A man who recently purchased a 15.4-acre Mattituck property seeks to establish a winery and tasting room there, according to a draft plan presented this week to the Southold Town Planning Board.
Bob Sullivan of Quantuck Properties LLC bought the Mill Lane farm Dec. 1. During Monday’s Planning Board work session, he told members he wants to address any potential issues or concerns with the project and properly proceed through the application process.
“This is not something that has to occur to us overnight,” he said. “We’re not in a rush to do it. We’re in a rush to do it right.”
The draft plan calls for five acres of grape vines and five acres of privets. Mr. Sullivan said producing privets would create revenue for the property while the vineyard is developed.
“It’s a nice match economically of initially, when you can’t make any money on the vineyard, later on you can grow into it,” he said.
The early plans call for an 80/60 conservation subdivision where the property would be divided into three lots, two of them residential. The third lot would include about 11.5 acres of land, including the 10 acres for grapes and privets, which he has proposed selling the development rights for. Mr. Sullivan has already submitted an application to the Land Preservation Department toward the sale of development rights to the town, to which assistant Town Planning director Mark Terry said is a good place to start.
Mr. Sullivan said he anticipates the application for a winery and tasting room will be more complicated than addressing issues of conservation, subdivision of the property and sale of development rights he is looking to resolve.
“We’re very sensitive to the fact that there’s a lot of sensitivities around wineries and tasting rooms in the Town of Southold,” Mr. Sullivan said.
Planning Board member Martin Sidor said there are probably more questions than answers when it comes to Mr. Sullivan’s potential application.
“In general terms, any times there’s preservation of land, that’s a good thing,” he said. “Any time where we can reduce density off that particular parcel, that’s a good thing.”
Plum Island’s Native Americans
The push to preserve Plum Island often focuses on environmental issues, such as the rare and endangered plants and animals who live there. But Sandi Brewster-Walker thinks protecting the island’s Native American history is just as important.
“We need to save this history and not see condos go up for future generations,” said Ms. Brewster-Walker, president of the Long Island Indigenous People Museum & Research Institute, at Tuesday’s Town Board work session.
She suggested having an archeological dig take place on the island to help uncover some of that history. For example, she said, Plum Island was involved in the Pequot War, a conflict between the Pequot tribe and an alliance of English colonists and the Narragansett and Mohegan tribes, as well as King Philip’s War, an effort to drive out settlers.
“You have to look at Plum Island and Native Americans as not just a little small unit. You have to look at what the impact was regionally, locally and nationally because it played a part in all of that history,” said Ms. Brewster-Walker, who added that she’s part Montauk, Shinnecock and Unkechaug, at Tuesday’s Town Board work session.
Ms. Brewster-Walker suggested the town build a facility on the island — assuming the town acquires it — to promote Native American heritage and cultural tourism. Such a space could potentially be created in an existing building, providing lodging for nature groups to help generate revenue, she said.
“I see the Town of Southold as a destination,” Ms. Brewster-Walker said. “You’re an extension to our history and a gateway to our history.”
Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said it was “reckless” for the issue not to have come up in discussions about the island sooner.
“Something like this would actually marry the goals of the environmentalists and the historians,” he said.
Next month, the town will host a forum about alternative on-site wastewater treatment systems now available to residents. Experts will be on hand to answer questions about cesspools or septic systems and provide information about how alternative systems can better protect the environment.
The forum will take place at the 7 p.m. Town Hall meeting Thursday, Jan. 12.
Photo: Bob Sullivan addressing the Planning Board on Monday. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)