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Planning Board notes: Sports East, Heritage at Cutchogue, Comp Plan

Southold Town Planning Board

The Southold Town Planning Board recommended that the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals hold off its review of a sports facility proposal since an environmental study is also required.

During a Planning Board work session on Monday, town planning director Heather Lanza said she believes the ZBA should wait to conduct its special exception review since those findings will be addressed in the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) study, which is already required.

Sports East LLC partners Paul Pawlowski, Steve Marsh and Joe Slovak are proposing to build an indoor/outdoor sports facility on the same Main Road property in Mattituck where Mr. Pawlowski had previously proposed a mixed-use development and, before that, an affordable rental complex.

This time around, however, Mr. Pawlowski doesn’t need to seek a change of zone from Southold Town because the property’s existing residential zoning allows annual membership clubs with a special exception from the ZBA.

Ms. Lanza said the ZBA’s review process will make a determination that the “health, safety, welfare, comfort, convenience and order of the town won’t be adversely affected.”

The ZBA is also expected to determine if the proposal is accessible to fire and police protection, as well as address traffic concerns, she said.

“All of that is covered in SEQRA,” she said. “They don’t need to make a decision until we’ve gone through the SEQRA analysis.”

Ms. Lanza said the proposed sports facility meets many of the goals listed in the town’s preliminary comprehensive plan, including a demand from residents for a swimming pool, soccer fields and wellness programs. In addition, she said it doesn’t require any variances and “far exceeds” set back requirements.

However, Ms. Lanza stressed a thorough review process is still needed.

“It is a large development and so the potential for adverse impacts needs to be examined,” she said. “We can’t skip that.”

Heritage at Cutchogue public hearing continues

The Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing to continue discussing the controversial Heritage at Cutchogue proposal, but the meeting will be held later in the evening than previous hearings.

During the Jan. 11 public hearing, some residents asked if the next hearing could be scheduled later than 4:30 p.m. since other people couldn’t attend due to their work schedules.

Many residents have expressed their opposition to the proposed 55-and-over community development and have said they believe the high-density proposal will negatively impact the environment and their quality of life.

The next hearing will be held 6 p.m. on Feb. 8.

Comp plan’s land use chapter

The Planning Board is expected to hold a special meeting this week to discuss the town’s comprehensive plan.

During Monday’s work session, Ms. Lanza said the land use chapter is ready for the Planning Board’s review and tentatively scheduled a meeting for 2 p.m. Thursday.

In August, the town held a public forum to discuss that chapter and Ms. Lanza gave a presentation outlining its goals, including prevention of overbuilding and “retail sprawl” similar to Route 58 in Riverhead. The draft also features requirements for all new development to use more modern sanitation systems to prevent nitrogen runoff.

In addition, the land use chapter is expected to identify exactly where wine- and beer-tasting would be allowed in order to allow wineries, breweries and other farm-type locations serving alcohol to operate without disrupting residential areas.

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Photo: Southold Town planning director Heather Lanza (left) and Planning Board vice president James Rich at Monday’s Planning Board work session. The board is holding a special meeting Thursday to discuss the town’s comprehensive plan. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)