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Supervisor expresses support for Sports East

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said he supported Paul Pawlowski’s proposal for Sports East and if the ZBA does not allow it to be built at the proposed Mattituck location, he would consider a land swap or help the developer find a new space for it.

“I emphatically support it and I also have a great deal of faith in Paul [Pawlowski],” Mr. Russell said.

“I’ve been candid from the beginning, my position hasn’t changed,” he said.  “I certainly wish them luck and I have a deep commitment to making it happen, if not there then somewhere and Southold needs it, desperately.”

Sports East is a proposed membership club on Main Road currently being reviewed by the ZBA to determine if the location is appropriate for such a facility. A public hearing in August brought out many residents both in favor and against the establishment.

Mr. Russell brought up the idea that if the ZBA does not allow Sports East to be built in the proposed location, a land swap with the town would be a legal possibility to helping it get started.

Mr. Russell has restrained from commenting because the application is still underway, but has said he thinks the idea of Sports East would address many needs in the town. When asked why he is commenting on it now, he said because of misconceptions “…it became clear that I needed to correct the record.”

“I know of no one who actually opposes the facility; it’s the location from what I hear,” Mr. Russell said.

He also said he wanted to clear up misconceptions about the town not supporting this venture and that the town has been out to get Sports East, because if that were the case, the ZBA would have denied it a long time ago.

“Zoning issues are complicated and people need to understand that zoning is not a popularity contest,” Mr. Russell said. “The town does not have the luxury or the right to have applications come in and say ‘if we like them we’ll say yes, and if we don’t liken them we’ll say no.’”

The ZBA kept the public hearing for Sports East open until Aug. 17, then it has 62 days to make a decision and is expected within the coming weeks.

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File photo: Paul Pawlowski at Southold ZBA meeting. (Credit: Rachel Siford)