Environmental, traffic concerns discussed as civic group meets with Mattituck hotel developer
Over 100 people gathered in the basement meeting room of Mattituck-Laurel Library Monday evening to engage with the developer of the proposed Mattituck Hotel.
The Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association arranged the meeting between residents and D’Wayne Prieto, principal for Ward Capital Management LLC, the developer representing the Cardinale family, who own the property at 9025 Main Road, the former Capital One administrative building. Capital One closed its North Fork operations in 2011, with 135 employees moved to Melville or Virginia. The building has been vacant for over a decade.
Mr. Prieto began with a presentation of the site plan and renderings for the proposed two-story 121-room Mattituck Hotel and its on-site 275-seat restaurant, 300-seat catering facility, indoor and outdoor pools and parking lots. The project has been scaled down multiple times since it was initially proposed five years ago.
“We’ve pared down the project from 200 rooms to 125 to 121,” Mr. Prieto said. “This is a much smaller project than what was proposed about two years ago.”
Following Mr. Prieto’s presentation, the evening continued with an hour-long Q&A session between members of the public and the developer. Throughout the evening, residents expressed reasons they believed the proposal would negatively impact the North Fork.
Perhaps the most cited issue was an increase in traffic, specifically during the summer months. Residents expressed concern for motorists and pedestrians traveling on Main Road near the proposed project and the difficulty of making left turns heading either east or west. Adding to this concern was the knowledge that the green space slated for what is currently the parking lot on the site will be used for outdoor wedding ceremonies, which residents believe will bottleneck Main Road with attendees.
Residents asked if measures such as widening Main Road or adding traffic lights are being considered. Mr. Prieto said he was not at liberty to respond with any certainty.
“[The state Department of Transportation] is going to make their evaluation, the town is going to make their evaluation,” he said. “Hopefully some of these issues will be addressed in that process.”
Along with traffic, multiple residents expressed concern that more visitors to the North Fork will further crowd local beaches.
“I’m half a block from Veterans Beach, that’s the closest beach where people in the hotel can buy a day pass and get on the beach,” resident Sallie Timpone said following the meeting. “You can barely get on the beach now, it’s so crowded.”
While Mr. Prieto could not say for certain how many people may venture off-site for a day at the beach, he said, “I expect a good portion of the people who are staying at the hotel will venture out and explore the restaurants in the neighborhood, which is a reason why they come out here.”
“We never even broached the subject of using the beaches here,” he said. “That’s why we created an indoor facility. Therefore, don’t expect people to travel out of this location to go to the beach. The goal is for them to come here and stay.”
Environmental considerations, specifically water quality and usage, were also discussed. Plans for the project call for a 30,000-gallon sewage treatment facility for denitrification to be built on-site. Mr. Prieto said the project will also utilize green technologies, including solar panels and rainwater collection.
The Southold Town Planning Board has not yet issued a State Environmental Quality Review Act determination. A positive determination would call for an environmental impact statement, which would include a traffic study.
While the planning board is not yet scheduled to deliver a SEQRA determination, representatives of the Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association believe the public will continue to participate as the project moves forward.
“What this meeting represented was a committed community who cares about its community character,” said Mary Eisenstein, the civic member who led Monday’s meeting. “And they’re hungry for information.”