The Southold Town Zoning Board of Appeals has taken the next step in a lengthy process to determine whether to grant a special exception use permit for The Enclaves Hotel and Restaurant.
The ZBA posted a final environmental impact statement last week for the proposed 74-seat restaurant and 44-room hotel on Main Road in Southold, kicking off a public consideration period that will close Sept. 10.
The hotel — which would encompass a two-story building with 40 rooms and four detached cottages — would be built at the former Hedges bed and breakfast, a mostly undeveloped 6.75-acre property near the intersection of Main Road and Town Harbor Lane. Amenities would include a basement-level spa for overnight hotel guests and an outdoor in-ground swimming pool and patio with cabanas on the west side of the hotel building.
The site may also include an indoor space capable of accommodating up to 250 people, which could host no more than 10 large events per year, including weddings and fundraisers. The impact statement notes that events were originally meant to be held outdoors, but the indoor space — next to a proposed decorative pond, with no fish — was added to accommodate noise concerns.
The statement further notes that large gatherings, which could be held no more than once per week, are not considered special events under town code, although the hotel would need to provide the town with advance notice and arrange for traffic control personnel.
Initially presented at a March 2017 Planning Board meeting, the Enclaves project has encountered opposition from some residents. At public forums in recent years, residents have expressed concerns about how the hotel and restaurant would impact traffic, noise, community character, the environment and the local economy.
The impact statement outlined accommodations for some of these concerns, including a modified light pole to avoid “light trespass over the property line,” shifting the driveway 11 feet to the west and adding a “15-foot vegetated buffer” by adding landscaping along the driveway and the eastern property line.
A six-and-a-half-foot wooden stockade fence would run along the eastern and western property lines and around the cottage areas to provide an “acoustic barrier,” along with additional vegetation along the east side and northeast corner of the property. The dumpster pad for the proposed hotel was also moved from the northeast side of the property to the northwest corner in a fenced enclosure, among other changes geared toward reducing noise.
According to the impact statement, any potential noise will not exceed five dBA over background sound levels. Analyses indicate that surrounding properties would be relatively unaffected by the project during peak season.
To address concerns about community character, the statement notes that the façade of the building that would house the restaurant — the portion of the project primarily visible from Main Road — would remain the same. A hedgerow along the southern side of the property, combined with a 430-foot distance from the road, will ensure the hotel is not visible from Main Road, according to the statement.
Proposed signage would remain consistent with other signs along Main Road within the Southold hamlet center. A review by New York’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation found that renovations would not adversely affect the historic building.
The hotel has additionally requested to build an advanced on-site sewage treatment facility at the northeast corner of the property, and drainage catch basins and subsurface leaching pools for stormwater runoff, among other utilities.
Copies of the final environmental impact statement, which addresses individual comments from Southold residents, are available for public review and comment on the town’s website and at Southold Free Library and the offices of the Town Clerk and ZBA.