Southampton Town officials inched closer toward beginning a formal review process for the controversial Tuckahoe Center project on County Road 39, which would include a 40,000-square-foot supermarket, 15,000 square feet of retail stores and a bank.
The town board Tuesday held a two-hour scoping session to get public comment on what items should be considered in a formal review of the application, then closed it after saying it would take further written comment for the next 30 days.
Several people, including Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley, urged the board take no final action on the proposal until studies on the economic and environmental impact of the project are completed.
Town officials do not expect formal public hearings until next fall at the earliest.
Epley said the zoning changes that would be required could lead to urban sprawl along the Route 39 corridor and would have a negative impact on the village's business district. "My fear is that a precedent is being set," he said.
John Wagner, an attorney for the developers, said the property is now zoned for highway business, which allows for auto dealerships and other low-traffic businesses. He said the new center would have 217 paved parking spaces and a 100-foot landscaped setback from the road, twice the size required by town code.
Virtually all of the speakers complained about the project or said they were worried about its impact, from extra traffic to noise and truck emissions.
The original proposal was for more than 12 acres of land, while the cutdown plan uses about seven acres. There is no formal plan for the rest of the property, which is zoned for residential development.