Tag Archive | "Save Bridgehampton Main Street"

Planners Take a First Look at Bridgehampton CVS Proposal

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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.

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.

Bridgehampton CVS Foes Take Their Fight to Town Board

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Bridgehampton residents descended on the Southampton Town Board in force to oppose a CVS Pharmacy at the hamlet’s busiest intersection. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz

 

By Stephen J. Kotz

The news that the pharmacy giant CVS wants to build a store on the busiest intersection in Bridgehampton has been the talk of the hamlet in recent months, with volunteers proffering petitions at the Bridgehampton Post Office and even starting a Facebook page, Save Bridgehampton Main Street, in opposition.

On Tuesday night, residents took their fight to the Southampton Town Board, where many of them had worked themselves into an ornery mood after they were forced to wait as part of a standing room audience through more than two hours of public hearings before they got their chance to speak.

Their frustration was only stoked when Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst repeatedly tried to explain to them that the town board had no jurisdiction over the matter and that they would be better off taking their gripes to the planning board when and if it entertains an application for the property on the northwest corner of the Montauk Highway and Bridgehampton Turnpike.

“CVS is a radical proposal, aggravating a saturated situation,” said Nancy Walter-Yvertes, who is also a co-chairwoman of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, which has been voicing its opposition to the project for months. She said the corner would be better suited to a building with small shops or offices, or even a public green, instead of the 9,000-square-foot CVS rumored to be on the way.

A recent poll of 24 Main Street merchants found them all opposed to the idea, and more than 90 percent of the people asked to sign a petition opposing the possible development did so, she added.

Norm Lowe, another CAC member, said he found the town board to be “disingenuous” and charged that town employees were willing to “trash” the comprehensive plan to grease the skids for a CVS. Mr. Lowe said he had been particularly rankled to learn that chief building inspector Michael Benincasa, had met with CVS representatives to discuss their options for the site with them.

“In the end, he was counseling CVS on the shenanigans they could pull to get around the limit,” he said.

Ms. Throne-Holst later stressed that town officials did not deny that Mr.  Benincasa may have spoken to CVS. “That’s part of our job here, that is part of the service we provide,” she said, whether it be a corporation or an individual asking questions about what needs to be done to get a building permit.

At one point, Ms. Throne-Holst called upon Kyle Collins, the town’s director of land management, to provide an overview of the situation. “I think we need to clarify something at this point. I don’t want all of you to waste your time and breath,” she said, as she looked out over the sea of faces filling the meeting room. “First of all, it is not a town board matter, it is a planning matter,” she said, “We have a separation of church and state, for lack of a better term.”

Mr. Collins told the audience that a building permit is in place for the shell of a 9,000-square-foot building, which can have several uses as allowed in the village business zone as long as none of them occupy any more than 5,000 square feet. If that were the case, it would trigger the need to apply for a special exception permit from the planning board, he said.

“We do not currently have an application, even for the buildout of the site,” he said, adding that if an application came in that called for a use of less than 5,000 square feet, it would qualify for a building permit with no further review.

“I find it interesting that a lease has already been signed off on with a company that is not interested in developing a property that is under 5,000 square feet,” said Paul Orenstein, the owner of the Main Street-based Hampton Briggs Antiques. “It’s putting the cart before the horse in that there is already a lease with the hope of getting the exception.”

Mr. Orenstein added that traffic is already a nightmare at the corner and that that there had been recent efforts to save historic buildings like the Rogers House, owned by the Bridgehampton Museum, and the Topping-Rose House, which has been converted into a high-end restaurant and inn.

“The thought of putting a franchise pharmacy and sundries store at the entrance to Bridgehampton, I think, is a travesty,” he said.

Eric Lemonides, the owner of Almond restaurant and a resident of Lumber Lane, echoed that theme, saying the store would bring in heavy traffic and not fit in with the character of Bridgehampton. He said would-be customers would be less likely to frequent his restaurant if it were “across the street from a place that is selling cigarettes, condoms and Red Bull.”

Gloria Berkoski, a Lumber Lane resident, limited her concerns to traffic, saying there was simply not enough space for cars to get in and out of the parking lot. “In my mind things like that shouldn’t be put there just for traffic reasons alone,” she said.  “And that’s not even taking into consideration the trade parade every day.”

Bonnie Lowe, a CAC member, said she had heard rumors that CVS had been “counseled to break up into two corporations, one to sell their junk food, one for their pharmacy.” Mr. Collins replied that even if it did that it would still require a special exception permit.

Fred Cammann, a longtime CAC member, said that people had come to the town board because “they are scared to death” the planning board will approve it.

“In the opinion of 90-percent of Bridgehampton if this exception is granted, it will be politics that dictated it,” he added.

“What I’m hearing is a real lack of confidence in our community,” said Julie Burmeister, another CAC member. “That’s our fear, that somehow we are going to get steamrolled. That’s why we are here.”

But Ms. Throne-Holst repeated that it was not a town board decision and that the BCAC had supported the design of the building, which replaced the old Bridgehampton Beverage store. “The Bridgehampton community actually supported that building. Let’s be clear on that,” she said, repeating that the community’s only line of defense was with the planning board.

“I think it works very well for you that there are two members of the planning board who live in Bridgehampton,” she added.