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Supermarket Developer: 'I Will Take My Fight to the People'

Developer Andrew Mendelson has learned that the village will not act on his petition to allow for grocery stores in Westhampton Beach.

After learning, on Wednesday night, that Village of Westhampton Beach officials will not consider a petition that was submitted to them last month asking for an amendment to the village's zoning code to allow for a supermarket, developer Andrew Mendelson said he will take his fight to the people.

"There is an election coming up in June," said Mendelson, who is a Westhampton Beach resident.

For the past several months, Mendelson has been seeking the code amendment to the village's B-3 and Industrial zones so he could construct a 40,000-square-foot supermarket on a 4.2 acre parcel that he owns on Old Riverhead Road.

In early January, Mendlelson submitted the petition to the village, asking for the change, however, Village Attorney Richard Haefeli told Mendelson, on Wednesday night, that the village can not act on the petition.

Haefeli said, "You are asking for a the code to be amended to add the words, 'grocery store' to two zoning districts. In my opinion, this can not be done. Effectively that is a rezoning and that can only be done if the board wants to go through with it."

Mendelson, however, argues that a rezoning is not possible because there is not a zone in the current village code that allows for supermarkets — Waldbams is only allowed in the village, he said by a special exception permit.

"They have a monopoly, he said.

When asked if he would consider applying for a special exception permit for his own property as Waldbaums had done, Mendelson said that it is something he would speak to his lawyers about, but reitereated that this is a fight for the people.

"This is something they want," he said and pointed to a telephone survey of 700 residents that he conducted. He said the survey revealed that 70 percent of those polled said they are in favor of a new supermarket and rather than shopping at the Westhampton Beach Waldbaums, they head to Hampton Bays to do their grocery shopping.

The Beav February 16, 2012 at 09:13 PM
How will a big grocery store survive in Westhampton when the village is boarded up shortly after Labor Day?
baywave February 16, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Everyone that I know hates shopping at WHB Waldbaums. They go to Riverhead to shop or to Stop & Shop in Hampton Bays. A decent grocery store would be welcomed and it would survive because it would bring a large number of people back to WHB to shop for groceries.
Marie S. February 17, 2012 at 02:54 PM
We need and want a grocery store alternative to the dreadful Waldbaums in WHB. The key question is who is Waldbaums paying off to block this?
Kathryn knowlton February 17, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Get a Trader Joe's!
Barbara Dittemore Knopke February 19, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Where on Old Riverhead Road are they thinking of putting this store if approved?
Sug Tonmi February 21, 2012 at 12:07 AM
The developer ownes the property just south of the railroad tracks on the west side of the road, that should be interesting in the summer when the traffic backs up for half a mile waiting for the train to load and the rail road crossing gates are down.
Barbara Dittemore Knopke February 21, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Thanks for the information Sug.

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