Southampton Village Shelves Supermarket Law Indefinitely

Village Board members want to know how some important matters turn out before making any decisions or ordering further study.

Controversial legislation that would allow for a new supermarket in Southampton Village has been shelved, for now, after the Village Board agreed during a work session Tuesday that a number of matters that are up in the air must be resolved before an informed decision can be made.

It comes down to three major concerns, according to Trustee Richard Yastrzemki: what the completion of the widening of County Road 39A will mean for traffic; whether a proposed shopping center in Tuckahoe anchored by a King Kullen supermarket will get the approval of Southampton Town; and what the results of a retail business study the village commissioned are.

The supermarket legislation would provide for a special exception use in the zoning code to allow a grocery store to be built in the Highway Business District, which runs from County Road 39A to Flying Point Road. One property, on the corner of Flying Point Road and Hampton Road, is already being eyed by a developer, and has become the focal point of the public debate.

Regarding the widening of County Road 39A, a Suffolk County project that adds a second eastbound lane, Trustee Michael Irving said he is waiting to see how the final result will impact traffic.

"The board felt that we really need to see where the Country Road 39 project ends up and what kind of impact it has going forward, before making any kind of decision,” Irving said.

Meanwhile the supermarket proposal in Tuckahoe, which is in the Southampton Town Board's jurisdiction, is still unresolved. Though members of the Village Board have spoken out against that proposal — saying it will hurt the village's business district, among other concerns — whether it gets approved or not is out of the village's hands.

The addition of a new supermarket in the surrounding area could take the wind out of the sails of proponents of the Southampton Village proposal, who say they are underserved when it comes to grocery shopping options.

“Clearly if it were approved you could no longer make the argument that there was an unmet need,” Trustee William Hattrick said. If the Tuckahoe supermarket is approved, he said, he'd rather avoid the controversy and expense of adopting legislation for a Southampton Village grocery store.

Among the anticipated expenses are a State Environmental Quality Review Act study on the impact of the legislation, and litigation the village has been threatened with should the law be approved.

However, a nearby supermarket may not completely quash some residents' desire for another option within the village boundaries.

Southampton Village's sole supermarket is Waldbaum's on Jagger Lane, which both residents and board members have said is inadequate. Trustee Nancy McGann said Tuesday that there is not enough parking, and there is not enough room inside the supermarket to keep the shelves stocked with all the products residents need. She said that while in the past shoppers could head to Gristedes or IGA if Waldbaum's did not have what they were looking for, those grocery stores that were once in the village center are no longer in business.

The third concern that Yastrzemki identified is that the Village Board is still waiting for the results of a study it commissioned from Gibbs Planning Group in November, on what retail opportunities are being underexploited in the village's business district. Among the study's findings may be ideal locations for green grocers around the village.

McGann said she wants to know if a new supermarket should really be within walking distance of the village center, as residents have suggested to her, or if Gibbs finds that it not ideal.

The study will likely be complete by the end of February, said Jay Diesing, the president of the Southampton Association, a civic group that helped the village pay for it.

The board mulled passing a resolution to formalize their decision to wait on the legislation and discontinue proceedings, but ultimately decided that it was not necessary.

Following the meeting, resident Abraham Wallach — the fiercest critic of the proposal — said he thinks the Village Board made the right decision to gather all the facts before moving forward on the legislation. Wallach told the board in April that residents with legal standing will sue the village if the supermarket law is adopted, and he is among  a group of residents who have hired attorney Carolyn Zenk to fight the law before it even comes to a vote.

Fred 'n Freeda January 23, 2013 at 06:22 PM
No guts, no groceries! Just the same old King Kullen and Waldbaum. Not very good choices when the world is heading in the direction of choice eats. But you have to eat more than kielbasi to know that, Mr. Yastrzemski and you have to spend time creating interesting menus for your dinner guests, Mr. Hattrick. Not something that I see either of you doing any time soon, yet there you sit making decision for the hungry masses of Village residents. Fresh Market would be a great improvement, give village residents more culinary choices and give Waldbaum's, the dirtiest food store in Suffolk Country, competition that they sorely need to clean up their act. But would Mr. Irving know a clean food store? The big diff between the proposed King Kullen and the Fresh Market, it that the Fresh Market is a solo operation. King Kullen proposed 120,000 square feet of little shops that directly compete with Jobs Lane and Main Street. If there's a project to get behind, it's the Fresh Market, NOT the King Kullen. But to do that, you'd have to be an inovative thinker, a guy who is out in front taking the lead. In other words, you'd have to have a pair...and nobody on our Village Board of Trustees has a pair. So we'll call them the One Nut Bunch because they're starting to listen to the Wing Nut Bunch - those whose logic went the way of last night's supper. So it's been shelved...what an appropriate designation, all things considered. Jeez.
East End Farmer January 23, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Yes, Tuckahoe includes competing stores - it will have a direct impact on Village businesses. Where were the retailers in this discussion??? Where was the Chamber? You'll cry when your pie is sliced up with 12 more store owners competing with you. But it will be too late. The Village Board should be chastised for their narrow mindedness. TRAFFIC? That's the least of your problems. We've been living with it for 60 years yet you speak of it like a single village store (at the FRINGE of our village, no less) will cause all the future problems. NUTS!
Carol Lorentz January 24, 2013 at 04:42 AM
Call Danny Wegman
Faustina January 24, 2013 at 08:14 PM
A mega King Kullen Supermarket, with more development to follow on adjacent land owned by the developer Morrow will push the downscaling very far south off the highway. Mr. Gibbs' study will state that mega stores on the outskirts of towns villages and Main Streets will leach traffic and sales from the small distinct stores. It will state this because all the studies, statistics and reports available confirm this. Aside from the bank and retail stores attached to this King Kullen, the "grocery store" itself will be flooded with 50% of non-food merchandise. This junk will compete with small Village specialty stores. Mr. Yasztremetski and Mr. Hattrick both evidence the classic small mindedness and limited vision that has plagued SH, to its detriment: just dump it someplace else and we won't have to deal with it, or see it. As the King Kullen will belch trucks and cars in an endless stream down to Hill Street, and merchants in the Village put two and two together it will be difficult for these gentlemen to keep their heads in the sand.
Ralebird January 24, 2013 at 11:26 PM
You lost your credibility with the "mega" lie.


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