Southold Town has just released the draft Land Use chapter of the town’s comprehensive plan update, available online here.
The land use chapter outlines broad recommendations for zoning changes, but does not propose specific changes to zoning in Southold.
According to the new introduction to the plan, released by town Planning Director Heather Lanza Friday afternoon, there are several reasons the plan doesn’t include a new zoning map.
Zoning has been in place in Southold since 1957, with changes made to the zoning map in 1967 and then again only 15 years later.
According to the document, at that time “zoning was still relatively new and so it makes sense that comprehensive changes were recommended as everyone learned more about how zoning works and affects development patterns. Now that zoning has been in place for nearly 60 years, and the current zoning map for 25 years, we have the experience to see that a massive change in zoning districts is not necessary.”
The introduction also listed time and funding as other reasons there is no zoning map included in the Land Use chapter.
“Experience has shown that any change to the zoning map is best done in a collaborative process with residents and stakeholders,” according to the introduction. “This collaborative process involves numerous public input meetings, all of which require preparation, promotion, and follow-up. Also required are the detailed analyses that provide the backdrop of information everyone needs to make informed decisions. To accomplish this necessary work would require more time and funding than is available.”
The town plans to consider potential zone changes in the implementation phase of the plan, which occurs after it is adopted.
The Comprehensive Plan update process has been underway for about six years, and it’s been about two years since the first set of meetings on the Land Use chapter was held. At that time, in May 2014, the chapter had been expected to be finished that fall.
The Land Use chapter, a 48-page document, outlines the current land use in Southold, information about potential build-out and development rate trends, goals ranging from economic enhancement to affordable housing to protection of agriculture, and hamlet-specific information on land use and development possibilities in each of the town’s 10 hamlets.
The town is holding several hamlet-based community meetings to discuss the chapter.
The first, for Peconic and Southold, will be held next Saturday, April 23 at 10 a.m. at the Peconic Lane Community Center at 1170 Peconic Lane.
The second meeting, for East Marion, Greenport West and Orient, will be held on Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m. at the Peconic Landing Auditorium in Greenport.
The third meeting, for residents of Cutchogue, Mattituck/Laurel and New Suffolk, will be held on Saturday, April 30 at 10 a.m. at the Town Senior Center at 750 Pacific Street in Mattituck.
For more information, call Southold Town Planning at 631.765.1938. Paper copies of the full text of the Land Use chapter are expected to be delivered to each of the town’s libraries by April 18 for residents to read.