Southold Town looking to zone Plum Island this fall

SUFFOLK TIMES FILE PHOTO | Southold officials are planning to introduce zoning on Plum Island.

As the federal government’s plan to sell Plum Island continues along slowly, Southold Town is hoping to propose zoning for the island by this fall.

There is currently no zoning on the 840-acre island, which is within the town’s jurisdiction. Southold is hoping to prevent subdivisions and residential development on the island by zoning it for a variety of uses similar to ones that are currently there: research facilities, open space, government uses, mariculture, educational institutions, and perhaps alternative energy production.

The federal General Services Administration is the agency responsible for selling the island, but the GSA has not yet completed an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed sale that was expected last fall.

In the meantime, federal funding is in place this year to begin construction of a new bio and agro-defense laboratory in Manhattan, Kan. to replace the aging lab on Plum Island.

Southold Planning Director Heather Lanza said at Thursday’s code committee meeting that the town has been planning to use the GSA’s inventory of existing buildings on the island, which is part of the agency’s environmental impact statement, when drafting the zoning plan, but is unable to yet because the environmental document is not complete.

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