Tag Archive | "CVS"

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.”

New Village Code Moves Towards Public Hearing

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Despite over a half-dozen public meetings on the proposed changes to the Village of Sag Harbor zoning code, and subsequent revisions, the code is now just about to embark on a public hearing process after village officials said this week they will likely complete any major changes to the draft code in the next couple of weeks.

On Monday, August 4 the village board of trustees held a work session on the proposed code. The almost three-hour session was also devoted to hearing out the close to 100 people in attendance on issues like affordable housing, formula store concerns and worries over 24-hour convenience stores making their way to Sag Harbor.

Last year the Village of Sag Harbor embarked on the creation of a comprehensive plan and full code revision aiming to protect the character and historic feel of the village, address affordable housing and to help fend off the influx of big box stores.

On Monday, Mayor Greg Ferraris announced the newest two revisions to the zoning code, including putting the Brinkley parcel on Long Island Avenue back into the Waterfront District. It had been placed in the Office District – a district that has shrunk dramatically since the code was first unveiled in April – because of its size. The village will also not require businesses use Suffolk County Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requirements for accessory apartments in the Village Business District – one of the affordable housing provisions proposed in the Local Workforce Housing Plan Ferraris developed last year.

“Just by the size and nature of the apartments we hope they will retain some affordability,” said Ferraris. An accessory review board, he added, will monitor the affordability of the units over the next year to year-and-a-half to see if changes need to be made.

The Office District, and specifically moving offices out of the Village Business District, has been a section of the code a number of building owners have taken exception with. On Wednesday, Ferraris noted a vast amount of research has been completed on the topic showing retail and restaurants bolster pedestrian traffic. In neighboring municipalities, like Southampton Village, officials are considering similar changes after pedestrian traffic began to die there.

Keeping residences, not offices, on the second floor was also important to the village as it buoyed affordable housing efforts the municipality has been striving to make. Ferraris said he would like to move forward with both eliminating offices in the Village Business District and with the current boundaries of the Office District. Current offices will retain a pre-existing, non-conforming status and can even change hands as office spaces, and second floor offices will be allowed as accessory to a first floor business.

Jane Holden, a Sag Harbor resident and real estate agent who works for Town & Country – a firm recently denied exemption from the moratorium for site plan review to move into the retail space Candy & Flowers – said she found it difficult to agree with the planning board’s decision because it effectively made a certificate of occupancy for the building moot.

Ferraris said uses were being considered as they appear today, not what existed in the past. Country Lane, the space next to Candy & Flowers, albeit in the same building, once had office space.

Trustee Tiffany Scarlato noted certificates of occupancy are suppose to be updated to reflect current uses.

Resident and building owner Larry Baum said he felt the board should create a percentage of spaces in the Village Business District that can be offices.

Ted Seiter, a building owner, said he did have a second floor office and wondered what would happen to the space under the proposed code.

Ferraris explained it could remain an office, change hands as an office and as long as it was never converted to an apartment would retain that status.

“Good,” said Seiter. “Anyone interested in renting an office?”

Frank D’Angelo, who owns Emporium True Value Hardware, said he viewed the burden placed on businesses to provide affordable housing ironic, as it was the gentrification of Sag Harbor in residential neighborhoods that made it an unaffordable place to live.

Ferraris noted the village is going to restrict the conversion of multi-family homes and in the future will require homeowners looking to build or expand their residences over a certain square footage pay into the Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust.

D’Angelo said he hopes he will not hear the echo of “not in my backyard” when the first affordable housing project commences in Sag Harbor.

A superstore is now described as being 10,000 square feet, said Ferraris, although at the meeting Save Sag Harbor’s Susan Mead expressed concern formula businesses would still find their way into Sag Harbor regardless of the code.

Convenience stores are proposed as legal when accessory to a gas station, but Mia Grosjean expressed concern that could mean a 24-hour business in residential neighborhoods. The board cannot legally limit hours of operation, and said they would consider changing or revising this part of the code.

Above: Sag Harbor Village Planner Rich Warren and Village Attorney Anthony Tohill at the Sag Harbor Board of Trustee’s code work session on Monday, August 4. Second photo: A crowd of about 100 gathered in the Municipal Building to debate the draft code. Third photo: Jane Holden expresses concerns with aspects of the code that prevented Town & Country, the real estate company she works for, from moving into a Main Street, Sag Harbor retail location. Bottom photo: Frank D’Angelo, owner of Emporium True Value Hardware, talks about affordable housing.