It isn’t every day that you get to watch a new civic association being formed, but that’s just what happened Wednesday night in Mattituck, when a group of a dozen-and-a-half community members gathered in the basement of the Mattituck-Laurel Library to form the community’s first civic group.
Mattituck has its hands full with development issues — it has the most sprawling commercial district in Southold Town, which many in attendance fear will become a “dumping ground” for large stores that no other community in Southold would tolerate.
“At the end of the day, we’re looking to preserve local business people,” said Mattituck resident Marie Domenici. “When we let Rite Aid and CVS in, we put Barth’s Pharmacy out of business. We want to keep those people gainfully employed.”
Also of concern to attendees are the vacant building that had been slated to be a Hudson City Savings Bank, but is still sitting behind a chain link construction fence growing weeds, and the future use of the former Capital One Bank headquarters, a sprawling campus just west of Mattituck that is currently for lease.
Attendees also said they’d like to see action on a bus shelter on the south side of Route 25 across from the Waldbaums shopping center.
The group also plans to discuss a long-languishing proposal to turn the one-way end of Old Sound Avenue, between the Mattituck Presbyterian Church and the parking lot to the west of Love Lane, into a village green.
The civic association, which is being organized using a 501(c)4 tax status to enable the group to lobby the government, elected interim officers Wednesday night.
They also circulated bylaws based on the bylaws of the East Marion Civic Association, a feisty group that often prepares informational meetings for the community at large.
Professional mediator Mary Eisenstein, who led the meeting, agreed to serve as interim president until officers are officially sworn in in June, while Julie Amper agreed to serve as vice president.
Ms. Eisenstein conceived the idea for the Mattituck association after seeing how well the East Marion one was run while campaigning for a seat on the Southold Town Board two years ago.
The organization will begin collecting dues later this year.
Its mission statement, read aloud Wednesday night, is “To preserve and protect Mattituck-Laurel community’s character, natural environment—land, skies and waters—and our agrarian and maritime heritage by informed consideration of issues that affect these legacies, championing what will benefit and sustain our community now and for generations.”
Ms. Eisenstein said she had received calls from Cutchogue residents when they heard about the organization asking if Cutchogue can be included in the civic association.
“We’ll save that for another meeting,” she said.
The civic association will meet the last Wednesday of the month in the downstairs meeting room at the Mattituck-Laurel Library at 6 p.m.