Planning Board: Site plan approval for McCall; Two public hearings set

McCall Farm Winery in Cutchogue received unanimous site plan approval from the Southold Town Planning Board Monday night, legalizing its existing tasting room and wine storage area in a 170-year-old barn on the Route 25 property. Town code requires most commercial operations to have an approved site plan.

Owner Russ McCall, who has run a small tasting room in the barn since shortly after the first McCall vintage was produced in 2007, said that the approval would legalize the use of the 724-square-foot section of the barn as a tasting room.

“That’s something that everyone out there hasn’t done. A lot of people are operating in old farm buildings,” Mr. McCall said, adding that he wouldn’t have needed site plan approval to build a farm stand and sell vegetables on his farm, but since he produces wine, he needs approval from agencies ranging from the New York State Department of Transportation to the Suffolk County Department of Health in order to sell his products.

Mr. McCall said he wanted to make sure his winery was operating in accordance with the law, especially because he is partners with the Peconic Land Trust in preserving the Downs Farm Preserve, adjacent to his property.

He said that, under the terms of the Planning Board’s approval, he will need to install curb cuts and make minor changes to the entrance to his property before the winery opens for the season in April.

Also on Monday, the Planning Board discussed a proposed sign at a house on the northeast corner of Depot Lane in Cutchogue that was recently converted to professional offices.

Owen Construction, which is building the conversion, submitted plans for the sign, showing it atop a 30-inch-wide stone pedestal. Planning Board members found it too massive compared to the muted wooden signage in the rest of the neighborhood. The application was tabled because no one from Owen Construction appeared to address the board. Planning Board members suggested that the applicants bring a three-dimensional mock-up of the sign to a future meeting to give the board an idea of what is being proposed.

The Planning Board set two public hearings for its April 11 session, which begins at 6 p.m..

The first will concern a site plan application to change the use of three accessory barns at Indian Neck Farm from residential accessory structures to primary agricultural structures, allowing the property owners to stable horses in the buildings. The plan also calls for a 1,243-square-foot apartment on the second floor of one of the barns for up to three grooms.

The second public hearing will address a proposed two-lot subdivision at 1720 Hobart Road in Southold. The 2.32-acre lot, owned by Joseph and Heidi Battaglia, would be divided into one 43,213-square-foot lot and one 57,809-square-foot lot.

The board also discussed the proposed subdivision of 7.725 acres at Conkling Point Estates, on the west side of Kerwin Boulevard in Greenport. The subdivision would include four building lots and an open space parcel of 4.1 acres, excluding wetlands.

The applicants had suggested that organic farmers might be willing to farm the open space, but Planning Board members feared that the open space acreage, which is at a maximum elevation of six feet above sea level, is prone to flooding. The application was tabled.

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