T.J. Maxx Seeks Room for a Marshalls

If an expansion of T.J. Maxx in Bridgehampton is approved, Marshalls would share a nearly 50,000-square-foot space with the store. Durell Godfrey

A proposal for the 17,000-square-foot expansion of the T.J. Maxx store at Bridgehampton Commons will receive a public hearing at the Southampton Town Planning Board next Thursday at 6 p.m.

Kimco Realty, the owner of the shopping center, is seeking approval for a site plan that calls for extending the rear portion of the easternmost building, where T.J. Maxx is located, to make room for Marshalls, another discount retail store owned by the TJX Companies.  

T.J. Maxx occupies about 33,000 square feet. After the expansion, Marshalls would share the nearly 50,000-square-foot space, which would include a joint employee lounge and storage area. The plan would increase the square footage of the shopping center, which sits on about 30 acres, by more than 5 percent.

The planning board found on Aug. 23 that the project would have no serious environmental impact. Dennis Finnerty, the chairman, had explained at an earlier meeting that thanks to the compatible nature of the stores, the amount of increased traffic would be less than if a popular stand-alone retail store, such as Best Buy, occupied the space. Approval should be conditioned on a covenant requiring the stores to retain such compatible uses, Mr. Finnerty said.

A major point of contention for the board was the exit from the shopping center’s parking lot onto Snake Hollow Road, which is to the east of the property. Since the intersection of Snake Hollow and Montauk Highway does not have a traffic signal, the board wanted to discourage drivers from making left turns from that exit to the highway, a chaotic and potentially dangerous endeavor, particularly during summer months. As a solution, Timothy McCulley, the lawyer for the applicant, said Kimco would install signage and pavement markings prohibiting right turns onto Snake Hollow.

The board granted a parking waiver to Kimco, which allows the company to set aside land for future parking spaces as needed rather than installing them immediately. “The parking has to be drawn on the site plan, and shown to be available at the town’s discretion should the need arise,” said Mr. Finnerty. “History has shown the site has never fully utilized its available parking,” he commented.

The most vocal critics of the proposed expansion have been members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, who vehemently disagree with the planning board’s contention that the project would have no impact on traffic or the environment. 

“There is every likelihood that adding 17,000 additional square feet to a store that will be filled with a huge amount of additional merchandise will create additional customers, additional traffic, and additional parking needs,” said Pamela Harwood, chairwoman of the committee. She said the planning board “seemed to favor wealthy business interests by approving a wave of town code variances, despite community resistance.”