The Southold Town Zoning Board of Appeals has decided to keep the public hearing for Sports East open for two more weeks.
During Thursday afternoon’s ZBA meeting at Town Hall, board president Leslie Kanes Weisman said that keeping the public hearing open for two more weeks will give the board and Sports East attorney Charles Cuddy time to research other special permits given in the history of Southold Town, and allow people to submit written responses to the board until the meeting set for August 17.
The Thursday meeting was held at the request of Mr. Cuddy to overturn the notice of disapproval that the ZBA gave Sports East last Dec. 1 that the Route 25 property in Mattituck was not zoned for a private membership club.
Developer Paul Pawlowski urged the board to reconsider because Laurel Links, a membership club in Laurel, is very similar to Sports East and received the special permit Sports East is trying to get.
“There is precedent here for you to approve Sports East,” Mr. Pawlowski said while addressing the board. “And it compares extremely well to Laurel Links. We will have annual dues just like them, and they are on Main Road bordering residential property.”
It also offers similar amenities, like a swimming pool and golf practice areas.
Community members were given the opportunity to address the board.
“Each year many residents voice approval but it will come at a cost to the future,” Joy Ellinghaus said at the meeting. “The future will demand that the North Fork preserve what little is left of the North Fork.”
Others urged the board to overturn the decision so their families and children have activities to do in the winter.
“I’ve lived out here for 30 years which means I’ve been out here for 30 dark, cold winters,” Maureen Brisotti said to the board. “I would just be so happy if there was a place to exercise where young people could get together and play basketball.”
Sports East partner Joe Slovak said this has been a dream of his for over a decade and he is going to keep working on getting this approved for the community.
“We’ve done literally everything they have asked us to do,” Mr. Slovak said. “The bigger issue here is that this is for the community. This is a gift in that there’s no taxpayer dollars. This is from the heart.”
Photo: Paul Pawlowski at Thursday’s Southold ZBA meeting. (Credit: Rachel Siford)