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Mixed-use project in Southold still needs environmental review

A site plan for a mixed-use building along Route 25 in Southold still needs a state environmental quality review, the Southold Planning Board said at a meeting last Monday. 

Hard Corner Partners LLC has proposed a two-story mixed use building with a rear parking area that would front Route 25 on the corner of Wells Avenue, across from the Feather Hill complex. Planning Board members said that the applicant has met previous requests and input is needed from the town engineer, as well as a SEQRA determination.

The first floor would offer three retail units, with one that could allow for a restaurant or deli, and the second floor would include three affordable apartments. Further down Wells Avenue would be four rental single-family dwellings for ages 55 and older. All four of the single-family rental units would be 1,597 square feet, with individual wastewater treatment systems. 

The application still needs wastewater approval from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services. The 2.28-acre vacant parcel is in the Hamlet Business zoning district.

The plan has several updates, including a wider curb cut and additional street trees along Main Road and Wells Avenue. There would also be bike racks at the back of the building and a fire hydrant and sidewalk added along Wells Avenue.

Some Planning Board members expressed concern about traffic impact, including the cumulative effect of all projects planned along Main Road. 

In a Dec. 7 email included with the site plan, the state Department of Transportation said it does not expect significant impact so no modifications are needed for the intersection of Wells Avenue and Main Road. The department did note, however, that the applicant should apply for a NYSDOT permit to work in state right of way; the sidewalk should have a minimum width of five feet; and the sidewalk and curb ramps should be ADA-compliant and meet DOT standards.

Planning documents on the site indicate that traffic safety has been raised as a concern in the past by the public and Planning Board members. Other public concerns, expressed at past public hearings and through letters and emails to the town, have included natural topography and water run-off, the loss of wildlife and degradation to community character.

An August letter written on behalf of the applicant emphasizes that only around two acres are being developed; the parcel is in the heart of the Hamlet Density/HALO area of the Southold hamlet; the uses match town desires expressed in hamlet studies and the comprehensive plan; and the parcel is “complemented by a small number of small, single-family homes, all of which will have backyards where good trees and bunnies can thrive.”

The application is due to appear before the Planning Board again on March 28.

“I think it would be a very positive addition to the neighborhood,” Robert Brown, an architect for the project, said to The Suffolk Times.