Second Plum Island zoning hearing set for August

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | The main animal disease research lab on Plum Island.
TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | The main animal disease research lab on Plum Island.

The public will get a second chance to weigh in on the long-awaited Plum Island zoning proposal.

During its regular session lat Tuesday, the Southold Town Board set a public hearing on a revised version of the proposed regulations for Aug. 13 at 4:30 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room.

To avoid the need for future lot area variances, the amended proposal includes changes to the minimum lot area for the conservation and research districts. The revised proposal reduces the minimum lot area for the research district from 150 acres to 125 acres and trims the minimum lot area for the conservation district from 500 acres to 350 acres.

As outlined in the original draft, the proposed zoning regulations would divide Plum Island into three districts for research, conservation and a Marine District that would encompass the existing ferry facilities.

Since the island is federally owned, it is not currently subject to local planning regulations. Last month, the pressure to zone the island was turned up a notch when the final federal recommendation from the U.S. General Services Administration advised selling the land to a private party and suggested building houses on the property.

The recommendation is in direct conflict to the Town’s island-specific zoning regulations that would prevent the construction of condos, “McMansions” or even a casino if the island is sold, officials said.

The board agreed during last week’s meeting to send the revised proposal to the Suffolk County Planning Commission.

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