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Top Stories 2019: Hardware store proposal in Mattituck causes stir

Back in August, when Mattituck Laurel Civic Association members got together to discuss turning Mattituck’s “last green corner” into a park, community members made it clear they did not want a proposed 20,000-square-foot hardware and paint store on the corner of Main Road and New Suffolk Avenue. At that time, it was almost unimaginable how the tables might turn. Who could suspect that the 1.8-acre parcel, long under scrutiny by town officials and locals, would become the focus of a months-long legal standoff and outright ownership battle?

The Brinkmann family, who run Brinkmann Hardware Corp., first submitted an application for the property in 2017. In May, they filed suit against the town after a moratorium — which they argued was directed solely at their plan — was enacted. That moratorium was designed to give the town time to consider recommendations from ongoing traffic and parking studies, while halting the issuance of approvals and permits at the Route 25/Love Lane intersection. It was renewed for an additional six months in August. After a number of public hearings, at which locals expressed concern about heightened traffic and worried that the character of the hamlets might be adversely impacted, the Southold Town Board voted Sept. 10 to begin the process of eminent domain.

The Brinkmanns said they would not back down, but Suffolk Times reporting found they had begun negotiating with the town in September. Negotiations fell through some weeks later, when a condition set forth by the Brinkmanns was deemed unfavorable. As of October, negotiations were still suspended.

Photo caption: A truck with a “Say no to eminent domain” sign at the Mattituck property. (Credit: Kate Nalepinski/file)