’s winery amendment next month

11/13/2017 6:00 AM |

The Southold Town Board set a public hearing on a code change that would further define what requirement a winery in town has to meet.

The suggested language includes defining a winery as a place where wine is “produced, processed and sold” and calls for 80 percent of the wineries’ grapes to be grown on the premises or other land owned by the winery owner.

The minimum 10-acre rule for a winery still applies in the proposed amendment, but is narrowed from those acres being devoted to “vineyard or other agricultural purposes” to, instead, “the growing of wine grapes,” according to the local law the public can weigh in on Dec. 5.

Those 10 acres are to be “in addition to any land where structures are to be built and should not be included in calculations as to whether the lot size conforms to the bulk schedule for the proposed use or uses on the parcel,” according to the proposed code amendment. In addition, it is proposed that 20 percent of wine sold at a winery may be from other Long Island wineries.

Newly re-elected Town Board member James Dinizio raised a questions at Tuesday’s work session about standards wineries should be held to and said he’d like a discussion on whether requirements for an appellation, which notes a legally defined viticultural area and has a set of conditions to achieve, could help shape the code. He said he preferred wineries to be more limited in residential areas.

“They have to be set a standard and that’s going to limit them to what they can actually achieve,” Mr. Dinizio said. “We have people before the zoning board and planning board doing things that we never dreamt.”

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said he would not be comfortable organizing the code around designations the town hasn’t defined, but said a discussion could happen.

PROPOSAL ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The Southold Town Board set a Dec. 5 public hearing on a proposed local law to amend the zoning code that intends to increase affordable housing options, and increase compliance with regulations and grant funding availability.

The proposed change calls for up to six residential rental units within the hamlet locus, or HALO zone, according to the resolution to set the public hearing. Tenants must be “moderate-income individuals” and work or reside in Southold Town at the time they take possession of a unit and be registered in the town’s housing registry.

Permission to convert an existing space to rental housing would be granted through a special exception from the Zoning Board of Appeals, according to the proposed amendment. Property owners must commit to at least eight years of offering the units they are permitted to create.

In addition, each unit would be required to have at least one parking space and be subject to all town and Suffolk County building and septic specifications.

Mr. Russell said it would be a way to allow for “more permissive zoning” for affordable housing in now.

“If we’re going to start trying to solve these problems, we can’t not legislate,” he said.

He added, “I don’t envision any single program is going to solve our problem. We’re making changes here, making changes there.”

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT

Southold Town’s $50,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for 2018 will go toward local groups that help those in need, as well as to improvements at the town’s recreation and community centers.

The Town Board approved a resolution Tuesday night to award $5,000 each for Community Action Southold Town and Maureen’s Haven. The remaining $40,000 will be used to upgrade entrances and parking at the recreation and community centers and fit with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The Butterfly Effect Project requested financial assistance during a public hearing last month on the block grant along with CAST and Maureen’s Haven in hopes of expanding its mentoring and empowerment program for girls to Southold, but did not receive funds.

During Tuesday morning’s Town Board work session, human services director Karen McLaughlin acknowledged the organization’s request and said the it should be considered in the following year’s block grant funding. In the meantime, the town can offer space and the community center for its activities, she said.

“I think it’s an incredibly worthwhile project,” Ms. McLaughlin said. She said she will reach out to the organization to find ways to work together locally.

“We just don’t want to say, ‘Well, come back next year,’ ” she said.

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