If Tony Lawless could get the zoning change he needs at Cromer’s Country Market just based on people’s endorsements of his charitable works and excellent sandwiches, he would probably already have it.
But the Southampton Town Board, which held a public hearing Tuesday on a zoning change for the next-door residential lot where Mr. Lawless is seeking to legalize a parking area used for two decades as employee parking, is poised to tap the Southampton Town Planning Board for some conditions on the approval of that zoning change.
The change would switch the residential zoning (R-40) of the .1-acre property, known as 5 Cedar Lane, to hamlet/commercial (HC) zoning. The small cottage on the property would be used as an office space for the market employees. Mr. Lawless’s attorney, Timothy McCulley, said Mr. Lawless intends to eventually merge the two lots together if the zoning change can be achieved.
Screening for the neighbors and impervious surface area requirements that come with HC zoning are examples of conditions that the planning board may require, according to Janice Scherer, Southampton’s assistant town planner. The conditions would be accomplished through a Southampton Town Planning Board proceeding, Ms. Scherer told the Southampton Town Board on Tuesday.
“It’s pre-existing non-conforming,” she said. “By changing the zoning, you would actually make it conforming.”
During Tuesday’s public hearing, several Noyac residents were on board with the rezoning.
“I’m in support of changing it. It seems like a simple thing to do,” said John Arendt, who also said he hoped more could be done to calm traffic in the area.
Elena Loreto, president of the Noyac Civic Council, called the change “a win-win for all.”
“The town gets to dictate exactly what can be done there,” she said. “It’s a plus for Cromer’s Market. This will allow Tony to improve the building itself. … He is willing to work with the town. Please grant this change.”
But not everyone endorsed the change. Frank Quatela, a resident of Cedar Lane, said the neighbors are “dealing with increased traffic, runoff, debris and garbage. … We’re asking for a little more consideration.”
Asked by Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman to respond to those concerns, Mr. McCulley said, “That’s the object of this whole proposal — to straighten this out.”
The Town Board voted to close the public hearing and wait for the planning board’s input in the next 30 days before making a decision on the zoning change.