Developer Paul Pawlowski spoke with The Suffolk Times following the Southold ZBA’s Sports East decision on Thursday. He requested that his comments be published in their entirety. Here is his full statement:
Basically the reaction is, as a developer, it’s fine. You roll with the punches. As a resident, it’s quite alarming. Something is not adding up.
Proposal A was for workforce housing, which the supervisor and everyone that works for Town Hall and Planning Department said they want for several years. That was proposal A. It was not supported. Actually, the verbatim words from the supervisor were: ‘We’re not going to support workforce housing in the foreseeable future.’ And all you need to do for that is talk to the people on the workforce housing committee that resigned. So, that’s not adding up.
They can preach how they want it. Instead of working with the applicant who’s willing and able to get it done, they are not.
Proposal B was 85 percent preservation with mixed-use for affordable housing. That wasn’t supported.
Proposal C is a private health club that nine out of ten people in this town say they want.
All three have been supported and endorsed by the Planning Board in all initial stages, so that’s what’s not adding up.
The town really needs to look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘You have a willing and able applicant willing to do something good for the town and, instead of finding ways to allow it, find ways to make it happen because you don’t have this opportunity everyday in a small town.’
You just don’t. It’s very strange that, through the workforce housing, none of the higher ups in the town reached back out to me within this whole past year. They were advocating for it, reached out to us and gave us a path to get this approved.
As far as the ZBA, they have a job to do, but I will go as far to say they have extremely selective ways of deciding things because if you look at the history of special exceptions it’s definitely not consistent. I do feel bad for them because all three of which they’ve endorsed. The only thing I don’t feel bad about is the question that was answered today was the first question I asked before I spent one dollar.
Between all three proposals, I’m into this for $300,000 all of which, from the very first design and very well vetted with the Planning Board, so, where I lose a ton of respect is that all of these questions were asked before money was spent.
As a developer, I go in and I say, ‘Will this fly? And if it doesn’t, tell me today. No problem going to another idea.’
My challenge to this town, and I really want this, is find property where you want workforce housing. Find property where you want private sports club for your residents, and you have a willing and able applicant. But I’m going to go as far as saying they will not put that effort in — and that’s what’s alarming.
There’s a lot that can be done for that property but we haven’t even thought about that. We’ve generally went into this, trying to do something that’s not just another subdivision, not just another strip mall. We have a lot of options and I think that’s the big thing here.
Even though I’ve issued that challenge to the town — find me that property and we’ll do it — you’ll never find in a better location.
I also want to go on the record. We have a Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association. That’s a ‘Mattituck’ ‘Laurel’ civic association. Shouldn’t they be listening to the majority, not the minority? I can guarantee if you voted in Mattituck or Southold Town it would be 90 percent positive vote for this. They are ‘Mattituck Laurel’ and say they’re an educational forum, right?
How are they an educational forum when they basically started — when I first mentioned workforce housing — they were against it. But that never got a vote in their forum.
Plan B, to donate 18 acres and do a mixed-use, they voted. That’s not just educational, that’s opinionated and a vote.
Plan C they didn’t vote for. And the reason they didn’t vote for because they know that the majority wanted it. So why is it that they’re so selective. They really need to look at themselves in the mirror and realize, ‘A civic association, when you put the title of your town ‘Mattituck’ and ‘Laurel’ on it, it should be for everyone — not just a few retired people and their opinions and the few hard-working people on that board and their opinions. It should be the majority.’