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Civic groups discuss boycotts at proposed development sites

Jamesport Civic

A coalition of civic organizations is collecting signatures on a petition in which residents vow to boycott new commercial projects being proposed for the Jamesport and Aquebogue areas unless the developers agree to abide by a pledge to keep the area rural.

About 80 people showed up at a meeting of the Jamesport-South Jamesport Civic Association Saturday morning, where the issue of development was discussed.

Currently, the hamlet of Jamesport is the site of a potential 28,379-square-foot addition to the existing 16,394 square foot Jamesport Center on the south side of Main Road, which also is planning on putting a Dunkin’ Donuts in the existing building. A proposed 10-building, 42,000-square foot commercial development on 10 acres on the north side of Main Road is also in the works. The applicant of that plan, being called Jamesport Commons, is also seeking special permits from the Riverhead Town Board to allow for a bistro and professional offices. Additionally, a 7-Eleven has been proposed for an existing storefront in Vinland Commons in Aquebogue, which neighbors there have opposed.

South Jamesport resident Larry Simms, a founder of “Save Main Road,” said that organization, the Jamesport-South Jamesport Civic Association and the Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition created the petition, which states “to prosper in our
community, developers and landlords should follow these simple rules.”

Those rules calls for developers to “Observe the letter and spirit of the master plan; adapt and reuse when possible and build only when necessary; Stick to homegrown brands, not national franchises, and always consider development and leasing impact on existing businesses.”

The petition, which specifically addresses the 7-Eleven, says they don’t challenge the property owners’ right to lease, but that “we feel strongly enough that this is a bad fit with our community that we hereby pledge not to patronize this store, should it be built.”

“These are four rules that are going to apply to any development,” Mr. Simms said. “If they completely disrespect what the community wants, they are not going to have a successful tenant. We are not going to patronize those stores.”

Civic association members hinted Saturday that they may also oppose the upcoming FOLD concert planned by music legend Nile Rodgers for Martha Clara Vineyards on the weekend of Aug. 12. That festival was held on two weekday nights last summer and didn’t drawn as many people as expected.

Caption: Larry Simms and Georgette Keller speak to fellow members of the Jamesport-South Jamesport Civic Association about a plan for dealing with new development projects in the hamlet.

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