I am quite disturbed by a recent article in your paper concerning the expansion of the commercial brick building shopping center in Cutchogue owned by Al Terp Jr. (“Expanded shops in Cutchogue,” April 7).
While Southold Town considers an overhaul of its housing code to encourage developers to build more affordable housing on the North Fork, the town’s Housing Advisory Committee brought a few, smaller code recommendations to the Town Board’s attention Tuesday, including easing restrictions on housing next to farmland and lowering the minimum floor space required. READ
A proposal for a mixed-use development featuring retail space and affordable apartments in Mattituck came and went this year. But weeks after that proposal was abandoned, a team of investors — including local developer Paul Pawlowski, the lead on the apartments project — have pitched a new idea for Main Road: a state-of-the-art private sports club. READ
When it comes to parking near Love Lane, Southold Town planning board chairman Donald Wilcenski said the board is drawing a “line in the sand.” READ
Standing at the podium before the Southold Town Board, Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association president Mary Eisenstein said dozens from her organization had responded to a poll about a controversial proposed mixed-use development on Main Road in Mattituck. READ
The North Fork used to be the quiet, sleepy neighbor of the Hamptons. Unfortunately, that is no longer true.
After developer Paul Pawlowski expressed frustration that the Southold Town Board wasn’t moving quickly to approve a change of zone that would pave the way for his proposed retail and apartment complex on Main Road in Mattituck, board members were expected Tuesday night to set a public hearing on the plan for 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 22.
Seven years after the Town Board said no, the Hess Corporation is seeking to drum up support within the business community for its plans to redevelop its Mattituck gas station to include a 24-hour convenience store.
The corporation, which sued the Town Board after it voted in 2003 against a change of zone to allow for the store, took its case to a seemingly skeptical Mattituck Chamber of Commerce Tuesday night. The lawsuit, meanwhile, never went to trial and remains inactive.
A Hess representative told chamber members the property’s zoning must be changed from marine business to general business so Hess can replace the small concrete building, which the company admits is an eyesore. The new building would be a larger structure to accommodate a walk-in retail store. The project would include a canopy over the gas pumps.
During the dinner meeting at the Bayview Inn in South Jamesport, more than one chamber member asked why Hess, one of the world’s largest corporations, couldn’t make property improvements without adding a convenience store.
Hess attorney Eugene DeNicola of Sayville said the company had scaled down the proposed building from 2,480 square feet to 1,660 square feet.
He pointed out that the zone change would be the first of two planning hurdles the project must clear. Within the past few years, the town has lowered the maximum size of gas station convenience stores to 800 square feet, which the attorney said is too small to be profitable, so a variance would be required.
Mr. DeNicola said the company’s lawsuit against the town is currently “on hold. We want to work it out and have something that’s more attractive than what’s there.”
The Hess property was once connected to the boat business behind it but retained the marine zoning after the lot was subdivided. Mr. DeNicola said it made no sense for a gas stationed to be zoned for marine use. The request to the Town Board sought a change to the general business category.
Although the site is about 100 feet from James Creek, the attorney maintained the project “is not an environmental issue, really.” The company also claims that the addition of a convenience store would not increase traffic in the area.
Mr. DeNicola suggested that although Mattituck has several delis and may soon add a 7-Eleven — the Planning Board recently approved the conversion of the old Citgo gas station into one — there is business enough for all.
In 2003, the Town Board heard a different message during the public hearings preceding its vote. Many residents then objected to the increased competition and said a 24-hour store would change the nature of the community. The more recent opposition to a 7-Eleven centered on traffic safety, with little mention of the hours of operation. The 7-Elevens in Cutchogue, Southold and Greenport are open 24 hours a day.
Mr. DeNicola, who was accompanied by a Hess engineer and a permit manager, faced criticism because Hess has never been a chamber member or supported the organization.
When asked what Hess had done to support the community, Mr. DeNicola said, “We sell gasoline.”
On Hess’s lack of involvement in the chamber, the attorney said, “We’re a little backward about getting into it.”
The Hess representatives said they could not commit to improving the site’s appearance without the town’s okay for the new convenience store.
“You want to spend money, but you want a return on your investment,” said Mr. DeNicola. “It’s a two-way street.”
Controversial plans for 7-Eleven at the corner of Factory Avenue and Route 25 in Mattituck will come up for discussion again before the Town Planning Board next Monday at 4 p.m.
The board’s work session could be the last before it takes the steps necessary to move on to a vote, town planning director Heather Lanza said this week. Any vote would have to come after a final public hearing.
At the last hearing on the proposal more than a year ago, many residents spoke against it, saying it would only make traffic in the area worse and lead to other problems.
The 7-Eleven would occupy the site of a Citgo station that closed several years ago. The owners plan to remove the gas pumps and canopy and build a 685-square-foot addition to the gas station building, roughly doubling its size. If the plan is approved, one of two curb cuts on Route 25, just east of the traffic light at Factory Avenue, would be removed.
The town’s review of the project has been at a standstill since mid-summer, when an independent traffic consulting firm was brought in to analyze a report prepared by 7-Eleven’s traffic consultants. The New York State Department of Transportation has reviewed the project favorably because it eliminates an exit from the property that is too close to the traffic light at Factory Avenue.
The 7-Eleven discussion will come just weeks before the town expects to receive the first draft of a Mattituck corridor study analyzing potential future development in the hamlet.
The corridor study is being prepared by the consulting firm Nelson, Pope and Voorhis. The town commissioned the review even as the board balked at the supervisor’s call for a moratorium on development in Mattituck. The study will examine current and potential land use along Route 25 from the Long Island Rail Road trestle in Laurel to the end of the business district, just east of Mattituck-Laurel Library, as well as a small section of Route 48 zoned for light industrial use.
Ms. Lanza said the study will recommend zoning changes for some individual properties and road access changes along the south side of Route 25 from Four Doors Down east. It will also include several traffic-calming recommendations for the blind curve at Love Lane. The consultants also will recommend a traffic-calming study of the intersection of Route 25 and Factory Avenue.
The town applied for a $2 million grant in 2009 to cover traffic-calming measures and improved pedestrian navigation of the curve at Love Lane, but did not receive it. Ms. Lanza said the town hopes to reapply for the grant the next time it becomes available.
While the corridor study has been in the works, construction in Mattituck has continued. A 4,200-square-foot Chase Bank, for which ground was broken early this summer, is expected to be finished by the end of the year. Farther east on Route 25, work stalled several months ago on construction of a Hudson City Savings Bank branch.
According to bank representatives, Hudson City would be a tenant of that property, owned by Mattituck attorney Dan Mooney. The two-building project, approved by the town’s Planning Board last year, originally was to have included both the bank and a separate medical complex, but only the bank building was constructed before work stopped late this summer. Mr. Mooney could not be reached for comment.