Town may consider rezoning church properties

Sacred Heart Church in Cutchogue. (Credit: file photo)

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell hopes to establish “appropriate” uses for two churches that are moving toward being sold, leaving an uncertain future for the historic sites.

During the Town Board’s work session Tuesday morning, Mr. Russell said several congregations in the area are experiencing a decrease in membership, prompting many to consolidate. Sacred Heart Church in Cutchogue, which held its last Mass in January 2013, and a second undisclosed church property would likely be sold soon, putting the future of those historic sites in question, he said.

“This is a problem in Southold,” the supervisor said. “We have a lot of churches in town. All of them have a certain historic component. We need to think of a game plan. The last thing we want to see is people buying them and razing them.”

A solution might come in the form of new zoning for the properties. Board members threw out ideas for adaptive reuse for the sites, including zoning church properties for residential housing.

Ultimately, the board requested the Planning Board address the issue at a future meeting and provide feedback to the Town Board before any action is taken.

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