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Subdivision plan in Mattituck takes step forward

A plan to subdivide a 5.1-acre split-zoned parcel of land on Route 48 near Wickham Avenue in Mattituck took a step forward at a Southold Town Planning Board meeting Monday.

Following a discussion at the planning work session, the board granted conditional preliminary plat approval for the subdivision plan.

The proposed subdivision, which dates back to 2014, had been delayed pending a Town Board decision on a change of zone for one of the parcels. In April, the Town Board authorized the change of zone from General Business to Limited Business and required covenants and restrictions be filed to prohibit hotel and restaurant uses on the property and limit lot coverage to 15%.

The three rear lots that border the Mattituck Creek would be residential, according to the application.

Planner Mark Terry outlined several conditions the applicant, James Reeve, must meet in order to move forward with the subdivision.

A rear accessory building on the commercially zoned lot must be labeled “to be removed,” or the applicants must seek a variance for inadequate setback, Mr. Terry explained.

Abigail Wickham, an attorney for the Reeves, indicated they might designate the structure for removal while they concurrently await a notice of disapproval from the building department, which would trigger action by the Zoning Board of Appeals. “Then, if we’re not done with the map, come back, and if we are done with the map, ask for an amended [subdivision] particularly once we have a buyer for that property,” she said.

Planning Board chair Don Wilcenski inquired about the legality of the action. Planning department director Heather Lanza noted that it is not recommended since it could lead to inaction and pose future problems on the parcel.

Staff had originally recommended a 100-foot non-disturbance buffer between the residential properties and the creek, to which Ms. Wickham proposed a 50-foot non-disturbance, 25-foot non-turf and 25-foot non-fertilization buffer. “To have three different buffer types is not really the best way forward,” Mr. Terry said.

Instead, a 50-foot non-disturbance buffer and 50-foot vegetated buffer is proposed. The applicant may be allowed to limb trees to clean up the area, officials said, in order to provide a view.

The applicants must also ensure Suffolk County Department of Health Services approval for an innovative/alternative wastewater system for all future development.

The map must also be amended to indicate whether paths connecting the residences to the creek are proposed and if so, where they would be.

Mr. Wilcenski and other Planning Board members agreed that future property owners would traverse the non-disturbed area to gain access to the creek, so walking paths should be established.

“We’re not envisioning floating docks, or canoe racks or anything else like that,” Mr. Wilcenski said, noting that anything like that would be subject to Southold Town Trustee approval.

Mr. Terry suggested a four-foot wide mulch path could allow access without the need to pave or construct a dock.

“At low tide, it’s basically a mud flat. The navigability of it would have to be addressed by the Board of Trustees,” Mr. Terry said, implying some sort of catwalk-like structure would be needed to access the waters during those times.

Mr. Wilcenski also asked if the applicants would agree to create one shared access path between the three lots, to which Ms. Wickham argued each should have their own.

“It’s a fairly modest attribute,” she said. “I just thought it’d be a nice amenity to each lot to be able to walk down to your shoreline without having to go on someone else’s property.”

The issue would need to be addressed before final approval is issued.

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