About 100 people gathered yesterday outside Southampton Town Hall to show their support for a controversial proposed shopping center in Tuckahoe.

Demonstrators clad in bright green shirts reading “Yes Tuckahoe Shopping Center” said they want the town to approve zoning changes to allow the construction of the 52,000-square-foot project. 

They said the center, which would include a King Kullen supermarket and 15,000 square feet of retail space, would make it easier for them to get affordable food without having to drive to other towns.

“We’re looking for a better price and a more accessible store,” said Tom Ackerson, 70, who lives in Speonk and works in construction in Southampton. He noted the town has just one supermarket in Tuckahoe and an aging population that needs more nearby stores.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who came out of Town Hall to discuss the proposal with demonstrators, said his main concern is that the project will cause more traffic on weekends, when the town is already congested with tourists. Citing traffic studies, he said he was also concerned about a lack of traffic lights in front of the center.

“I’m going to continue to listen, and then I’ll make a decision,” Schneiderman said. “The odds are not in their favor.” 

The rally was organized by Lance Nil, a partner in the project. 

More than 200 people attended a Jan. 26 Town Hall meeting on the shopping center, and attendees who spoke to the board were split on the project. 

Public comment on the proposal is set to close today. The town’s planning director will then have up to 30 days to give the board a findings statement.

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