Southampton Town residents are split on the appropriateness of a zoning proposal that would allow the construction of a 52,000-square-foot shopping center in Tuckahoe.
The proposal calls for changing the highway business zoning on property at the southwest corner of County Road 39 and Magee Street to a shopping center business zoning. The change would allow construction of the Tuckahoe Center, which would feature a King Kullen supermarket and about 15,000 square feet of additional retail space.
A Southampton Town Board hearing on the issue Tuesday drew more than 200 people, with more than 80 of them commenting on the proposal.
Residents, elected officials and conservation advocates opposing the project said the shopping center would create more traffic congestion. They also questioned the need for another shopping center.
“This proposal is focused on nothing but big profit,” said Renee Morrison, a Shinnecock Hills resident who pointed out several stores she frequented in the area of the proposed shopping center. “I can get anything I need in any of these locations in a pinch. I do not need a shopping center.”
Suffolk County Legis. Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac) called the project “ill-conceived.”
“The fact of the matter is that we cannot do enough to reduce congestion here,” Fleming said at the meeting. “Common sense says it’s a terrible deal for the town of Southampton and I would urge you to vote against it.”
Project officials said the traffic study undertaken for the shopping center showed the new supermarket would not bring in new customers, but would cut down on travel for residents now shopping elsewhere by as much as 690,000 miles annually.
Southampton resident Scott Armusewiczs said the shopping center would be a help to the younger population in the town as a source for new jobs and a closer place for residents to shop.
Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said after the hearing that the board would likely make a decision on the project in mid-February after the written public comment period closes Feb. 7. The town’s planning director has as long as 30 days after the comment period to give the board a findings statement.
Lance Nil, a partner in the project, said he would “hope that the board looked at the facts” before making its decision.