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Supermarket Developer: 'Here We Go Again'

Andrew Mendelson will appear at the Aug. 2 village board meeting to revisit his proposal for a supermarket in Old Riverhead Road in front of a new village board.

With two now sitting in Westhampton Beach, Westhampton developer Andrew Mendelson intends to spark a renewed effort to build a 40,000 square-foot supermarket on 4.2 acres that he owns on Old Riverhead Road in Westhampton Beach. He said he plans to speak at the village's Aug. 2 meeting.

Mendelson said that when he last brought his proposal to the village, former trustees  and , along with recently re-elected mayor Conrad Teller, came out against it, while trustees  and never committed themselves either way.

He is hoping that Tucker and DiBenedetto, along with two new trustees, and , will garner him enough support to bring his project to fruition. 

"So, here we go again," said Mendelson. "This time I hope that I am better received."

Mendelson last appeared before the board in March with a petition asking that a 'grocery store' be added as a permitted use in the village's B-3 district and that that his industrially-zoned land be rezoned to the B-3 district to accomodate his proposal.

He further asked that a public hearing be held to entertain his idea.

Mendelson's request was met with a myriad of no's with Richard Haefeli, the village's attorney, saying that adding a grocery store use to both the village's B-3 and industrial zones would require a master plan update, compete with a environmental study, which was completed during the village's last master plan update four years ago.

Haefeli added that when a petition is submitted to the village, village officials are not required by law to do anything.

DiBenedetto said on Wednesday that as a government official, she is open to a public forum in which all of the issues can be discussed. 

"There is an issue concerning zoning and as far as his vision and without an application we don't know what he is proposing, which makes it difficult, but everyone has a right to be heard," she said, adding that if the master plan needs to be revisited because of economics that it is something she agrees with doing. 

Urban agreed, saying, "I am open to listening to the various aspects and parts of the proposal."

Urban further stated that he understands that there is a lot to be considered in regards to the proposal and has heard from community members on both side, some in favor of a new supermarket, others who fear that Old Riverhead Road will become congested with the addition of a supermarket. 

Mayor Teller, however, is sticking to his guns.  

He said, "I have no intentions of making what he claims is a very simple clerical change, adding grocery to his two lots, which are separately zoned. That would be spot zoning, which as far as I am concerned is illegal."

Teller also indicated that he does not think the village should go back and spend money to do a full master plan, put a moratorium in place for a new master plan process."

"And as far as a public hearing is concerned," he said, "We don't make zoning decisions based on public opinion. We make them on facts and studies."

What do you think village trustees should do? Comment below.

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Erica Jackson (Editor) July 12, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Wendy Poole said via Facebook, "Get the school zone corrected first then worry about supermarket. We do need a new supermarket the Waldbaums in Westhampton Beach is DISCUSTING!!!!!!!!!!!"

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