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Controversial Orient project draws a crowd to Town Hall

01/23/2018 1:07 PM |

About a dozen Orient residents gathered at Southold Town Hall Monday night for a Planning Board work session because the Tenedios Agricultural Barn site plan was on the agenda. The plan calls for an 8,664-square-foot building to house livestock and store feed, supplies and farm equipment on 34.5 acres of farmland owned by Fresh & Co.

During a September public hearing, residents demanded that the board reject this proposal, citing many concerns about farm animal waste and its impact on nearby wetlands, Hallocks Bay and the very shallow groundwater in Orient, as well as concerns about uses of the building. Some even held up anti-agritainment signs, saying that this type of proposal is out of character with their community.

Manhattan-based Fresh & Co. announced in August that it had acquired the Orient acreage to provide “farm-to-desk” dining for city office workers. The property, adjacent to Narrow River Road, is in the R-200 zoning district. Southold Town holds development rights to 29.5 acres; development rights for the remaining five acres are intact.

In September, residents also made it clear that they wanted this application to be a Type I SEQR action, meaning “an action or class of actions that is more likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment than other actions,” according to a New York State website. It is currently listed as a Type II action under SEQR, which, according to the state, would not have significant adverse impacts on the environment.

“[It] cannot be done,” said town planner Brian Cummings, referring to the Type 1 category. “Agriculture is a Type II action, and the SEQRA rules do not allow a Type II action to be classified as anything else, even if adjacent to a critical environmental area.”

The Planning Board may, however, require the applicant to conduct a visual impact study to measure the scenic impact of the proposed building. It may also require the developer to submit a detailed floor plan of the building showing specific uses; provide information about the number and types of animals on site, including whether they will be pastured or housed entirely in the building; and specify how products will be stored.

The board may also require a water usage plan, a farm management plan and details about how many employees will be on site.

At its next work session in two weeks, the board will tell the applicant which requirements they will have to comply with.

After the necessary information is submitted, the Planning Board will provide an analysis to the Town Board and ask other agencies for input, such as Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Suffolk County Water and Soil Conservation District and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

ONE WOMAN WINES

Last year, Claudia Purita of One Woman Wines and Vineyards in Southold was granted site plan approval for conversion of an existing building into a wine production area. She recently submitted an amended site plan that adds 3,566 square feet to that project, making the total about 12,000 square feet.

Originally, the approved plan called for a single-story building of 4,410 square feet for agricultural storage on a 0.22-acre building envelope on Soundview Avenue. That parcel is attached to 19 acres stretching south to Route 48 where development rights had been purchased by Suffolk County.

The plan still needs county health department approval. Nine parking stalls are proposed, including a handicapped space. The board recommended by* that the application be considered complete for review and confirmed that it will be a Type II SEQR action.

FRONT STREET OFFICES

Front Street Offices is a site plan application that proposes demolition of an existing two-story dwelling at 75795 Route 25 in Greenport, just west of the Greenport School, and construction of a 2,902-square-foot one-story professional office building. The parcel lies within the town’s Residential Office zoning district. The application has obtained health department approval for non-medical office space and a storage garage.

After the applicant addressed a minor lighting issue is addressed, which should be completed by the next work session on Feb. 5, they will be able to apply for building permits.

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