Thursday, September 25, 2008

East Marion Hopes to Defeat Developer -- Spa is Not Sustainable

By Anne Murray

A proposed upscale holistic spa set for Shipyard Lane in the tiny hamlet of East Marion moved another step forward recently when the developer submitted a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) on the project to the Southold Town Planning Board.

(rendering of proposed spa - beach view)

The East Marion Community Association met last week in order to organize opposition to this massive project – which calls for 28 buildings at the former oyster factory site on Gardiner’s Bay. The property, at the end of quiet, residential Shipyard Lane is slated to become the Shizen Hotel Wellness Center & Spa.

The developer envisions attracting wealthy clients to the exclusive spa, which will be gated and private and contain a pond, gardens and many other amenities. The community foresees the end of our quality of life, with the construction of a private marina and the arrival of a 114-unit transient motel, with a 72-seat restaurant, a 99-seat cafeteria, a 10-seat bar and their associate traffic. The developer proposes widening the Main Road and the addition of a traffic light in East Marion. The plan also calls for 189 parking spaces at the site, with 111 of these located in an underground garage. Only two acres of the 18.27 acre site will be left as open space - not open to the public -- just undeveloped.

We feel the spa is unsustainable and does not make sense for this community. If it goes forward, it will forever change not only the rural character of East Marion, but the town of Southold and the entire North Fork. You can view the developer’s proposal at the East Marion Community Association’s web site: If you would like to help us in our effort contact us here:

(rendering of proposed spa - street view - right)

1 comment:

Tom Rozakis said...

Hello, Anne, hello, everyone. As some of you know, I've been busy on another mission, one that is fundamental to every proposed coastal project (such as this one) in our town, and that is the efficacy, legitimacy, and authority of the town trustees. I realize that some of the issues I have raised in public seem arcane or legalistic. However, as the projects and adversaries get bigger and more sophisticated, further attention to matters of law will improve the town's citizens and government in grappling successfully with them.

My comment here applies to Howard's article about the need of a comprehensive plan, especially, but like most “arguments,” specific examples are key in convincing people. This proposed project, and others like it, prove without a doubt how vulnerable the town 's precious quality of life is. That is because we do not have a comprehensive plan. A comprehensive plan, where a community defines itself and its values, and zones accordingly, would stand up in a court of law against this project, and others like it, as well as assist us in regulating docks and other activities. Unfortunately, out town is so far behind the times / cutting edge in this capability, it is scary.

I refer everyone to an article in the Group for the East End's Fall 2007 newsletter, “Acting Locally: Consider Formula Business Restrictions.” Although the article is mainly about restricting box and formula stores, it really provides a scenario for how our town can (and other towns are doing it!) control its future:

“Usually a community can justify such zoning laws if they fulfill some of the goals-such as protecting community character and local economic investment-set forth by a comprehensive plan.”

The article cites strategies and approachs that successfully guard against the invasive commercialism and homogeneity from which most of us regard Southold as our haven.

Thank you for setting up “Sustainable Southold,” the real voice.

Tom Rozakis

c: Scott Russell
Southold Town Supervisor