A plan to build a CVS pharmacy at this site in Bridgehampton, now before the Southampton Town Planning Board, has drawn opposition from residents because of traffic concerns. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.
By Stephen J. Kotz
The Southampton Town Planning Board last Thursday, August 14, took its first look at a proposed plan to build a CVS pharmacy on a vacant parcel on Montauk Highway and the Sag Harbor-Bridgehampton Turnpike.
The applicant, BNB Ventures IV and CVS Caremark, is seeking a special exception permit to allow it to use an already approved two-story, 9,030-square-foot building for a pharmacy. A special exception permit is required because the nearly quarter-acre corner lot is in a Village Business zone, where individual retail uses are limited to 5,000 square feet.
Since it was revealed late year that CVS was considering building a store at the site—at the busiest intersection in Bridgehampton—residents have rallied against the plan, arguing that a store there would create a traffic and parking nightmare.
At last week’s meeting, the planning board simply started the process by which it will be determined whether it or the Suffolk County Department of Health Services will be the “lead agency” during the processing of the application under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.
According to Kyle Collins, Southampton Town’s planning and development administrator, the county health department has until September 14, to weigh in on the application, although it could respond sooner. Typically, the county cedes that authority to the town government.
Under SEQRA, applications are considered Type I, which presumes an environmental impact statement must be completed; Type II, for which an EIS cannot be required; and “unlisted,” which means the planning board will have the final say in determining whether an EIS should be required.
Mr. Collins, responding to questions by email, said the earliest a public hearing could be held on the application is October 10. However, if the board were to require an environmental impact statement, that time could be extended for several months.
Members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee and other residents have been up in arms over the thought of a CVS being built at the corner since last winter.
A spin-off organization, Save Bridgehampton Main Street, was created largely to oppose the plan. It has hired an attorney commissioned a traffic study of the kind of impact a CVS would have.
In May, Bridgehampton residents converged on a town board meeting to demand that the board intervene to prevent the project from moving forward, but Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst told the crowd that the town board had no power to interfere with the planning board’s process.
Since that time, Bridgehampton residents have called on the town to negotiate with the property’s owner, BNB Ventures IV, to buy the parcel as a possible corner park.
And earlier this summer, residents holding signs and shouting slogans, gathered at the site for a pair of protests.