Business

Dozens of letters criticize the hotel and restaurant plan for Enclaves in Southold

The proposed Enclaves Hotel and Restaurant has received resounding condemnation in letters from dozens of Southold residents during a public comment period that ended Sept. 10. 

Residents’ concerns focused primarily on how a 44-room hotel and 74-seat restaurant on Main Road in Southold would impact traffic, noise, community character, beach congestion and the environment. 

Many letters also criticized the development’s final environmental impact statement, questioning its conclusions about impact and the effectiveness of measures suggested to ease community concerns. One writer said they’ve also signed an online petition opposing the hotel, which was initially posted in 2019 and currently has 443 signatures. 

Lauren Barry, who lives next door to the proposed hotel site, criticized property owner Jonathan Tibett for his “fast-paced game of Southold Monopoly,” pointing out he owns several other properties in town. She said the hotel would negatively impact her home and quality of life — damaging property value, creating traffic that would block her driveway and bombarding her with noise. 

“I can hear a car pull in with music at 7-Eleven across the street. I will surely be able to hear the resulting noise from a 250-person wedding, a restaurant (presumably with outdoor seating) and a hotel with a rooftop lounge,” she wrote. 

Ms. Barry also criticized the report for claiming that an additional 250-person event space did not significantly change water and sanitary calculations from earlier estimates. That space was not included in the initial plans for the hotel. 

“How is this accurate? Who fact checks this data for the town?” she asked.

Another Southold resident questioned the developer’s claim that large gatherings do not meet the town’s definition of “special events” and would not impact traffic or surrounding properties. Special events requiring Town Board approval are currently defined as “any event held on property owned, leased or controlled by the Town or any event where the expected attendance exceeds 1,000 people.” 

“The above statements strain credulity and show a blatant disregard not only for the truth but also for any civic-mindedness of applicant,” said Nancy Butkus. 

She argued that traffic is already an issue for those trying to make a left-hand turn onto Main Road during the summer and that the size of the development does not comply with the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

“The Comprehensive Plan plainly states [a goal] ‘to maintain and enhance our community’s sense of place and our residential, rural and historic character by encouraging small-scale community and residential development,’ ” Ms. Butkus said. “This is the largest development to be proposed in our town and will surely destroy the historic, small-town character that its citizens have specifically cited as a goal to maintain.” 

She added that the hotel will create “new low-wage jobs … for workers who do not currently exist, as there is no affordable housing.” 

Other letters condemned the potential environmental impact — one New Suffolk resident called it a “devastating environmental assault” — and expressed fear that the town was turning into “the alternative Hamptons.” Someone called the proposed hotel and spa a “living nightmare.”

“We must not allow our town to become what has become of the South Fork. So many people have left that area to come to Southold to have a different feel,” said Leslie Rich, a resident of nearby Founders Landing. 

Many said they plan to attend a public Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on the Enclaves proposal, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 14, at 5 p.m. in the Town Hall board room.