Speak out on saving Southold’s ‘character’

TIM KELLY PHOTO | Sunrise lights up the beach at Orient Harbor

Tonight, June 30, Southold residents will get a chance to weigh in on what’s so important about the character of the community they call home.

Town officials will be taking comment on the second chapter of the town’s new comprehensive plan at the town Recreation Center on Peconic Lane in Peconic beginning at 5 p.m.

The draft chapter, available on the town’s website and at local libraries, documents the town’s history and how it shaped the landscape of the town today.

“The bucolic quality of the town is anchored by the scenic quality, culture and history of the built environment, landscapes and waterscapes. The importance of preserving these qualities is paramount in maintaining the quality of life within the town,” planners wrote in an introduction to the chapter.

The chapter lists the town’s scenic quality, including the vistas along the state-designated scenic byways of Routes 25 and 48 as one of Southold’s most important economic and social assets. Planners would like to hold community meetings to identify and prioritize more scenic resources by 2013, and then develop plans to manage those resources through the zoning code.

The chapter also calls for a 20 percent reduction in hardened shoreline structures and consideration of implementing Suffolk County guidelines for greenhouses on land where the development rights have been sold, and for more stringent environmental reviews of incompatible structures proposed in scenic byways.

The chapter also calls for more town involvement in the state transportation department’s Adopt-a-Road program and coordination with the county in planting the medians of Route 48 with wildflowers.

The town’s 1,500 regionally important historic buildings are also highlighted in the chapter, which urges the town to give its Historic Preservation Commission more authority to prevent demolition of historic buildings and to delineate new historic districts. It also includes an in-depth assessment of what can be done to strengthen the character of each of the hamlet centers, such as tying together the two shopping districts in Mattituck, developing traffic calming measures in Cutchogue and ensuring that the Southold, East Marion and Orient post office remain in the hamlet centers.

A complete draft of the chapter is available at

A second public input session is scheduled for Tuesday, July 14 at 7 p.m. in the town’s Human Resource Center on Pacific Street in Mattituck.

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