The Southampton Town Board is to vote Tuesday on a proposed zoning change for a workforce housing and retail complex in Speonk.
The proposal for Speonk Commons, a 38-unit housing project that would be built on 4.27 acres on the west side of North Phillips Avenue in Speonk, had previously raised concerns among some residents who feared such a zoning change could spur more development.
The developer, Jericho-based Georgica Green Ventures, requested a change of the zoning at the parcel to multifamily residential. The housing proposal had originally called for roughly 51 housing units, but it was trimmed to contain fewer apartments.
Residents and others who spoke at the March 22 public hearing at the Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School in Remsenburg were largely supportive of the project, though some cautioned the town board against setting precedents for other, larger projects in the future.
Mary Griner, of Remsenburg, said she supported the project “because it is affordable housing, and I know people who work in the Town of Southampton, but who live very far and would be wonderful neighbors.”
Emily Sands, a Remsenburg resident who owns property next to the development site, spoke in favor of the project. “The site plan isn’t perfect, but we have made progress,” she said.
While stating he had reservations about potentially allowing denser development projects in the future, Bob Mozer, co-president of the Speonk Remsenburg Civic Association, said he accepted the project and hoped it would “provide affordability to the young . . . and to seniors who wish to stay here in their retirement.”
However, Peter Podlas, an architect with a firm based in Remsenburg, said he was against the development, stating the site plans for the project, which he said he reviewed, had “too much density.”
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who noted the need for such housing in town, said afterward the largely favorable comments made at the meeting were “rare” for a development issue, and a good sign heading into the Tuesday vote.
David Gallo, president of Georgica Green, said he was optimistic the zoning change would pass. While saying that he wanted to continue working with the community on the project through the site plan process, Gallo said he was pleased with the comments from those speaking in favor of the zoning change.
“If you listened to what people were saying, that shows there is something special happening here,” Gallo said.