Whether the Village of Southampton will have a Citarella market will likely be decided at Monday’s Village Planning Board meeting—but all indications are that it will happen.
Starting to dot their “I’s” and cross their “T’s,” board members engaged in a site plan review of Elka LLC’s application to convert the Hampton Road mini-mall into a Citarella, wrapped up discussions this past Monday about drainage at the property, a concern of some officials who pointed to flooding during rainstorms.
While the board was not polled, Chairman Roy Stevenson said last month that members were optimistic about the application.
Board member Warren Hamer said on Monday night that it looks likely that the board will give the plan a green light. “There is a good chance of it being approved,” he said.
Although not required, the applicant, property owner Arturo Quiros has agreed to install rings to collect rainwater in addition to a new septic system. The Suffolk County Department of Health is currently reviewing the plans for the proposed septic system.
In November, Elka LLC submitted a site plan application to the Planning Board. Since a market is a permitted use under current zoning, the proposal would not require a change of use variance, just approval of the interior changes. The building currently has 11,451 square feet of retail space on the first floor and 1,777 square feet of non-medical office space upstairs. The plan would combine 20 Hampton Road, which is a single-story building, and 22 Hampton Road, which is a two-story building.
The owner, Arturo Quiros, would transform the buildings into a single use by removing walls and reconfiguring the space to accommodate a market. An upgraded septic system and new stormwater basin behind the China Garden restaurant also are a part of the site plan.
According to Village Attorney Elbert W. “Beau” Robinson Jr., there is substantial water runoff at the property and a village engineer suggested that Elka LLC install recharge basins underneath the village parking lot behind the buildings and asked Mr. Quiros if he would do so.
Mr. Quiros agreed to it and sent two letters to the Village Trustees requesting their stamp of approval. In the meeting, Mr. Bennett said the trustees had not replied and so he and Mr. Quiros agreed to keep the offer open until May 1, 2015. If the Village trustees accept, the owner of the property would have permission to enter on village property—the parking lot—and install the basins. Mr. Bennett said the work would not be done during the summer season, but likely during the fall.
Planning Board members later brought up a parking issue that has been the center of controversy in recent months. Since there is no requirement for additional parking to accommodate the new market, some community members have expressed concern.
Board members said that they have no jurisdiction over parking and that they have reached out to Mayor Mark Epley to see what could be done—ultimately it falls to code enforcement, they said, but the Planning Commission will be working on a plan to maximize parking, also.
Planner Kathy Eiseman, an employee of Nelson, Pope & Voorhis of Melville and who works as a full-time consultant for the Village Planning Board, said it is important to note that the board members seriously considered parking, despite their inability to take it into account in their decision.
“We might want to acknowledge in the resolution that the Planning Board did wrestle with the fact that there is no additional parking on the property,” she said.