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Apr 25, 2016 11:31 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Housing Authority Seeking Purchase Of Riverside Property

The property at 69 Old Quogue Road in Riverside.  DANA SHAW
Apr 27, 2016 11:29 AM

The Southampton Town Housing Authority might acquire a property in Riverside where it would build a single-family home to rent to participants in the federally subsidized Section 8 program.

The Town Board last week gave the Housing Authority the green light to reallocate $114,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds so it can use a portion to purchase the property at 69 Old Quogue Road. The funds are currently earmarked for home improvement projects, but Housing Authority Executive Director Curtis Highsmith said the agency felt it was more appropriate to use the funds to fix up blighted properties within the town to create more affordable housing opportunities.

“The issue is, you don’t spend it, you lose it,” Mr. Highsmith said of the grant money. “We thought it imperative that we find an alternate use for the funding. It was definitely suitable for us to reallocate that unspent funding for Riverside.

“We encourage those that live in the Riverside community, and Flanders, that if you are aware of blighted sites, if you are an owner of a blighted site … call the Housing Authority to see what we can try to do to mitigate that.”

The site, which has been deemed blighted by the town, is owned by Spin Zone Laundry Inc. and contains only a foundation. Mr. Highsmith said the Housing Authority is negotiating to purchase it, although he declined to offer what the asking price was, noting that it cannot be above market value.

While the Town Board is expected to formally approve the reallocation of the funds at its meeting on Tuesday, May 3, the Housing Authority still has to wait for approval from the Suffolk County Community Development Office, as the grant money is administered to municipalities through the county. Mr. Highsmith said he has received positive feedback from county officials about using the funds for this purpose, but that their formal approval is still needed.

Mr. Highsmith said it would be ideal for the Housing Authority to purchase 69 Old Quogue Road because the authority already owns two properties in the area where it intends to create other affordable housing opportunities. “It gives us a cluster of three lots to build on,” he said. “We have such a deficiency of units in Southampton Town.”

Work Session Canceled

This week’s Town Board work session was canceled, making it the second meeting slated for this week that was either canceled or rescheduled.

According to Janice Wilson, chief legislative aide for the Town Board office, the work session was canceled because a few Town Board members will not be around this week due to spring break. Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said last week that he would be away visiting colleges with his daughter, Magda, and that he believed Councilwoman Julie Lofstad would be away as well. Town officials were unable to confirm Ms. Lofstad’s absence, and she did not immediately return a call seeking confirmation.

The Town Board meeting that was originally scheduled for Tuesday, April 26, had also been pushed ahead a week to Tuesday, May 3. Mr. Schneiderman noted that he could have had Deputy Town Supervisor Frank Zappone sit in his place, but said he wanted to be present for the next public hearing on the Bridgehampton Gateway planned development district. Both he and Ms. Wilson said there has not been a policy change regarding meetings taking place in the supervisor’s absence.

At least one Town Board member, though, found the canceling and rescheduling of the two meetings to be slightly problematic.

On Monday, Councilwoman Christine Scalera said if this continues to happen regularly, “it very well could be” an issue.

“I think if we have a quorum of elected officials that constitute the board, there is no reason to cancel,” she wrote in a text message. “In my view, the fact that the supervisor and/or a councilperson can’t be there if there is still a quorum is not a reason to cancel a board meeting.

“I understand that things sometimes unavoidable come up, even vacations, but that doesn’t mean that the people’s business doesn’t continue to be conducted,” she continued. “We were each elected to do our job, and if there is a quorum, the meeting should proceed.”

Town Clerk Awarded Certification

Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer has been awarded a certification as a registered municipal clerk by the State Town Clerks Association for achieving “its high educational, experience and participatory requirements,” according to a press release from the association.

Ms. Schermeyer, who has worked as Southampton Town’s clerk since 2006, is also a member of the Town Clerks Association and serves as its District 1 director, representing town clerks across all of Long Island, alongside Riverhead Town Clerk Diane Wilhelm.

Ms. Schermeyer said on Tuesday that she has attended a number of conferences and workshops to stay current with current laws so that Southampton Town is always in compliance. Attending those conferences, she said, helped her receive the designation.

“I appreciate the recognition. In my job as the town clerk, [the association has] presented us with conferences that allow us to interact with different entities ... where we get all the most current information that we need in order to provide the residents with the most updated information,” she said Tuesday. “It’s an honor. The New York State Town Clerks Association is a wonderful organization.”

Annual Cleanup Slated For This Weekend

Southampton Town’s annual Great East End Cleanup is scheduled to take place this Saturday, April 30, and Sunday, May 1.

According to a town press release, each spring hundreds of residents participate in the program to clean up public locations such as roadsides, trails, parks and beaches. Last year more than 750 volunteers removed more than 25 tons of litter and debris, including 2.5 tons of metal that was sorted for recycling, from beaches, parks, trails and roadsides.

Ms. Scalera will join the Moriches Bay Project and more than 30 volunteers on April 30 to clean up areas in West Hampton Dunes. “The Great East End Cleanup has become an annual tradition that many of our residents look forward to, and I am excited to continue this annual event for our town and to be joining the Moriches Bay Project this year,” Ms. Scalera said in the release.

To register, visit Southampton Town’s website, southamptontownny.gov, and follow the link for the Great East End Cleanup on the homepage, or contact Rick Hodgson at (631) 283-5210. The new deadline for registration is Friday, April 29.

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The Town has dropped the ball on so many opportunities to use this area's growth to encourage LOCAL development.

Besides seizing opportunities in the past to develop the roadways to handle the onslaught of traffic, the CPF could be acquiring properties that could be used for the development of nice affordable housing for locals...look up Asset Campus Housing, American Campus Communities or Core Campus...Developments such as these would help to keep locals local and also start the wheel ...more
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Apr 25, 16 1:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
CPF is intended to preserve open space. Has nothing to do with affordable housing.

The town does NOT need to be in the landlord business. Why not buy it and sell it cheap to a potential homeowner? Not another renter!
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Apr 25, 16 3:47 PM
4 members liked this comment
Because that owner will sell it quick as a wink at market value & then buy something better. Tax money doesn't need to subsidize private profit.
By East End 2 (151), Southampton on Apr 26, 16 6:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
Mr Highsmith I just walked passed the Housing Authority property on Springville Rd in Hampton Bays and was shocked to find so much litter spread out along the propety line.I pick up garbage discarded by the clientel of 7 11 Doncon Donuts and others near my home I expect no less from the THE HOUSING AUTHORITY STAFF.perhaps a visit from code inforcement is in order.
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Apr 25, 16 3:52 PM
2 members liked this comment
I just walked by there as well. I find your comment quite petty.
By Blessed2b (2), Southampton on Apr 25, 16 4:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
CDBG-Community Development Block Grant.

CPF -Community Preservation Fund

Two separate funding streams.
By CommunityMinded (20), Southampton on Apr 25, 16 4:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
blessed2b hope YOU PICKED UP THE TRASH and if you did not see it a trip to occulest is in order..
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Apr 25, 16 4:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
And if You chose to pick up the trash, you're a thoughtful, caring and highly valued community member. Thank you for all that you do.
By Blessed2b (2), Southampton on Apr 25, 16 4:31 PM
Free Money - so funny how that is characterized. This is tax payer money being used to subsidize and distort the markets. The TSHA is an entity with no reigns and no apparent oversight.
By 2015 (8), burg on Apr 25, 16 4:55 PM
2 members liked this comment
If you disagree with the tactics of the TSHA, or have a complaint about them, please email each member of the town board.
By littleones (23), Remsenburg on Apr 25, 16 5:13 PM
Yes. Email the Town Board and tell them how dare the Housing Authority clean up blighted sites in Southampton and create housing as of right. No zoning changes or PDD's just single family homes. What a dirty nasty tactic.

And the Town had the nerve to approve it.

What exactly are we arguing about?
By CommunityMinded (20), Southampton on Apr 25, 16 5:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
Don't forget the County has to approve too.
Town and County approval, I would say that is oversight.
By CEHJR (34), Southampton on Apr 26, 16 12:30 PM
Explain to me again why the town is in the real estate business....
By bird (829), Sag Harbor on Apr 30, 16 1:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
Because the "free market" fails to deliver affordable housing for the middle class in this neck of the woods.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on May 2, 16 10:37 PM
Then they've already failed. A percentage of new construction was supposed to be designated to affordable housing and spread out throughout the town. Builders either bought their way out, or the town never enforced it. So now we have entities like the housing authority ramming high yield per acre projects (Sandy Hollow) down our throats. Once you allow that model to root, it spreads like weeds while builders cash in. So be careful when you look for solutions outside of the "free market" because ...more
By Craigcat (258), Speonk on May 3, 16 8:56 AM
2 members liked this comment