The owners of an East Quogue hardware and equipment supply and repair store are asking the Southampton Town Board to shift the hamlet’s zoning district by about 100 feet to allow for the future expansion of their business.
With former town supervisor and East Quogue resident Patrick Heaney leading the pitch, one of the owners of Loper’s Equipment Corporation, Brian Curran, is requesting that the town move the line designating the Hamlet Office zoning district to the west by one property. If approved, the change will allow the family-owned company to expand into a now-vacant 7,000-square-foot building next door to the Montauk Highway business. The current zoning allows only for offices, though the last tenant was a furniture company.
The change is needed, according to the owners of Loper’s Equipment, to allow it to expand its retail hardware and home improvement offerings so it can better compete with the larger chains, including The Home Depot and Lowe’s in Riverhead.
“Brian and his company see this as a perfect place to do a local ‘big-box’ hardware store to satisfy the needs of residents and tradespeople living in the area,” Mr. Heaney told board members during last week’s work session.
The building in question was built in 1957 and has housed a variety of businesses over the years, including companies that sold furniture and patio equipment, and even a beverage distributor. In recent months, Mr. Heaney said, it has become an eyesore, and the latest proposal could substantially improve the look of the property at the western entrance to the hamlet’s business district.
Changing the zoning on the property would require shifting the downtown’s Hamlet-Commercial zone by 108 feet west. Mr. Heaney pointed out that all of the adjacent businesses, on both sides of the street, are commercial in nature: an auto repair shop, a tire and brake service shop, and two delis. He also pointed out that to the east the businesses are more of the sort one expects to find in a hamlet-office zone, including some that are housed in former homes.
East Quogue Civic Association President Al Algieri said his organization was in favor of the change, noting that it will rid the hamlet of what he described as hated signs of the former furniture business.
Board members said they were agreeable to the proposal and Town Planning and Development Administrator Kyle Collins said he would present them with a resolution calling for a public hearing to modify the zoning line at the next board meeting on Tuesday, July 9.