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Mar 31, 2014 12:47 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Plan For Tuckahoe Apartments Is Retooled Again

Mar 31, 2014 1:29 PM

A proposal for a middle-income apartment complex in Tuckahoe was reincarnated last week and presented to the Southampton Town Board as a trimmed-down version of plans that drew a torrent of criticism from neighbors last year.

The developers, Georgica Green Ventures, as well as members of the town’s Housing Authority have pitched it as addressing the dearth of affordable rental houses or apartment-style living of almost any sort in the town. They say that dearth has led to the widespread loss of young locals and created the so-called “trade parade” that snarls traffic east of the Shinnecock Canal during the morning and evening rush hours eight months of the year.

The developers of the proposed complex, which would be on Sandy Hollow Road near its intersection with North Sea Road, touted the new project as much smaller in size than the original proposal ultimately rejected by the town, and having less of a potential impact than the most recent version—and less than a planned development district proposal that the town had approved several years ago at the same location.

The new designs, presented to the Town Board on Thursday morning, March 27, proposes just three buildings, rather than four, containing a total of 28 units: 14 studio apartments, 12 one-bedroom apartments, and two two-bedroom apartments. The last plan, which was withdrawn from consideration in September, called for a total of 34 units in the four buildings.

“We heard the criticism,” said David Gallo, owner of development company Georgica Green Ventures. “Then we asked, how can we make this better? We’d like to build something that works within the community and tries to mitigate some of the concerns.”

The three buildings in the new design total 18,553 square feet, about 4,500 square feet less than in the previous design and 1,700 less than what the town had approved in 2008 as part of a planned development district zone change. That proposal called for 16 condominium-style units, each two bedrooms, in four buildings. It was approved by the Town Board with general support from neighborhood residents.

The number of occupants for the new proposal, as calculated using town code standards, would be 46, based on a maximum occupancy of one person in each of the 14 studio apartments. The approved PDD called for a maximum of 64 residents, and the second design for the project claimed a maximum of 60.

The new plans show 47 parking spaces, 11 fewer than the last proposal but 14 more than what was approved in 2008.

As with the previous iteration, the developers pledged to install a state-of-the-art septic waste treatment system on the property that they said will mean the apartment complex would have a less harmful impact on groundwater than the two single-family homes that could have been built under the original zoning.

“This system puts drinking water quality water back into the ground,” said attorney David Gilmartin, on behalf of the developer. “I know it’s psychologically disturbing, but you could actually drink the water coming out of this system.”

As further enticement, Mr. Gallo said his company would fund the extension of the Suffolk County Water Authority water main as well as natural gas supply lines to the Sandy Hollow neighborhood. Extending the water mains, which other area residents could then connect to as well, would cost Georgica Green $150,000 to $200,000.

As they had with the plans brought to the town last spring, the developers pointed to the difficulty that young and middle-income residents and workers on the South Fork have in finding legal housing arrangements that they can afford, as increases in housing costs far outpace the rise in average salaries.

Mr. Gallo said that preference in selecting tenants for the apartments, which would be priced from about $850 to $950 per month, would be given to those who are already residents of the area.

His company would partner in the development and management of the project with the town’s Housing Authority, a quasi-public agency that operates separately from Town Board-controlled government and is dedicated to expanding affordable housing opportunities in the town.

Georgica Green will apply to the Town Board for an amendment to the 2008 PDD to allow for rearranging the plans.

If the amendment is approved, they have proposed selling the property to the Housing Authority, which would act as landlord and earn income from rent. The cost of construction, which would be undertaken by Georgica Green Ventures, would be subsidized through a federal tax credit program. The credits could add up to $7 million or more. Mr. Gilmartin said that in order to qualify for the tax credits, the project needs to be approved by November. Construction would begin in the spring.

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When the owner of this property purchased, they purchased with the understanding that it was zoned for R80. That is a single family home. In what way to they think that and apartment complex of 28 apartments, 47 parking spaces and a sewage treatment plant is allowable?? If this was something they were thinking about when they purchased land why didn't they purchase a larger parcel that allowed for more density. They say they are listening, why don't they listen to us when we say we do not want ...more
By Noelle (15), southampton on Mar 31, 14 3:19 PM
2 members liked this comment
Let them build what the zoning allows, any "hardship" on the owners of the property are self imposed! They have no guarantee of a change of zoning.
By bigfresh (4593), north sea on Apr 1, 14 7:21 AM
1 member liked this comment
Sorry but the STHousing Authority and its predecessors have kept Hampton West Estates near Gabreski Airport from becoming the middle class enclave it should be. Their continued issuing of Section 8 vouchers with no enforcement or follow-up or screening have led to some tenants who are detrimental to the community. Most of the voucher families are fine folks who play by the rules, but it only takes a couple to drag down a neighborhood. If the Housing Authority is involved I'd be very wary.
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Apr 1, 14 12:23 PM
2 members liked this comment
Absolutely not! !!! If Southampton Town is so concerned with affordable housing maybe they should work on making the accessory apartments more of an option rather than BUILDING more! The town has made the rules and regulations so ridiculous for accessory apartments that they have made it impossible for them to exist. This is not the answer.
By jmcorwith (8), Southampton on Apr 1, 14 11:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
In no way does this plan fit the definition of an amendment. The public hearing was closed 9/24/13 recognizing it could not be considered an amendment. Any plan of this nature must be submitted as a new PDD application as per the Town Code. Protect our water.
By SPCarr (17), Southampton on Apr 3, 14 12:02 AM