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Preliminary public hearing set to discuss Heritage at Cutchogue

The Southold Town Planning Board has set a preliminary public hearing to discuss The Heritage at Cutchogue, a proposed 55-and-over community development.

After Monday’s Planning Board work session, town planning director Heather Lanza confirmed developer Jeffrey Rimland has agreed to reduce the number of housing units from 130 to 124 and reconfigure the development’s roadway loops.

“They’ve given us everything we’ve asked for,” she said. “[The site plan] matches up with the sketch plan we looked at back in April.”

Chris Nicolia, an associate at Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman in Hauppauge, attended the meeting on behalf of the applicant’s attorney, John Wagner. Mr. Nicolia told the Planning Board he was directed to “observe, take notes and not respond to comments.” Ms. Lanza then said a preliminary public hearing is scheduled for Aug. 31 and the earliest date the main public hearing could be held would be in November.

The development is proposed for a nearly 46-acre wooded lot on Schoolhouse Road located off Main Road in Cutchogue. The plan includes a community center, outdoor swimming pool and tennis court.

The latest revision comes nearly a year after the developer and town reached an agreement following a 2009 lawsuit that Mr. Rimland filed in state Supreme Court against the town. In his lawsuit, Mr. Rimland claimed the town “acted with malice” to hinder the development by trying to change the land’s zoning. He had sought $38 million from the town in damages and another $40 million from individual elected officials named in the suit.

Supervisor Scott Russell that before code requirements for the property were changed, the owner could have built up to 164 units on the site without having to provide any open space. The town’s action in changing the code was a response to residents’ opposition to the original 2005 project proposal, which called for 139 housing units.

Under the terms of the settlement made in September, the town agreed it wouldn’t change the property’s zoning or allowable uses until the proposal goes through the site plan evaluation process. In addition, Mr. Rimland agreed to reduce the number of housing units and designate a portion of the parcel as open space.

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