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Southampton’s Tuckahoe Center: Final Vote Still Not Confirmed

The sometimes contentious response to a proposed retail center in the Tuckahoe hamlet of Southampton, as proposed by Southampton Venture LLC, has stirred community members, as well as business owners to take a definitive pro/con stance as to the detriments and/or benefits the proposed Center will create in the Town of Southampton.

The proposed 38,000 square foot grocery store as well as a 3,000 square foot bank, and 11,500 square foot retail space, would cover approximately seven acres at the intersection of Magee Street and County Road 39 in the already heavily trafficked route into the Hamptons, as well as cause potential disruption to the quality of life for the surrounding residential areas; concerns which have not been abated by lead developer, Robert Morrow after more than two years from the initial proposal. Morrow himself owns residential zoned property in the proposed area, and has requested a change of zone on some existing four properties. If successful, that rezoning would allow for businesses that generate high traffic.

Although approved by the Suffolk County Planning Commission for change of zoning, and now only requiring three votes from Town Board members for final approval, Morrow has also partnered with local businessmen who support the proposal, even though a recent study indicated that the road itself is already near its maximum traffic capacity, with many concerned that approval would lead to rezoning and ultimately a strip mall, big-box center such as exists in Riverhead, not to mention the potential adverse effects on existing local businesses.

Those in favor of the project contend that the existing aesthetics of the proposed area would only be improved from their present condition, and would furthermore provide additional ease, proximity, and convenience for community members for shopping, and believe the traffic will not worsen.

At the last public hearing held in late January, again no vote was reached, however, community members may still vote in the written comments section on the Town Board of Southampton's website, and those comments will become part of the record. This option, which is available for 30 days from the January 24 meeting, still has a few weeks left.

The next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 21, will probably not contain an agenda item regarding the final decision according to the Town Board's office, however, the Board did discuss the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) at this last public hearing.

To leave a comment, visit www.southamptontownny.gov, and for further information on those in favor of the shopping center go to www.tuckahoecenter.com.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.

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