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.