Hotel Proposals in the Spotlight on the North Fork

Pictured above: Peconic Bay Vineyard staff discuss hotel plans at Cutchogue Winery.

There is a lot going on in terms of potential business development in the North Fork, and nowhere more so than in the hotel world. Three hotels are currently being erected along the main road (Route 25) between Matetok and Southold.

In Southwold, the plan for The Enclaves, a 40-room hotel and 74-seat restaurant with event space and spa on a 6.75-acre plot along a stretch of main road east of downtown, angered neighbors, who came out in droves to decry the project at a hearing. On October 14 before the City Board of Appeals (ZBA). Hotels are ZBA’s “Exceptional Exceptional Use” in this small business district.

A little further west, across the street from King Kullen in Cutchogue, the Soloviev Group, which has purchased large tracts in the North Fork in recent years, is planning a similar-sized project, albeit on a much larger area, in Peconic Bay Vineyards, a winery that has been closed for eight Years before it was bought and reopened earlier this year by a team headed up by Stacey Solovyev.

This plan will include a 40-room hotel and spa designed as an immersive North Fork winemaking experience. It will also require a ZBA Special Exception Use Permit.

The former headquarters of Capital One Bank in Matetok, which could become the largest hotel on the North Fork.

By far the largest proposed new hotel on the North Fork is one proposed by Alan Cardinale, owner of the site of the former Capital One Bank headquarters on the main road west of downtown Matetok.

The most recent proposal for this property, in September of 2020, was a 125-bedroom, two-story hotel and 300-seat restaurant, downsized from the three-story, 200-bedroom hotel proposed in 2018.

Hoping to advance the controversy over the Peconic Bay Vineyards proposal, management there invited the community to an open house on November 8 at the winery—with free wine and charcuterie.

More than 150 people attended.

Mrs. Solovyev, whose ex-husband, Stefan Soloviev, who lives in East Hampton, ran several properties for him while raising their children on the North Fork, including Santa’s Christmas Farm in Cutchogue, and Chequit’s Inn on Shelter Island, several thousand acres of land Agricultural, and now, Peconic Bay Vineyards, located on 53 acres, 16 of which are designated commercial and the remainder in a 2-acre residential area, where farming is of permitted use.

“I work for my ex. I make the ag payments and he leaves me alone,” she told the November 8 crowd at the winery. “But I have no choice. This characteristic must be developed.”

Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue

She added that two malls the size of King Collins Shopping Center, along with 50 apartments, could be built on the property as true, but she wanted to build something on a much smaller scale.

“I want to have a hotel that will completely immerse people in wine, and allow people to participate in the wine-making process,” she said, adding that the hotel will have 10 rooms in a main building on the site of the current tasting room, which would be open year-round, With separate four room bungalows surrounding it can be run on a seasonal basis.

The main building has an area of ​​6000 square feet and will include a swimming pool and spa. She said 37 acres of vineyard would still be planted with vines, although an earlier version of the hotel’s plan showed homes could be built there.

She added that the hotel, designed by architect Glenn Cobain, would use modern materials such as hemp concrete and glass, and the actual winemaking studio would be flooded with a green roof. There will likely be retail stores within the building selling local meats and vegetables, along with space for small farmers on the North Fork to display their produce. She added that she would like to partner with other local wineries in educational events there.

The project will include an on-site $1 million commercial nitrogen-reduction wastewater treatment system, which is now required for new construction by the Suffolk County Health Department, and Ms Soloviev said a traffic study is in progress. She added that she hopes that the immersive element of the project will lead to many visitors spending their time on the premises during their stay.

Ms. Soloviev said that she initially wanted to build a 25-room hotel and Stefan Soloviev wanted to build a 100-room hotel there.

“He knows my vision, and he believes in everything I do,” she said. “For now, he leaves me alone, but I can’t fail.”

She said that if this project did not work out, they would likely sell the property, which could then be developed by someone else.

While the crowd at the winery seemed generally receptive to the proposal, it was in stark contrast to the October 14 hearing for The Enclaves Project in Southwold.

For more than three hours, residents wondered if the town’s infrastructure could handle Project Enclaves, and wondered aloud if a 2018 traffic study for the project needed to be redo after a massive influx of new people to the area since the pandemic, and asked what? The effect will be on the use of local beaches.

The proposed location of The Enclaves in Southwold.

Despite the protest, the legal burden of proof on the appellate zoning board to agree to the use of a special exception is less than the burden of awarding variances, a factor raised in both the Enclaves and Soloviev’s open session.

“This is not a popularity contest,” Southold Town attorney Bill Duffy told the audience at the Enclaves hearing. They are bound by law and this will guide them in making their decision.”

“Using a special exception is simply an allowable use if certain conditions are met,” he added. “The courts have found that the inclusion of a special exception use in a zoning area is equivalent to the legislative finding that permitted uses are compatible with a zoning area.”

The master said the four conditions that must be met include a minimum lot size, restrictions on the number of guest rooms based on whether public water and sanitation are available, a maximum room size, and a requirement that audible music played on site not be heard in the property line. . Daffy.

The zoning appeals board had yet to make a decision on the request as of press time. They then meet on December 2.

Southoldtown is in the midst of hiring a consultant to make zoning change recommendations in the course of implementing its comprehensive plan.

City Superintendent Scott Russell warned at a working session on November 4 that some aspects of the comprehensive plan may not align with current concerns.

“I know there is a lot of concern about hotels at the moment,” he said, “but the fact is that the companies plan says there is a need for hotels.” “Whether they are consistent with the character of the community, that is the balance.”

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