An attorney for the Schmidt’s Market landlord warned Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren that the lawyer will file a lawsuit if the village moves forward with Warren’s proposal to rezone the property.
The threat in the attorney’s letter obtained by Dan’s Papers came after Warren recently suggested that the village would rezone the property for workforce housing as a part of its recently passed Comprehensive Master Plan if the landlord does not renew the lease to the family that has run the beloved market in the North Sea Road location for the past 43 years.
“The dispute between the landlord and tenant is not a matter of governmental interest and something that we are surprised you have decided to interject yourself into,” Christopher Kelley, a partner in the Riverhead-based law firm of Twomey, Latham, Shae, Kelley, Dubin & Quartarara, LLP, wrote. “Threats to … illegally rezone the property as retribution and … interfere with the landlord’s right to sell the property and to freely contract will not be tolerated and will result in litigation.”
Recent news that the popular market was about to close its doors sparked public outcry from local residents and customers who patronize the family-run grocery that is located in a property zoned as office space.
Warren appeared undeterred by the letter.
Warren Responds About Schmidt’s Market
“It’s within the purview of the village to implement the Comprehensive Master Plan, which does call for workforce housing in the office districts, which I think will benefit the village residents,” Warren told Dan’s Papers in response to the letter. “We are certainly in need of workforce housing and there is a general housing scarcity in the village.”
Kelley also wrote that the mayor was being fed misinformation by the market’s proprietors, who the attorney accused of negotiating in bad faith.
Representatives for Schmidt’s Market did not respond to a request for comment.