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Proposed subdivision in Cutchogue seeks to create 11 residential lots

Following a public hearing, plans for a waterfront subdivision in Cutchogue may be headed back to the drawing board.

The application, known as the Colusa North Conservation Subdivision, seeks to create 11 residential lots on a 66-acre property north of Route 48 in Cutchogue. Of that parcel, 12.6 acres would be developed and 51.2 conserved.

“We have not done a conservation subdivision this big before,” town planning director Heather Lanza remarked during a Planning Board work session Monday.

The property is owned by real estate magnate Stefan Soloviev, who filed the subdivision application in September through his attorney, Martin Finnegan.

During Monday’s work session, Ms. Lanza noted that the property could yield up to 13 residential lots and the applicant chose to propose 11. According to plans filed with the town, the residential lots would be clustered toward the northern and western property lines near the bluffs to the Long Island Sound.

A roadway proposed to enter the residential area from Bridge Lane and the configuration of the lots themselves could be revamped after Monday’s discussion.

According to Ms. Lanza, a neighbor raised concerns during a February hearing that the road would wrap around her side and back yards without a buffer.

“It’s just one person, but it’s quite a burden to put on someone to cause them to have a road on three sides of their property,” Ms. Lanza said. “It creates zoning and setback issues.”

The town’s fire marshal also raised concerns about the roadway, which is shown on plans as having sharp corners that could make it difficult for fire department vehicles to navigate.

The current layout of the residential lots also arose as a potential issue that may change as the application moves through the process. As is, three of the lots would be facing the Sound, three would be located behind them across a private road and five would border the western edge of the property, extending out into the farmland.

Multiple entities, including planning staff, recommended reconfiguring the lots to protect the viability of future farming, quality of life for new residents as well as scenic impacts.

The view approaching the property from Oregon Road was also listed in a 2001 study as a scenic viewshed of importance, Ms. Lanza said, noting that the proposed homes could disrupt that view. 

Mr. Finnegan said the lots were initially designed and clustered that way to maximize the balance of open space and protect scenic views of the property from Route 48.

Some ideas that were floated Monday include clustering the residential lots closer together, relocating some of them to another parcel Mr. Soloviev owns nearby or creating two waterfront lots in lieu of three, which could then make way for a shared driveway.

Mr. Finnegan said they’d be open to suggestions as the discussion is expected to continue in two weeks. 

“We can definitely start the dialogue on our end, but I would like to keep it moving,” he said.

Planning Board member Mary Eisenstein said it was important the board know what the applicant’s overall goal is for the property.

“I don’t want to speak for him,” board chair Donald Wilcenski said. “But obviously he’s got a lot of great farmland that he wants to preserve and also put the building lots in areas that aren’t good farmland. It’s got to work for both ends.”

Mr. Wilcenski said he hopes the board can work with the applicant to arrive at a compromise that “makes sense” for everyone.