Study lags as Mattituck builds

Route 25 in Mattituck is a bustle of construction from one end to the other.

Two banks have begun work on branches along the southern stretch between the Love Lane curve and the Waldbaum’s shopping center and repairs have begun at the former North Fork Grill, where a weathered sign announcing that a restaurant called Tony’s Asian Fusion would open soon has finally lived up to its promise.

A proposed 7-Eleven at the corner of Route 25 and Factory Avenue is also close to the end of the planning process, though the town planning department has not yet approved it.

The fast pace of development in the Mattituck corridor, which prompted a failed push for a building moratorium this past spring, has not let up even as the town continues with a comprehensive planning study of the hamlet’s business corridor.

The study, being prepared by the Melville consulting firm of Nelson, Pope and Voorhis, is about halfway complete, Southold planning director Heather Lanza said last week.

The study differs from a previous hamlet study finalized in 2007, which focused on comments and suggestions from people concerned primarily with the hamlet center.

“It wasn’t meant to be a corridor study,” said Ms. Lanza of the hamlet study, which explored ways to provide a cohesive center to a hamlet whose business district stretches out along a broad swath of Route 25.

“The hamlet stakeholders weren’t going to gather data on every parcel. It was a more subjective, ‘What do you want to see in your hamlet?’ approach,” she said.

The corridor study begins at the Long Island Rail Road bridge to the west, on the outskirts of Laurel, and extends to just east of Love Lane.

The melange of uses and zoning designations throughout the corridor is illustrated by the case of Chase Bank, which got approval in May to build a 4,200-square-foot branch on a 2.8-acre site across from Waldbaum’s. The lot had two zoning designations — business and residential — and the bank subdivided the property as the proposal went through the site plan process, with the bank on the business side and a vacant lot on the residential side.

Farther east on Route 25, a new Hudson City Savings Bank branch is nearly complete, and contractors are beginning work on a second medical office building that is included in Hudson City’s site plan.

The most controversial of the current projects is the proposed 7-Eleven at the site of the old Citgo station, but that project conforms more closely to the property’s current zoning than the gas station did. Its builder received a variance for a special exception use in 1969. The owner of the property, George Abi Zied of Deer Park, plans to build a 685-square-foot addition to the front of the gas station building and remove the pumps and canopy as part of the renovation. The 7-Eleven is proposed to have 23 parking spaces.

The town is awaiting a final report from Allee King Rosen and Fleming, an independent traffic consulting firm that is reviewing a report prepared by 7-Eleven’s traffic consultants. The New York State Department of Transportation has been supportive of the 7-Eleven plan, which would eliminate an access road from Route 25 that is too close to the traffic light and would provide cross-access from the Waldbaum’s shopping center parking lot.

The DOT recently agreed to eliminate right turns on red onto Factory Avenue at the light and 7-Eleven has agreed to not accept deliveries via its curbcut Factory Avenue.

“That’s just taken a long time,” said Ms. Lanza of the 7-Eleven application for site plan approval. “It’s now in the final stage. We will get comments from them and then the Planning Board will take a last look at the project. It’s not on their agenda yet.”

Zoning changes that may be proposed as part of the corridor study will have to wait untilthe town’s comprehensive plan is adopted. It is expected to be completed next year.

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