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Variances sought for two Main Road projects as developers argue moratorium serving as roadblock

Two developers along Main Road in Mattituck have filed hardship applications with the Town Board, claiming that the building moratorium currently in place is hindering progress on both projects.

The first application, received in October, seeks a variance in order to make alterations to the former Kardwell Associates property, located just east of aMano restaurant. The building was sold in August and a new tenant is proposed to lease an existing 1,378-square-foot concrete building located behind the two-story brick building along Main Road.

In a letter to the Town Board, Stephanie Stahl, who owns the startup skin care company Ace of Air, said she’s aiming to launch the e-commerce business in January and the Mattituck location would be used for fulfilling customer orders and sanitizing packaging.

The company specializes in zero-waste skin care and nutritional supplements sold in recycled, sanitized containers.

Patricia Moore, an attorney for the applicant, said several projects need to be completed to make the building operational, including modifying a bathroom to allow for accessibility to people with disabilities, installing partitions in the warehouse area and preparing the space for equipment. “This business is unique and will provide well-paying jobs within the community,” Ms. Moore wrote in a letter.

Though no major exterior alterations were proposed, Ms. Stahl also suggested converting to roof-mounted solar power.

Ms. Stahl said she initially planned to locate the headquarters in Memphis to be near their product-filling partner, a plan that was thrown off by the pandemic. “I was so excited to find this space in Mattituck,” she wrote. “If unable to complete the plumbing work in January in order to launch the business, Ace of Air will fail,” Ms. Stahl said.

The second application was filed by Center Cuts Inc. last month in order to make renovations to the former Bremer’s Market/North Fork Market & Deli on the corner of Main Road and Legion Avenue. To meet ADA standards, the building must also have a handicapped-accessible ramp installed, which precludes the issuance of a permit.

Both applications were issued a notice of disapproval by the building department in November.

The moratorium was first enacted in February 2019 and halted the issuance of building permits along Main Road between Bay Avenue and Pike Street. It does not apply to residential homes or municipal buildings including the fire district, school and library.

The board has since voted several times to extend the six-month moratorium, which is set to expire in February 2021.

It directly thwarted plans for a 20,000-square-foot Brinkmann’s Hardware store on the corner of Main Road and New Suffolk Avenue. The Brinkmanns have since sued the town over the moratorium, claiming that it was specifically targeted to freeze their plan.

Town officials, however, contend that the moratorium was needed as ongoing traffic studies are completed. Since it was enacted, the board has already granted one variance from the moratorium for a law office to convert a vacant building into office space.

Citing the ongoing litigation, the board reserved additional discussion for an executive session Tuesday, but hearings for both variances were set for Dec. 15 at 4:30 p.m.