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Southold Town Police Traffic Control Considered for Harbes’ Winery

The Southold Town Planning Board weighs police traffic control as option in Harbes Farm winery proposal.

Traffic control is one of the last hurdles before the can proceed with their application to expand existing winery operations at their Sound Avenue farm stand in Mattituck — and the help of a traffic control officer might be the best option.

Southold Town Planning Director Heather Lanza said at Monday’s board meeting that the proposal of an additional retail winery and wine production facility to an existing small tasting room has been on the table for four years. How to deal with the additional traffic the facility will create has been a sticking point.

“There are real traffic issues on both side of the road,” Lanza said of one of the most congested areas on the North Fork during the fall, when pumpkin pickers, farm stand goers and wine tasters clog the shoulders of Sound Avenue with vehicles.

Though Harbes’ winery plans call for the addition of a large parking area in the back of their farm stand facilities on the north side of the road, people will be crossing the road to get to activities and retail sales on both sides.

The suggestion of hiring a police traffic control officer to man the crossings during peak times has been on the table before — much to the chagrin of , who was captain of the force at the time.

“Flatley didn’t feel that it was the best thing  — if Harbes has one then everyone will want one and it was a question of manpower,” Lanza said. “But this is a pretty unique situation.”

Lanza said that Harbes proposed to partially fund the labor of the traffic control officer during peak times. Planning Board member Don Wilcenski said that with the intensity of traffic in that particular corridor and the recent accidents it has caused as is, traffic control is a necessity.

“A lot of vineyards hire security companies, but they end up being just hired help with insurance,” Wilcenski said. “That spot on Sound Avenue is really the beginning of the corridor into Southold Town — I think the traffic control officer is the best bet. It might set the tone for other parcels.”

Lanza said she would speak with the police department to work out rates and hours of a possible traffic control officer at Harbes.

Originally vegetable farmers, the Harbes family got into the winery business in 2003.

Eric October 06, 2011 at 08:49 PM
i agree. reason being because i am the one in the middle of the road directing.... not trying to stereotype here, but the "city people" are the worst and think they own the road... i have come close to being hit before and i would not feel comfortable standing out on Sound there.. and half the people who would be crossing that road wouldn't even use the coned out area for a crosswalk where a TCO would be stationed, they would just walk out in front of a car instead.
Kyle munson October 07, 2011 at 08:48 PM
Private Security LOL what a joke makes me think of Paul Blart mall cop. Just what this town needs a bunch of private clowns directing traffic.
Donald Wilcenski October 09, 2011 at 07:59 PM
No disrespect or offense was directed at Mr Sailor or any other security company working the special events in the Town of Southold. The issue is controlling traffic in congested areas of the town on the roadways. Don Wilcenski
JOMAC October 09, 2011 at 08:57 PM
Having just returned from a Fire Dept. Rescue Call at one of the local Wineries, where there are two wineries on one side and 2 farmstands on the other side, I will offer the following: We need to sit down and come up with a comprehensive plan that ensures the public's safety first, and then accomodates the business aspect of these establishments. I have NEVER seen traffic, like I saw today, and this was on Route 25. We have Pumpkin pickers and wine afficianados, combined with day trippers, sightseers, and the local public trying to get from Point A to Point B. Local events, while a welcome boon to the businessed, NUST be balanced with public safety. If not, it is simply a question of "WHEN" the next catastrophe will strike, and it will be too late for THAT victim and their family and friends. Let's sit down, and be productive with ideas. Maybe bring in the NYS DOT and see if we can tunnel under 25 and 48? Similar to the Jones Beach underpasses. There is enough Real Estate at these venues, to sacrifice a little bit, to ensure public safety. Just an idea to get the thought processes rolling... Anyone else?
The Equalizer October 10, 2011 at 02:27 PM
Am I reading this correctly? WE are going to pay for a cop to control Harbes traffic? Am I missing something? Who is running this town? Harbes is currently in front of the planning board for a winery that ALREADY EXISTS??? I know its open... I have been there. Is this not against the law? Didn't the town DENY Sherwood House the opportunity to go through the planning board process because they were opened illegally? Why does Harbes get special treatment? If the winery doesn't have approvals, I'll bet he has other illegal stuff there... I am dumbfounded. The town is actually considering helping control traffic flow for an ILLEGAL winery while refusing to let another one open in a LEGAL location. I guess it is still who you know... pathetic.

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