Neighbors of Satur Farms on Alvah’s Lane in Cutchogue are still hopping mad about large refrigerator trucks belonging to the farm that are left idling at the property day and night.
They’ve been sending letters and approaching Town Board members to do something about issues that were to have been addressed by a site plan for a new barn recently approved by the Town Planning Board.
The problem is, that barn hasn’t been built yet, Southold planning director Heather Lanza told the Town Board during its Tuesday morning work session.
“How much of this is an agricultural operation, how much is a shipping operation?” asked Supervisor Scott Russell. “Is it a permitted use as accessory or is it the principal use? … This is a slippery slope. Under the umbrella of agriculture, a lot is allowed.”
The Planning Board was satisfied that enough planting of crops was taking place to consider the shipment of vegetables an ancillary use. The site plan the board approved required the trucks to be placed inside the barn, where they would plug into electrical outlets to keep their refrigeration working instead of idling around the clock. The approved site plan also requires hosing down dirt roads to keep dust under control.
Neighbors have voiced displeasure about trucks they say are left idling on the side of the road, where produce is loaded and unloaded on public property. Satur Farms has another farm in Florida that supplies vegetables in the winter.
John Lademann, who lives across the street from Satur Farms, referred to the property as a trucking depot, not a farm.
“Some trucks are running all night,” he said. “The drivers are sleeping in their truck on the side of the road. Something’s gotta give. We’re putting signs up. The next thing is a petition.”
Mr. Russell said the town plans to issue citations to trucks that conduct business on the town road, and is discussing with counsel how to get the farm to comply with its site plan.
“I don’t blame any of the people who live down there,” said Councilman Chris Talbot. “I wouldn’t want that next to me.”
WINERY USE QUESTIONED
Another agricultural operation, Sherwood House Vineyard on Elijah’s Lane in Cutchogue, has also come under fire from officials.
Ray Huntington of the town’s land preservation committee told the Town Board Tuesday that he was concerned Sherwood House Vineyard was operating a wine-tasting area on land that had been preserved through the sale of development rights to the town.
“We want to make sure easements maintain their integrity,” he said. “We need to enforce them with more vigor.”
Board members said the matter is currently being heard in state Supreme Court. Sherwood House is also set to appear before the Planning Board next Monday evening for a public hearing on a site plan application for an outdoor wine tasting area on a patio adjacent to their winery.
BRING YOUR OWN BAG
The recent audit of a local supermarket revealed that Southold Town needs to charge tax on town lawn and leaf bags, which are sold at a dozen vendors throughout town.
Unlike the yellow town garbage bags, which are required, the state does not allow a tax exemption for the paper lawn and leaf bags emblazoned with the town seal.
To avoid the headaches associated with having to file sales tax receipts, board members agreed Tuesday to halt the sale of the paper bags once the existing inventory of 13,000 bags is depleted. Residents will still be required to put their leaves in biodegradable bags, which are available commercially at local hardware stores and other outlets, but were never required to use bags carrying the town seal.
“People had the misunderstanding that they need them,” said Mr. Russell.
SCREENED SAND BLOWS AWAY
Southold spent $50,000 on screened sand to build up a dune at the edge of Town Beach during the recent rehabilitation project there, and although the Federal Emergency Management Agency will likely reimburse the town for it, Town Board members are worried that the sand might be too fine to keep from blowing away.
“It’s got a lifespan of about three weeks on that beach,” Supervisor Russell said.
Most of the sand used to replenish Town Beach was donated by Cross Sound Ferry, which had recently dredged the waters near its dock in Orient.
“It’s heavier than bay sand. It’s gritty sand. But you’ve already seen, some of it has already blown into the parking lot,” public works director Jim McMahon. “We’re going to lose some of it, but we basically ran out of free material.”
Although Mr. McMahon was quick to point out that Southold taxpayers will not be footing the bill, some board members were skeptical.
“Even from FEMA, it’s still taxpayer money,” said Justice Louisa Evans.