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Legislation for ‘floating’ recreational zones moves forward

Town attorney Bill Duffy presented the Town Board with draft legislation Tuesday that would create a “recreational floating zone” intended to promote recreational uses in areas with a demonstrated need.

Under the proposal, the floating zone could be applied to parcels of at least three acres that have been identified as appropriate sites for major recreation facilities.

During his State of the Town address last week, Supervisor Scott Russell pointed to recreational voids in the community, such as an indoor swimming pool.

“We need to be candid. The town doesn’t have the resources to build and we just don’t have the management staff to maintain” such a facility, he said during the address.

At a Jan. 29 work session, Mr. Russell said that while zoning is based on location and clustering, there are areas where recreational uses would make sense. “We have a lot of industrial land, and some of these facilities do require bigger buildings,” he said, adding that he would prefer them to be developed near existing recreational facilities.

Prospective developers of such facilities would need to complete a change of zone application and provide a written analysis describing how the proposal would benefit Southold Town and affect the neighborhood. The Town Board would then decide whether to pursue rezoning of the parcel, which would be subject to Planning Board review.

The draft legislation began to take shape following a December 2016 ruling saying that a wooded 21-acre property in Mattituck, proposed the previous year for Sports East, was not zoned properly to permit development of a membership club planned by developers Paul Pawlowski, Steve Marsh and Joe Slovak.

A hearing has been set for April 9.