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Hearing set to discuss Heritage at Cutchogue’s site plan

Pierce Rafferty

The Southold Town Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing to discuss The Heritage at Cutchogue’s site plan application now that the developer has submitted a complete environmental study of the 124-unit proposal.

Town planner Mark Terry had deemed the 55-and-over community development’s draft environmental study, known as DEIS, as “inadequate for public review” in September and said the report failed to address soil contamination and traffic concerns.

During Monday’s work session, Mr. Terry announced the DEIS is complete since those issues are now addressed in the report. The Planning Board later voted in favor of setting a Jan. 11 public hearing to discuss the proposal’s site plan and a State Environmental Quality Review Act determination, known as SEQRA, for the project.

Town planning director Heather Lanza said after Monday’s meeting that the DEIS will be posted on the town’s website Tuesday morning for public review.

The Planning Board’s decision comes one month after the Suffolk County Planning Commission found The Heritage at Cutchogue’s site plan application was “incomplete” because it didn’t have enough information to determine what the project’s regional impact could be since the town was still reviewing the proposal and the DEIS hadn’t been completed.

The commission has jurisdiction over the proposed site plan because the property is within 500 feet of an agricultural district and state lands. The development has been proposed for a nearly 46-acre wooded lot on Schoolhouse Road off Main Road in Cutchogue and includes a community center, outdoor swimming pool and tennis court.

The latest version of the plan came nearly a year after the developer, Jeffrey Rimland, and the town reached an agreement following a 2009 lawsuit filed by Mr. Rimland that claimed the town “acted with malice” to hinder the development by changing the zoning for the site.

The town has since agreed it wouldn’t change the property’s zoning or allowable uses until the proposal goes through the Planning Board’s evaluation. In addition, Mr. Rimland agreed to reduce the number of housing units and designate a portion of the parcel as open space.

Throughout the review process of the application, residents and environmentalists have said they believe the development would harm nearby waters, as well as the area’s quality of life.

The public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11 at 4:30 p.m.

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Photo: Southold Town Planning Board member Pierce Rafferty (left) and town planner Mark Terry reading a resolution at Monday’s meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)