July 05, 2006
Big Box Store Legislation Passes
After months of discussion and an outpouring of public comment, the Southold Town Board voted recently to amend the town code on the size and use of retail businesses in the hamlet business and business districts.
The decision to adopt the changes was made only days before a moratorium on big box stores was set to expire.
The bottom line? Across the board, members of the community were heard loud and clear as they sent a strong message to big box stores: Go home!
But concerns over whether new legislation would inadvertently prove ness centers for supermarkets only, provided 70% of the merchandise offered is food.
There was no support on the board for drive-through businesses in town.
Acting Planning Department Head Mark Terry injected language into the code stating that "no standardized, unarticulated building used in four or more buildings nationwide" would be acceptable, "a sneaky, but good," way of putting the brakes on big box stores in town, said the board.
In the hamlet business center, retail stores greater than 3000 total square feet will be required to comply with design standards and reviewed by both the planning and architectural review boards. Design standards have also been amended based on public comment.
Retail businesses between 6000 and 12,000 square feet can still be accommodated by special exception, providing an impact statement is submitted by the applicant.
In the business zoned district, an applicant is allowed up to 4000 square feet as of right, with design standards required for retail stores between 4000 and 8000 feet. A retail business between 8000 and 15,000 square feet will be permitted by special permit as long as an impact statement that is paid for by the applicant is rendered.
A temporary 90-day moratorium was enacted on October 4, 2005 after an application for a building permit was received on July 8. The application for a proposed CVS pharmacy at 53530 Main Road in Southold on a 2.25-acre parcel of property was submitted by RIPCO Real Estate IV Corporation and was denied.
Assistant Town Attorney Kieran Corcoran incorporated the discussed revisions into the code and the amended legislation was voted unanimously into effect.
Chickens and Ducks, Oh My
The board agreed with Russell's proposal to put limits on how many pets in a residential neighborhood is just too many. Some residents, said Russell, are keeping all manner of animals, including llamas, peacocks, chickens, roosters, and horses in residential neighborhoods: "It's time to start legislating good manners."onerous to small mom-and-pop stores and other hometown businesses were also addressed.
The end result was one the board favored.
"I am delighted with the passage of the legislation, which should preserve our small town character and protect us from being homogenized like the rest of Long Island," said Councilman Bill Edwards. "Moreover, it was accomplished with the active participation of the local business community and was crafted to keep out big box stores, while not catching up small entrepreneurs in the net."
The newly adopted legislation underwent a number of transformations and revisions based on the concerns of Southold residents.
After three public hearings on the matter, residents most recently expressed concern over restrictions on gross floor area. Southold attorney Pat Moore pointed out that gross floor area actually includes basement space and the legislation could prove a problem for retail businesses, such as boat or car dealerships that require "a large area of floor space."
The board made revisions and now, unfinished attics and basements are excluded.
Also of concern to many was the inclusion of supermarkets. Many felt businesses, such as the local IGA would be unable to expand without going to the zoning board of appeals for a use variance.
The board listened, and as a result, the new code will allow up to 25,000 square feet in hamlet and hamlet busi