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Orient residents renew concerns over Fresh & Co. proposal

05/11/2018 6:01 AM |

Concerned Orient residents who are neighbors to a property where an agricultural building is proposed have sent their comments to the town Planning Board via attorneys. 

The application at issue concerns the 9,000-square-foot “Tenedios agricultural building,” proposed for a 34.5-acre site acquired by Fresh & Co. to provide produce for its “farm-to-desk” restaurants in Manhattan.

An April 16 letter from attorneys representing several Orient homeowners mentions the specific roles outlined for the Planning Board in town code, including to protect the established character of a neighborhood and “mitigate the environmental impacts of new development on the land, air and water resources.” The letter also supports the Planning Board’s request for additional information from the applicant.

“We wanted to make clear to the Planning Board, and the other two entities that we wrote to in the town, what their authority is with respect to this application and that generally the Planning Board was on the right path, we thought, with respect to collecting information,” said attorney Reed Super, of Super Law Group LLC, a firm that represents public interest groups and individuals in their efforts to preserve water quality.

The letter notes the intended uses of the property and a proposed barn and asks whether the barn will be used for a commercial enterprise.

The letter also highlights neighbors’ concerns about animal agriculture and its potential impacts on water quality. Residents are worried that animal manure, a source of nitrogen and phosphorus, will pollute surface and groundwater and be a source of pathogens, according to the letter.

“Because the proposed land use involves activities that can be highly polluting, the Board should use its authority to put reasonable conditions on any approval to mitigate this harm,” the letter reads.

The Southold Town shellfish advisory committee conducted dye-testing in Narrow River Monday morning. Bright-green non-toxic dye was released into a portion on the river near the farm and its movement was tracked throughout a tide cycle via drone photography.

The drone images with be stitched together to create a larger detail map and overall view of how the water flows.

“The shellfish advisory committee and the town Trustees are trying to do their part where we can help,” said John Bredemeyer, the Trustees’ vice president and liaison to the committee. “We understand that the Planning Board has its role approving structures, but we have a role to try to work with the owners.”

The citizens’ letter also addresses support for the land preservation committee’s request for more information related to deed restrictions and town-held development rights, including a visual impact study and clarification of intended uses for the barn.

Homeowner Ariel Floyd Bostic, who is one of seven residents represented by the law group in the letter, started a change.org petition protesting the proposed building. About 3,000 signatures have been obtained as of this week.

Numerous letters opposing the project, many citing environmental concerns, or asking for more details on the proposed structure are on file with the town.

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