As businesses throughout the East End make dramatic changes to their operations for coronavirus safety reasons, Southold Town will be shutting down the Love Lane shopping district in Mattituck to vehicles on weekends through October.
The Southold Town Board unanimously approved the measure, which would allow businesses to conduct more activity on the sidewalks and would enable better social distancing, when it was floated by Councilman Bob Ghosio at the board’s June 16 meeting.
Mr. Ghosio said he has a list of about a dozen businesses on Love Lane that support the measure, and the temporary postmaster of the Mattituck Post Office doesn’t see any issues with it.
The road closure would begin at noon on Saturdays and continue through 6 a.m. on Mondays on weekends beginning June 27 and ending Oct. 31, according to the resolution.
The Mattituck Post Office is only open until 1 p.m. on Saturdays, so it would only be affected for one hour each week.
Mr. Ghosio said the town is now ordering Jersey barriers to close the road and the June 27 opening is contingent on the barriers arriving on time.
The closure would comprise one block of Love Lane, from the Main Road to Pike Street, where most of the shops are located.
Councilwoman Jill Doherty, a member of the Mattituck Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, said she believes Mattituck Fire Chief Steve Libretto will be sending a letter to the board with his concerns, which she believes include making sure the fire department can move the barriers to access the street if there is a fire.
“I don’t think the chief is going to say ‘no, we don’t want it,'” she said.
“I just want to thank Bob [Ghosio] and Denis [Noncarrow] for working on this, because it took a group of people to make it happen,” said Ms. Doherty.
Southold Town isn’t the only North Fork municipality considering coronavirus-related street closures this year. Greenport Village closed down the east end of Front Street, between First Street and Main Street on the weekend of June 20 as a test run to see if the closure would be feasible this season.
The Southold Town Board also approved a resolution to hold a public hearing on July 30 at 1 p.m. on a proposed six-month extension of a moratorium on approvals of permits in the area surrounding the intersection of Love Lane and the Main Road in Mattituck.
The moratorium, initially enacted in 2019, was scheduled to be up for renewal in March when a public hearing on the renewal was cancelled due to the Covid-19 government shutdown.
“The moratorium as enacted, is intended to provide sufficient time for the town to consider the recommendations of ongoing traffic studies, a parking study in the Love Lane area and the completion of the Town Comprehensive Plan,” according to the resolution.
The board also agreed to allow the North Fork Reform Synagogue to hold Friday night services at Kenney’s Beach in Southold on June 19, July 10, July 24, Aug. 7 and Aug. 21 from 6 to 8:15 p.m.
On this Friday, June 19, the town will host two conference calls with business owners to discuss reopening. At 11 a.m. town officials will discuss state guidelines for personal care services like massage and nail spas and at 1 p.m. they will discuss plans for retail businesses. Business owners can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“Hopefully that will provide some information for a smooth transition for businesses,” said Town Supervisor Scott Russell. “We’re here to work with you and be partners for the Southold Town business community. Restaurants and other businesses are welcome to email us for help wading through what can be complicated guidelines” from the state.
The Southold Town Economic Development Committee also has printed banners announcing that local businesses are open that business owners are welcome to pick up and use. For more information, call Denis Noncarrow at 631.765.5806.