Tag Archive | "CVS"

CVS Challenges Southampton Planning Board Decision

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CVS

By Mara Certic and Stephen J. Kotz

CVS Caremark and BNB Ventures IV have filed suit against the Southampton Planning Board last week over its October 9 decision to require an environmental impact study for a proposed pharmacy in Bridgehampton.

The property in question is owned by BNB Ventures IV and had previously been the subject of a site-plan approval for a 9,030-square-foot building. The two-story building was approved for several different retail uses as well as potential residential uses.

When rumors circulated earlier this year that the pharmacy giant was eyeing the busy corner of Montauk Highway and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike for a new store, Bridgehampton residents reacted angrily, first through the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, which called on the town to step in and prevent the application.

Later, an organization called Save Bridgehampton Main Street was spun off from the CAC to raise money to fight the project by conducting its own traffic study and hiring an attorney.

When CVS made its plans official in July by applying for a special exception permit to occupy the building, which is now under construction at the site, Bridgehampton residents staged protests at the site.

On October 9, the planning board voted unanimously to require an environmental impact statement for the CVS proposal, reversing an earlier decision to not require one for the original site plan.

Southampton Town Planner Claire Vail, who made the recommendation that the board adopt what is called a “positive declaration” under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, told the board a CVS at the busy corner would have adverse effects on both traffic and community character.

John Bennett, who represents CVS Caremark and BNB Ventures IV, expressed frustration at the board’s decision. He warned the board at the time he thought the decision was “textbook arbitrary action.”

He said on Monday he hoped to have a judge direct the planning board to process the application through its regular site-plan and special exception procedures and not require “a full-blown environmental impact statement.”

“The building that’s there now had a traffic study and they gave it a building permit,” Mr. Bennett said.

Mr. Bennett said the first thing he insisted on when he began representing CVS Caremark was that it conduct a traffic impact study. That study, he said, showed the pharmacy would not create a traffic disaster at the intersection, as many had worried. In fact, he said, the study showed there would be 50 fewer trips into the site per hour, than if the lot were to house multiple tenants.

“When they talk about actions that are likely to have a significant impact on the environment, they’re talking about 50 homes that are not connected to a public sewer or a public water system,” Mr. Bennett said in a phone interview on Monday.

“Moving a new tenant into a building under construction is not likely to have a significant impact,” he said.

The suit contends that CVS “is politically unpopular with some as not ‘high end’ enough for the Bridgehampton hamlet and has resulted in the town agencies bending to political pressure.”

The only difference, it continues, between the first site-plan and the new one is that “one tenant, as opposed to two, will occupy this already approved, under construction building.”

The suit says it is a simple “quirk” in the town code that requires retail uses of between 5,000 to 15,000 square feet to obtain a special exception permit in the Village Business district.

Furthermore, the suit contends that the town referred the application to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services in a bid to stall it from proceeding.

Although the town board is not named, the suit charges that its decision to hold a public hearing on proposal that would tighten the requirements for a special exception permit “demonstrates the clear illegal and purely political agenda of the respondent board and of the town officials.”

The code amendment, which among other things, would have required that an applicant demonstrate a need for the proposed development before a special exception permit could be issued, has been tabled by the town board.

The appearance of Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst at a recent Bridgehampton CAC meeting also caught the attention of the suit. At that meeting, Ms. Throne-Holst discussed the rebirth of the Bridgehampton Gateway project, the long stalled development of commercial properties on the south side of Montauk Highway across from the Bridgehampton Commons. She asked members what type of community benefit they would like to see if the town were to designate it a Planned Development District.  Several in the group immediately responded that it would make a better location for a proposed CVS.

“Further, and remarkably, the Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst appeared at a public meeting and discussed an alternative site for the CVS proposal, thus, creating a significant potential injury to petitioner established real property right,” the suit said.

On Wednesday, Dennis Finnerty, chairman of the planning board, said he was unable to comment on pending litigation. Carl Benincasa, attorney for the planning board, also declined to comment on the suit.

Bridgehampton To Revisit Gateway Project

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Five-year-old plans for the Bridgehampton Gateway Study will be revived and fine-tuned by the developer in time for him to present them to the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee at their next meeting on Monday, November 24. 

By Mara Certic

For five years plans for a new development across the street from the Bridgehampton Commons shopping center have been collecting dust, but Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst is hoping to polish up the Bridgehampton Gateway project.

Ms. Throne-Holst attended the Monday night meeting of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee for the second month in a row to float the idea of reviving conversations about a rezoning of the Konner property on Montauk Highway into a Planned Development District (PDD).

The 13-acre site is currently zoned for a mix of highway business and residential uses. The highway business zoning restricts the type of businesses allowed in the development to shops one might see alongside County Road 39, Southampton Town Planner Kyle Collins explained on Monday night.

PDDs, he and Ms. Throne-Holst said, allow the town to rezone lots it believes could better serve their communities and also allow town boards and the community to have a say in the development process.

Several years ago, the town suggested making this property a PDD, dubbing it the Bridgehampton Gateway project. After substantial public comment and input, the plans “fell apart because of some land management issues,” Ms. Throne-Holst said.

All 13 acres are now under common ownership, litigation related to the land is done and Ms. Throne-Holst is ready to reopen the conversation about the PDD, citing a concern that the current zoning is not adequate.

“Perhaps there’s a zoning component to this that doesn’t serve the community as best it could,” she said on Monday.

Another advantage of the town creating a PDD is that it requires the developer to include something in the plans to benefit the community. Mr. Collins and Ms. Throne-Holst said the specifics of just what that public benefit could be could be suggested by the community and could be one of many, many things. Open space, affordable housing and a walk-in clinic were all discussed as possibilities during Monday night’s meeting.

“Some of the public benefit is the design,” explained Mr. Collins, who showed old plans for the project, which included using farm-like buildings in order to build on the agricultural history of Bridgehampton.

During talks of public benefits, one woman stopped the conversation to bring up CVS, what she referred to as “the big elephant in the room.” Greg Konner, one of the developers, explained the property being discussed was currently not zoned for pharmacy uses, but that if it were to become a PDD, it could theoretically house, say a 9,050 square-foot chain drug store.

Mr. Konner joked that having a CVS in the proposed Bridgehampton Gateway project, as opposed to on the busy corner it’s planned for, could be the public benefit Bridgehamptonites are looking for.

Peter Wilson, a member of the CAC, was keen to remind Mr. Konner not to suggest that a big-box store such as a King Kullen or a CVS should be considered a public benefit. Mr. Wilson also expressed some concern that the developer would still make the final decisions and the CAC would be left in a situation of having to react after the fact, like with CVS.

The planners and supervisor assured Mr. Wilson that making the parcel a PDD would be one of the few ways to ensure the community does have some say in what ends up there.

“I say, for the love of God, let’s try it and not shoot it down by 9 o’clock at night,” CAC-member Fred Camman said at about 8:45 p.m. on Monday.

After ample discussion on the topic, the members of the CAC decided to throw their support behind the PDD project and passed a resolution to that effect.

Mr. Konner told the CAC he and his family, who own the property, were looking forward to “moving hand in hand with you guys to come up with a comprehensive plan we’re all happy with.” He said they will work on new plans and present them to the CAC at their next meeting on Monday, November 24.

Earlier in the meeting, former Peconic Baykeeper Kevin McAllister, who is now heading up an organization Defend H20, gave a presentation on the need to further protect and restore East End groundwater.

Environmental Impact Study Ordered for Potential CVS in Bridgehampton

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The Southampton Town Planning Board ruled last Thurday it will require an environmental impact study for CVS at the corner of Montauk Highway and the Bridgehampton Turnpike. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Mara Certic

At the end of a three-hour meeting on Thursday afternoon, the Southampton Town Planning Board ruled that it would require an environmental impact study for CVS pharmacy that has been proposed for a busy intersection in Bridgehampton.

Southampton Town Planner Claire Vail presented her recommendation to the board on Thursday after she discussed the standards of the State Environmental Quality Review Act. The application is considered “unlisted,” which means the planning board has the final say in whether or not an EIS is required.

CVS Caremark filed for a special exception permit in July to allow the pharmacy giant to occupy a 9,030-square-foot-building at the intersection of Montauk Highway, the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike and Lumber Lane.

Ms. Vail said on Thursday the proposed pharmacy could have significant potential adverse effects on both traffic and the community character, which lead the board to adopt what is called a “positive declaration,” requiring the environmental study.

In 2011, the planning board approved plans by BNB Ventures IV—the company that owns the land—to demolish the Bridgehampton Beverage store in order to put in its place a two-story Greek revival building. When approved in 2011, the planning board had determined the building would not have any adverse impact on its surroundings.

It was initially proposed the building would have a couple of retail spaces with offices or apartments upstairs, but the entire building was zoned for retail uses, which allows CVS to seek to merge the different retail spaces together to make one large store. But the town code requires developers seeking to build retail spaces larger than 5,000 square feet in the village business district to apply for a special exception permit, although the use is not prohibited outright.

News of CVS potentially taking over the busy corner caused outcry from members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, who in turn created the offshoot organization Save Bridgehampton Main Street in an effort to raise money to fund a potential legal battle.

A few dozen people showed up to Thursday afternoon’s planning board meeting, many of them sporting anti-CVS pins in their lapels, to listen to Ms. Vail discuss the board’s determination. Although members of the CAC had tried to make arguments that there might be impacts on the historic district or nature of the lot, which is the site of a historic tavern, Ms. Vail determined it unlikely the CVS would affect the historical character of the area.

“That triangle has some historic importance, but you already approved a building there,” said John Bennett, who is representing CVS Caremark.

Ms. Vail did, however, say that an almost 10,000-square-foot pharmacy on the busy corner would have a significant negative effect on the community character of Bridgehampton’s Main Street. Ms. Vail used copies of the Bridgehampton Hamlet Study and plans for the hamlet center as criteria, all of which named maintaining the community character as the village’s primary goal.

Ms. Vail also found there to be a significant potential negative impact on traffic in the area, thus requiring a traffic study.

Questions remain about how many parking spots there should be, as well as the scope of any traffic study. Mr. Bennett appeared to be frustrated following Ms. Vail’s presentation to the planning board.

He told the board the developers had already hired BHB Engineering to do a traffic study. “The first thing I insisted upon was a traffic impact statement,” he said. “You cannot under any guise use the traffic concerns here because that ship has sailed.”

Members of Save Bridgehampton Main Street also hired an engineer for their own traffic study, which will be read into the record at one of the upcoming public hearings on the application. Following the adoption of the positive declaration, a third traffic study will likely be conducted on the busy corner.

Mr. Bennett told the board this move was “textbook arbitrary action,” and warned the planning board to use only substantiated facts and expert testimony when making its decisions.  Mr. Bennett several times made reference to appealing the board’s decision. At one point, he said, “I guess a court will have to decide that.”

Wayne Bruyn, who is representing BNB Ventures IV, accused the board of standing alone with its staff on “a twisted interpretation of the code.”

The two attorneys spent approximately 45 minutes responding to Ms. Vail’s presentation and accused the board of acting illegally.

“I know you’re under a lot of political pressure, I ask you to consider what you said, I don’t see how you have the authority to do anything you’re doing today,” Mr. Bennett said.

When the board asked the lawyers for an adjournment in order to consider its reply, Mr. Bennett flatly refused and said “You’re going to do what you’re going to do.”

“You’ve had more than enough time” to prepare, Mr. Bennett added.  “You should have anticipated what I was going to say, you should have known it all along.”

The six members of the board present voted unanimously to accept the positive declaration. Public hearings and further environmental review will take place in the coming weeks.

 

Fight to Stop CVS Rages on in Bridgehampton

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By Mara Certic

Although contractors began clearing the proposed site for a CVS Pharmacy in Bridgehampton last week, Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee members donning anti-CVS pins on Monday seemed encouraged by the possibility an alternate site could be found for the store.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst asked to attend the CAC’s monthly meeting on Monday, September 22, in order to discuss some ideas around with residents of the hamlet, she said.

“There are a couple of facts I wanted to make sure to clarify,” Ms. Throne-Holst began on Monday. “We have gotten all of your emails, petitioning us to hold a public hearing,” she said. “We’ve done our best to explain, there is no legal vehicle for us to do that.”

Members of the CAC and the offshoot organization Save Bridgehampton Main Street have been writing to local officials asking them to hold public hearings about a proposed CVS on Bridgehampton’s busiest intersection.

Ms. Throne-Holst explained there is a “separation between church and state” when it comes to the town and its various appointed boards. “That doesn’t mean we don’t take this very seriously,” she added.

The decision to allow or deny CVS to open a store on a busy intersection in Bridgehampton, she repeated, lies solely in the hands of the planning board. “They have to be able to show by the letter of the law why they made the decision,” she said on Monday.

Former town planning director Jeff Murphree reiterated this and reminded the CAC members “the planning board has to focus its decision on facts.” Ms. Throne-Holst explained the appointed boards operate within certain classifications and parameters set by the state.

But what the town can do, she added, is tighten, add and subtract the parameters within that code. The town board held a hearing on Tuesday, September 23, about adding specific special exception permit standards for uses in excess of 5,000 square feet and less than 15,000 square feet.

Quite conveniently, at 9,030 square feet, the proposed CVS would be subject to the additional standards. “This is one that has been in the works for some time,” she said of the legislation.

Lawyers representing BNB Ventures IV and CVS Caremark spoke at the Tuesday’s public hearing opposing the legislation as written. John Bennett, who represents CVS, said this was “an illegal exercise of your powers as town board.”

He mentioned a court ruling from another, similar case, and said, “this administrative procrastination calculated to deny a property owner his right to use his land is supportable neither by law or by ethical practice.”

“I’ll ask you to have more character, more backbone and obey the law,” he told the board on Tuesday.

Wayne Bruyn, who represents BNB Ventures IV said, ““When I looked at this law I was in shock.”

Ms. Throne-Holst reiterated the amendment is a “part of that string of looking and relooking and improving on some of our land use codes.” The supervisor said the town was going to make amendments to the law and would keep the hearing open until the October 14 meeting.

On Monday Ms. Throne-Holst also discussed another planning opportunity she wanted to float by the most concerned Bridgehamptonites. The Konner Development, a 13-acre piece of land across the street from the Bridgehampton Commons, is currently zoned as a highway business, she explained, which restricts possible land uses.

There has, she said, been a lot of work already to have the property designated a Planned Development District or PDD. Ms. Throne-Holst explained the town board oversees PDDs, unlike other matters of planning. The PDD designation would allow the town to require the lots have certain buffering, vegetation, appropriate aesthetics and so on and added there is “A lot of community input to this process.”

“I’d like to think a little out of the box here,” she said. “What could we do that may serve this community in light of some of the activity that’s going on here at the moment?” she asked the group.

Within moments, one member of the group suggested it could be the new home for CVS. Ms. Throne-Holst, who wanted it to be known that the public had brought up this suggestion, told the CAC members she had spoken to Ms. Konner and referred to her as “a willing developer.”

“Because the decision lies with the town board it gives us opportunity for a lot of give and take,” she said.

If the site became a PDD, she said, it would have to have some sort of public benefit to the town. “We have an opportunity here to look at part of this town, part of this hamlet, that warrants a good hard look,” she said.

Leonard Davenport, member of the CAC, said he would draft a resolution that would throw the CAC’s “qualified support” behind the effort to create a PDD at the site. “This is good planning, this is what planning’s really about,” Peter Wilson told Ms. Throne-Holst.

“The PDD is a big potential development,” Mr. Davenport said after the meeting.

The CVS application will be discussed at the planning board meeting on Thursday, October 9.

 

Southampton Town Board To Add New Conditions to Special Exception Permits

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By Mara Certic

The Southampton Town Board is expected to add new standards, safeguards and conditions for retail businesses over 5,000 square feet that apply for special exception permits from the town Planning Board.

The news comes following highly controversial plans to build a 9,030-square-foot CVS pharmacy on the busy corner of Montauk Highway and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton. On July 28 of this year, BNB Ventures IV and CVS Caremark applied for a special exception permit from the planning board to open the two-story pharmacy on the lot previously occupied by a small beer distributor.

The proposal has caused distress for members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee and other residents, who have created an offshoot organization Save Bridgehampton Main Street, hired lawyers, done a traffic study and even held three protests and counting.

Those opposed not only fear that a CVS would negatively affect traffic on an already dangerous intersection, but worry that the pharmacy giant would detract from the rural charm of Bridgehampton’s village business district.

“We all know that one of our key assets is the character of our downtowns,” said Town Planning and Development Administrator Kyle Collins at a town board work session on Thursday, September 4.

He explained the prior town board adopted a special permit exception for uses in the village business district between 5,000 and 15,000 square feet but added, “the code does not provide for safeguards or conditions with that kind of special exception law.”

He explained special permit exceptions exist in the town code for certain land uses such as horse farms and marinas. “A lot of them are things that would be looked at through SEQRA,” or the State Environmental Quality Review Act, he said.

Although the general standards refer to things like traffic impacts, he said, the proposed new standards would require a traffic impact analysis as well. “Traffic is a key issue within all our business districts,” he said. Certain parking characteristics will be taken into account too, he added. The proposed 9,030-square-foot building, complete with basement and elevator, will have 10 parking spots for employees and clients, according to plans.

Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera said the special standards also include taking a deeper look at the surrounding local retail community and also will require a local market analysis. These safeguards would be put in place in order to protect existing businesses in the village business districts.

The town board scheduled a public hearing about the proposed new standards for Tuesday, September 23, at 6:30 p.m. Ms. Scalera said on Tuesday if the public hearing does not attract a huge crowd, “we’d put it on for the next meeting for adoption.”  After that point she said it typically would take two or three weeks for the law to be formally adopted and put on the books.

CVS opponents have said the pharmacy’s attorneys seem to be looking for a swift and speedy approval process, but if adopted by the board soon, the new standards could realistically slow them down.

Bridgehampton CAC Briefed on CVS, Landmarks Law and Takes Aim at Leaf Blowers

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By Mara Certic

Members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee seemed somewhat encouraged by a Southampton Town Planning Board meeting when plans for the much maligned, proposed CVS pharmacy were discussed for the first time.

Peter Wilson, a member of the CAC who was at the planning board meeting on Thursday, August 14, discussed the proceedings with his fellow CAC members at their monthly meeting on Monday, August 25.  “Essentially, it was totally process-oriented,” he said. The meeting was delayed by a full hour, he said, but he got the impression that the board “wanted to see this through properly and give it their due course,” he said.

CVS Caremark and BNB Ventures IV are seeking a special exception permit to build a pharmacy on a vacant lot at the corner of Montauk Highway and the Sag Harbor-Bridgehampton Turnpike. The plan has angered Bridgehampton residents who believe that the pharmacy would cause a traffic nightmare at an already dangerous intersection. “We’re hoping the next decision will go our way. This is somewhat of a win for us,” said CAC co-chairwoman Nancy Walter-Yvertes.

The Bridgehampton CAC announced that members of Save Bridgehampton Main Street will hold another protest at the proposed CVS site this Saturday, August 30, at 10 a.m.

Sally Spanburgh, chairperson of the Southampton Town Landmarks and Historic Districts Board, was invited to speak to the CAC about legislation that was recently passed in Southampton that provides an incentive for owners of historic houses to preserve them.

The new law allows homeowners who allow their houses to be designated landmarks to add a guest house or carriage house to their property. In exchange the town would extinguish one of its development credits. Ms. Spanburgh showed pictures of each of the 46 properties in Bridgehampton that would be “technically eligible” to build new structures under the new law, but explained that even some of those would pictured would not necessarily meet all of the requirements.

In other action, the CAC unanimously passed a resolution on Monday asking the  town to ban gas-powered leaf blowers during the summer season.

Bridgehampton resident Steve Jones has become somewhat obsessed by the excessive noise that the landscaping equipment creates without appropriate regulation, he said. “The landscape convoys that stream into our town every morning have turned our residential areas into industrial zones,” Mr. Jones said.

The town’s noise ordinance was adopted in 1983 and has not been amended in the past 20 years. The code states that during the day, airborne noises should be limited to 65 decibels, with some exceptions—none of which are for leaf blowers.

Many gas powered leaf blowers create noise of up to 100 decibels, creating winds of 200 miles per hour. Mr. Jones invited two doctors, and residents of Huntington, to address the Bridgehampton CAC on some of the other side effects of the gas-powered leaf blowers.

Doctors Lucy Weinstein and Bonnie Sager are members of Huntington CALM (Citizens Appeal for Leaf blower Moderation) who have been trying to restrict the use of the equipment in their town. According to Dr. Sager, 16 towns in Westchester County have restricted their use, the country Israel has banned them and the City of Toronto now hands out $5,000 fines to leaf blower operators.

Not only is the noise and air pollution harmful, but also according to the doctors, the leaf blowers throw up topsoil and nutrients, which results in the need for more fertilizers. Often, Dr. Sager said, lawns then become fertilizer-dependent, which, in turn, increases the nitrogen content in groundwater, potentially causing dangerous algal blooms.

The CAC members and the doctors discussed alternatives, mentioning electric and lithium-powered leaf blowers. Jeff Peters, who owns JCP Landscaping in Sag Harbor, uses gas-powered leaf blowers during the summer, he said. He has been using new, quieter leaf blowers in his business and added that a ban would result in higher bills for customers. A ban on leaf blowers would add 20 to 25 minutes of work per lawn, he estimated. Electric leaf blowers, he said, “have no power,” and require noisy generators themselves.

Mr. Jones said he had been in contact with Southampton Town Councilman Brad Bender about introducing some sort of legislation that would ban the gas-powered leaf blowers during the summer. Mr. Bender could not be reached for comment by the time of this paper’s publication.

Taking It to the Streets

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Members of Save Bridgehampton Main Street, an organization that was founded in large measure to fight the possibility of a CVS Pharmacy moving to the hamlet will gather again at 10 .m. on Saturday, July 19, to protest the possible development.

As they did at their first demonstration, on Thursday, July 10, protesters will gather in front of a vacant lot at the intersection of Montauk Highway and the Bridgehampton Turnpike.

The property, the site of the former Bridgehampton Beverage store, is owned by BNB Ventures, which has agreed to a lease with CVS for a 9,000-square-foot building it plans to erect at the site. The development would require a special exception permit from the Southampton Town Planning Board because current zoning limits individual uses to no larger than 4,500 square feet. An application has not yet been filed.

Crowd Gathers on Crowded Corner in Bridgehampton to Protest CVS

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Protesters gathered on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton to oppose a CVS Pharmacy at the corner.

 

 

 

By Stephen J. Kotz

About 50 Bridgehampton residents gathered at the corner of Montauk Highway and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike on Thursday morning to protest the prospect of a CVS Pharmacy being built on the busy intersection.

Many in the crowd carried signs with the name CVS crossed out or “No Chain on Main.”

They cheered as passing motorists in the slow moving, bumper-to-bumper traffic honked their horns in support.

“I think it’s a great showing, “said Nancy Walter-Yvertes, one of the founders of Save Bridgehampton Main Street, a civic organization that was formed largely to fight the CVS. “None of these people have ever demonstrated before. Ninety percent of these people have never held a sign before.”

Ms. Walter-Yvertes is also the co-chairwoman of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, which has also opposed the idea of the pharmacy coming to the busy corner.

 

CVS Foes Plan Bridgehampton Protest

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By Stephen J. Kotz

Members of Save Bridgehampton Main Street, a group that was formed in large part to fight the prospect of a CVS Pharmacy in the hamlet, are reaching back to a popular tactic from the 1960s—the protest march—as their latest weapon in their fight.

The protest, which will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 3, was the brainchild of Carey Millard, a member of both Save Bridgehampton Main Street and the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, which has also opposed the CVS.

After a recent CAC meeting, during which members seemed to be spinning their wheels, Ms. Millard said she was inspired to take to the streets.

“I just got irritated listening to all the bright ideas,” she said. “I just thought it was time we did something.”

She said on Tuesday that she had already reached out to about 20 friends to join in and that she and friends had made up about 40 signs, but that she really had no idea how many people would show up in front of Starbucks for the march.

“The worst thing that can happen is it will be a disaster,” she said. “And if that’s the case, we’ll just do another one on a weekend. Maybe we’ll just have to keep rubbing everyone’s noses in this business.”

At the same time, Leonard Davenport, who is also a member of both organizations, has sent the Southampton Town Board a petition collected by Save Bridgehampton Main Street requesting that the town try to use Community Preservation Fund money to buy the property in question—a corner lot at Montauk Highway and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike—for preservation.

“He’s going to have to be turned into a willing seller,” said Mr. Davenport, referring to Paul Kanavos whose BNB Ventures owns the property as well as the former Bridgehampton National Bank building, which is now occupied by Starbucks.

“There’s been a lot of talk about preserving that corner,” said Mr. Davenport, noting that opponents had received next to no negative feedback in their effort to block CVS.

“The town board is going to have to take that action. They are the ones who will have to take that approach,” he said.

When it was revealed earlier this year that CVS wanted to lease a 9,000-square-foot building that has been approved for the former site of the Bridgehampton Beverage store, members of the CAC hit the roof. They were apoplectic upon learning that the pharmacy giant, which had earlier sought to build stores in Wainscott and Sag Harbor, had actually signed a lease with BNB Ventures.

Because the CAC is an advisory committee to the town board, residents formed the new organization, Save Bridgehampton Main Street. That group has undertaken a fundraising drive to hire a lawyer as well as commission a traffic study.

In May, a horde of Bridgehampton residents descended on Town Hall demand the town board do something to stop the project, but their pleas were rebuffed by Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst who said the town could not interfere in a matter before the planning board.

Last month, members of the CAC decided they would use a broader argument to state their case by opposing all retail development at the corner.

“Let’s look at the larger picture,” said Mr. Davenport. “Almost anything that goes there of a substantial size will create a problem with parking and traffic.”

The petition, which asks the town board to buy the property, cites parking, traffic and a host of other reasons for preventing the CVS.

CVS Plans Cause Agita for Bridgehampton CAC

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Members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee are up in arms over a proposal to build a CVS pharmacy at the busy intersection of Montauk Highway and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike.  Stephen J. Kotz photo

By Stephen J. Kotz

The recent disclosure that the pharmacy giant CVS wants to open a store at a busy corner in Bridgehampton had members of the hamlet’s Citizens Advisory Committee reaching for their heartburn medication on Monday and threatening to hire their own lawyer to fight the proposal.

“It’s a shocking development,” said the CAC’s chairwoman, Nancy Walter-Yvertes, after explaining how she and other committee members had stumbled upon the knowledge that CVS, as has been rumored for several months, does indeed want to open a store at the bustling intersection of Montauk Highway and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike.

The committee chairwoman said CAC should take the unprecedented step of hiring its own attorney “to do something artful and legally slow down” the process.

Committee members have opposed the prospect of a CVS because, they say, it would snarl traffic at an already clogged intersection, there is insufficient parking at the site, and its operations, including deliveries and lighting, would have a negative effect on the community.

Ms. Walter-Yvertes said CVS had faced fierce opposition in Wainscott and Sag Harbor.

While CVS confirmed interest and the potential for a lease of the Long Island Avenue building that houses 7-Eleven and Sing City in 2007, no formal plans were ever filed with the Village of Sag Harbor. The village board did enact a new zoning code in 2009 that restricted the size of stores, effectively preventing any business from combining several spaces into one large store without significant review by the village’s planning board.

According to Ms. Walter-Yvertes, CAC members had recently inquired of Southampton Town officials about the possibility of CVS trying to build on that site and had been told the town had no specific knowledge of any such plans.

But when CAC members called the phone numbers listed on a sign at the property, which identifies the owner as BNB Ventures IV, they eventually received a return phone call from David J. Berman, CVS’s Director of Real Estate for Metro New York, who said the company would like to meet with CAC members to discuss the company’s plans. Mr. Berman could not be reached for comment this week.

“For close to two months we’ve been doing a lot of work on this,” said Norman Lowe, the CAC’s vice chairman. “I think we were stonewalled at Town Hall very effectively. For someone to say there was no identifiable action at Town Hall is poppycock in my mind.”

That accusation was news to Janice Scherer, a town planner who attended the meeting with Councilwoman Christine Scalera to answer the committee’s questions about the project.

“I can assure you nobody knew anything about CVS,” Ms. Scherer said, adding, “maybe someone knew somewhere, but it certainly wasn’t in the planning division. They are very quiet about these things.”

According to committee member Dick Bruce, who was one of those who sat in on the meeting with Mr. Berman, the company wants to develop a two-story building planned for the site into an 8,340-square-foot store that would have a pharmacy on the second floor and use the 4,400-square-foot basement for storage.

Mr. Bruce said the CAC had been originally told the building would house three 1,500-square foot businesses or offices on each of its two floors.

CAC members said the town has already issued a building permit for the exterior shell of a 9,000-square-foot, two-story building at the site. An additional permit would be required for interior work.

The property is zoned for village business, which limits individual uses to 5,000 square feet. A property owner can have a larger business, but must first obtain a special exception permit from the planning board.

Ms. Scherer said the special exception permit requirement was the town’s way of regulating what can be developed at the site. Residents, she added, could argue before the planning board that they wanted to restrict a “formula business” that would have negative impacts on the community, but “you can’t say we want this or that, or we want mom and pops to succeed.”

“The only place that we have a legal footing, any chance of stopping this thing is if we kill it in the planning board,” said Mr. Lowe.

Ms. Scalera said she did not want to weigh in on the application, but she agreed the CAC had legitimate reasons to voice its objections.

“The nature of what is being proposed there has been changed” since the building was approved, she said. “It is legitimate question for someone to say what is stop someone from taking over three places on Main Street and trying to do the same thing.”

There has been talk that CVS might try to set up two different corporate entities to try to get around the size limit, and Ms. Scalera said that determination would be in the hands of the town’s chief building inspector, Michael Benincasa, although she said she thought the building inspector “would be able to see through” any attempt to skirt the law.

Of Ms. Walter-Yvertes’ vow to hire an attorney, Ms. Scalera, who is an attorney herself, expressed doubts. “My cut is if a group of residents want to get together and hire an attorney, they would be well within their purview,” she said. “But I’ve never heard of a CAC hiring one. That would be unprecedented.”

A handful of residents who turned out for the meeting said they were totally opposed to a CVS at that corner. “I’m seeing an ‘Occupy Wall Street,’” said Theresa Quinn.

After offering a litany of concerns about the site, Tony Lambert said he was tired of the town not listening to the concerns of the CAC. “They have been doing this for years. They have been approving things for years without coming down to the CAC,” he said. “And when we try to intervene, we get nothing.”