Should guests leaving the proposed Enclaves hotel and restaurant in Southold be limited to making only right-hand turns onto Main Road? Southold Town Planning Board members agree that will be a key decision in assuring future safety along the roadway as the controversial proposal moves through the site plan approval process.
Currently the plan shows guests of the 40 cottages, restaurant and event space would have the ability to make either a right- or left-hand turn onto Main Road from the property, located on the north side west of North Fork Table & Inn.
Planning Board member Mary Eisenstein pointed out that delivery trucks often park illegally along the roadway outside the 7-Eleven across the street and fellow member Jim Rich said a lack of enforcement could create a dangerous environment.
“I think most of us are concerned with that, because there’s a pretty heavily traveled road right there,” added chairman Don Wilcenski.
Architect Andrew Giambertone, who represented the development group led by Jonathan Tibbet at Monday’s Planning Board work session, said he will prepare for possible alternative exit plans and can work on a more angled approach should the board decide to bar left-hand turns from the property, which he said could discourage motorists from using the exit as an entranceway. Ultimately, the Planning Board will wait for referrals from the State Department of Transportation before issuing a decision on what to allow.
Mr. Rich expressed concern that no matter what the board decides, unless enforcement is increased in the area, drivers will continue to enter and exit in as they see fit. He pointed to motorists making left-hand turns out of Southold IGA, heading the wrong way in the one-way street adjacent to Grateful Deli and entering through the exit at Southold Fish Market as additional examples of frequent traffic issues in the community.
“Let’s be honest with each other, the police don’t enforce that,” Mr. Rich said.
Mr. Giambertone said traffic concerns have been addressed in the five-year planning process that led the applicant to this point and assured the board that would continue to be the case.
“We will work with [the engineers] to see what strategies we can come up with to encourage traffic to work in a manner that’s going to be safe,” he said, adding that appropriate signage and tasking staff with educating guests about the proper way to exit the property could be a part of that effort.
The next major milestone for the project, which received a key approval from the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals in December, will be a public hearing on the site plan. The Planning Board is expected to set that hearing for Monday, April 11.