Almost a dozen residents voiced their opposition to a 19-lot subdivision proposed for Remsenburg during last week’s public hearing before the Southampton Town Planning Board.
“I am very concerned about the opening on Nidzyn Avenue and the safety of our children,” said Diane Gregor of Remsenburg, referring to plans to have two entrances—one on Nidzyn and a second on South Country Road—to the proposed subdivision, called the Estates at Remsenburg.
The development, which would be built on 23 acres of residentially zoned land situated between South Country Road, Nidzyn Avenue and Matthews Drive, has been in the works—and under public scrutiny—for about three years.
In late 2012, the Planning Board adopted a pre-application report mandating that the subdivision—which still calls for the renovation and resale of three historic houses on the property, as well as the preservation of about 25 percent of the land—have both entrances. The updated proposal also calls for four flag lots instead of the two previously proposed by property owner Lawrence Citarelli, who purchased the land in 2010 for $2.4 million.
The proposal now before the board is a hybrid of eight different scenarios presented to the board in May 2012 and, according to the attorney for the applicant, takes into account all town and Suffolk County requirements and input from community residents.
In his original proposal, Mr. Citarelli wanted only one entrance, along South Country Road, for the subdivision that would have led into a cul-de-sac. That proposal, however, was met with overwhelming disapproval during the initial pre-application hearing. Since then, the proposal has undergone several revisions based on recommendations from the Planning Board, community members and the developer.
Those who voiced their opposition last Thursday night, May 8, during the first public hearing on the preliminary application were mostly residents of Nidzyn Avenue. Their concerns, which were echoed several times, focused on the noise created by the construction of the homes and the safety of children due to an expected increase in traffic. Mr. Citarelli is looking to build 16 new homes, on lots ranging between three-quarters of an acre and 1 acre, and also renovate the three preexisting structures. He intends to sell all 19 homes.
Attorney Wayne D. Bruyn, of Southampton law firm O’Shea, Marcincuk and Bruyn, who is representing Mr. Citarelli, said the current plan takes into consideration all of the issues previously raised by residents and town officials. It also takes into account all the information gathered through traffic studies, an archaeological examination of the land, and a report that investigated the historic value of the three preexisting homes.
He also noted that the volume of information gathered during the process delayed last week’s hearing on the preliminary plan by about two years. The original pre-application report was submitted to the town in late 2012.
The final application could be before the Planning Board on Thursday, June 12, and, unless there is a roadblock, members could vote on the application by Thursday, June 26.
Thomas Collins, a commissioner of the Eastport Fire District, said he was particularly frustrated with the proposed flag lots, noting that they will prove problematic for firefighters responding to emergencies.
“These flag lots are a joke,” he said. “You asked for our input—we input, we get nothing.”
The proposal still dedicates 25 percent of the property as open space for the town, which would take over the upkeep of the land. That transfer of ownership concerned those in attendance last week, with some asking how the town intends to maintain the property and prevent illegal dumping there.
Candace Andrew, who lives on Nidzyn Avenue, said illegal dumping has been an ongoing problem along her block. “Our street is a big part of our community,” she said, “but we’ve had problems with dumping before.”
Other residents said they are worried about the headlights of the cars belonging to the new homeowners disturbing them at night. Mr. Bruyn said the land being donated to the town will offer some protection to those homeowners.
A few people in attendance also said they are concerned about the amount of noise that would be generated by the construction, and the possible damage to their residential streets by heavy machinery.
“It is a concern of the community that the amount of trucks tearing up the paved roads,” said Planning Board member Jacqui Lofaro. “Perhaps there’s a creative way to minimize the impacts?” she asked of the attorney.
She also suggested completing the project in phases, to help alleviate some of the noise. Mr. Bruyn said his client would consider all suggestions made by the board.
Planning Board members closed the public comment portion of the hearing last week, though residents have another three weeks, or 30 days total, to submit their written comments to the board.