Update: Site plans for Waterfront Fund, Blue Inn pass unanimously

The former Galley Ho restaurant in New Suffolk. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)
The former Galley Ho restaurant in New Suffolk. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Update: The Southold Town Planning Board unanimously granted site plan approvals for the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund and the Blue Inn at a special meeting Monday.

Both applications had been met with resistance from residents within their respective communities.

The East Marion inn’s owner had actually filed for a site plan amendment, since he was being restricted to serving only motel guests in the building’s restaurants.

He will now be able to serve the general public.

Outside guests will now be allowed to dine at the Blue Inn in East Marion. (Credit: Cyndi Murray, file)
Outside guests will now be allowed to dine at the Blue Inn in East Marion. (Credit: Cyndi Murray, file)

Neighbors who had come out against the measure in June contended an approval would lead to increased traffic on their quiet streets.

The latest revised site plan for the motel included additional signs for traffic, among those were exit-only signs at the road leading from the property to Main Road, as well as restaurant parking signs, and additional parking signs for near a motel pool. 

And with its plans approved in New Suffolk, the nonprofit Waterfront Fund will be relocating and renovating the old Galley Ho building to establish an up to 66-seat restaurant in the structure, which after a small addition would total 1,725 square feet.

An existing barn on the property is being removed.

After the vote, Planning Board chairman Donald Wilcenski said he hoped the Waterfront Fund might agree in the future to work with the town to give up some of its land to add additional parking along First Street, which has had parking problems.

He told fund representatives that helping on parking would be “for the good of the New Suffolk community.”

“We have every expectation to help,” said Barbara Schnitzler, a former Waterfront Fund chairwoman who’s been involved in planning efforts for the project.

Interviewed outside the Town Hall Annex meeting room, where the special meeting was held, the Waterfront Fund officials said they hoped to get their building permits in time to start work before winter.

“It depends when the winter decides to come,” said Waterfront Fund chairwoman Pat McIntyre.

“The town has been very diligent” in its review process, she remarked.

Reached by email Monday night, one outspoken local critic of the development plans on the waterfront, George Cork Maul, said it was “wrong for a nonprofit organization to solicit money from the community for preservation and then use the money to build a restaurant.”

“The Galley Ho was always a dive bar and the real historic building on that property is the barn which is being removed,” Mr. Maul said

Earlier story: Two proposals that have been before the Southold Town Planning Board — one in New Suffolk and another in East Marion — that critics have contended will change the face of their separate hamlets are up for approvals this afternoon.

On the Planning Board’s agenda for a 4 p.m. special meeting are site plan determinations for the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund’s plan to relocate and renovate the old Galley Ho building, and the Blue Inn’s proposal to be able to serve non-motel guests.

The inn’s owner is seeking to amend its approved site plan, which has restricted the eatery to serving only hotel guests. Neighbors who have come out against the plan contend an approval would lead to increased traffic on their quiet streets, among other complaints.

Meanwhile, opponents of the nonprofit New Suffolk Waterfront Fund’s application for its property complained earlier this year that it would exacerbate parking problems along First Street, and destroy the unique charm and scenic waterfront the diminutive community is known for.

They also raised transparency questions on the count of the fund group, and water quality concerns.

Several meetings have been held in New Suffolk since a large showing of people at a Planning Board meeting in June, during which a divided hamlet, with people for and against the plans, was on full display.

Concerned neighbors in East Marion packed that same meeting.

Last month, town planners indicated to New Suffolk Waterfront Fund officials that they would vote on the site plan application, which had been tweaked since June, as soon as the group received its necessary town and state permits. The plan also calls for a new septic system and other, more aesthetic additions. The existing barn on the property, which is between First Street and the bay, is being moved off-site. No one who’s been opposed to the project was at last month’s work session, which contains little opportunities for public input or comment.

Monday’s special meeting is at 4 p.m. in the Planning Board meeting room in the Town Hall annex atop the Capital One bank branch at 54375 Main Road, at the corner of Main Road and Youngs Avenue in Southold. The two applications, along with others, will also be reviewed and discussed at a 2:30 p.m. work session at that same location.

Click here for the full work session agenda.

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