Molly Miosek, known in Montauk as Dr. Molly, the only veterinarian in the hamlet, visited the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee on Monday with her attorney, Richard Hammer, and Drew Bennett, a consulting engineer, to float an idea she has for opening an animal clinic in Montauk on property she already owns with her partner, Rhett Beckmann, on Essex Street behind Montauk Fuels.
Dr. Miosek now operates from a mobile van parked on her property elsewhere in the hamlet and has hours only three days a week. The site is zoned for commercial business and would require a zone change to commercial-industrial business for the clinic to be allowed, her attorney said, but changing the zone for just that lot would constitute spot zoning, which is illegal. And even with a zone change, Dr. Miosek’s attorney said she would still need a special permit for an animal clinic.
The only commercial-industrial zones in the hamlet are on Industrial Road, an area near North Shore Road, and near the Montauk Transfer Station. Two of the three sites are near or surrounded by wetlands and are not conducive to an animal clinic, he said.
Mr. Hammer said that when he studied the zoning code, he found it strange that an animal clinic was not allowable within a commercial business district. Ms. Miosek and Mr. Beckmann’s property on Essex Street, which is across the street from a house owned by Mr. Beckmann’s mother, Kathleen Beckmann, is an ideal location for a clinic, the attorney said. The septic system would, he said, be the same as one required for a regular house and on-site parking could be provided.
James Martell, who owns Montauk Fuels, said if the change was made and the clinic was built, it would be a good time for the town to also consider adding more parking to the surrounding area. “There’s never enough parking there,” he said.
Mr. Bennett said the building would be designed as a traditional wood-frame structure with cedar shakes. It would measure 2,400 square feet on the ground floor and 500 square feet on the second floor. There would be no kenneling, no incineration, and no dog runs, he said, adding that under the provisions of a special permit, that could not be changed later. Mr. Beckmann, who is a landscaper, would landscape the property and plant natural noise barriers, if they were required.
The proposal is still in the idea stage and was brought to the committee for members’ opinions only, Mr. Hammer said, explaining that there are still many other components to be considered, including review by the town board, the Planning Department, the architectural review board, and the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.
“I personally think it’s great as opposed to another real estate office or a pizza parlor,” said Lisa Grenci, the committee chairwoman.
In an interview after the meeting, Dr. Miosek said it is time to broaden her practice. The van has allowed her to treat many animals over the six years she has operated there but it has its limitations. She said she would like to be able to add a digital X-ray machine, an in-house blood lab, and a hospital area able to accommodate three sick animals at a time.
“With a larger facility I will be able to entertain school groups and student interns interested in the field of veterinary medicine,” she said.
At the end of the meeting a vote was taken and a resolution supporting the clinic was approved with 16 votes. There were two abstentions, one of which was made by Richard Valcich, who said that he would like to speak to a town official before an overall zone change was made. “I’d like to know what we are leaving ourselves open to,” he said.
In a written statement issued after the meeting Dr. Miosek wrote, “I can promise you that our clinic will conform to all building requirements and be a landscaped oasis provided by Rhett’s Landscaping.”