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Residents raise concerns at ZBA hearing related to mixed-use project in Southold

A developer’s plan for a mixed-use project on Main Road in Southold raised some concerns among nearby residents during a Zoning Board of Appeals hearing last Thursday afternoon.

About a half-dozen residents who live near the proposed development, at the southeast corner of Main Road and Wells Avenue, spoke out with questions and concerns about the project’s environmental impacts, plantings and drainage on the property and even the overall scope of the plan. Several more neighbors sent in letters to the ZBA.

The proposal, which requires a variance for an insufficient lot area, calls for a two-story building with ground-floor retail and three affordable apartments above,along with four single-story, two-bedroom over-55 rental houses with 1 1/2-car garages. The project is in the Hamlet Business zoning district, across the street from the Feather Hill complex.

“We’ve tried to be as sensitive to the property as we can,” said architect Robert Brown, who spoke at the virtual meeting along with property owner Charles Salice of Hard Corners LLC, explaining that despite the need for a variance, the development could have been more intensive.

Under an existing interpretation of the town code, a project with five uses, as the building department determined for this particular development, requires a variance if it’s being built on a lot of less than 100,000 square feet. ZBA chairperson Leslie Kanes Weisman explained that the variance is for a 99,200-square-foot lot or a “0.8% insufficient lot area.”

Ms. Weisman also clarified that many of the concerns raised during last Thursday’s public hearing would be covered under the site plan and environmental review before the town’s Planning Board, which will hold a future public hearing. She said the Planning Board offered a letter of support for the project to the ZBA, citing a “great need for affordable housing” in the town. She also said she does not expect the project to undergo a more intensive environmental review.

Mr. Brown said he will use advanced septic systems for the project and that he considered the aesthetics of the neighboring community, including the spacing between houses, in the design of the proposal.

Mr. Scalise, who previously developed the Feather Hill complex across the street, said a lot of thought went into this latest project and that, under existing zoning, he could have considered more commercial development of the property.

“We’ve worked really hard to make this conducive to the neighborhood needs,” he said, by including both affordable and senior housing in the plan.

Ms. Weisman said the ZBA public hearing must be kept open until the environmental review is complete. The continuation of the hearing and eventual decision on the variance will be scheduled for a later date.