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Jun 12, 2014 4:32 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board Unanimously Approves Sandy Hollow Apartments Plan

Jun 18, 2014 11:23 AM

Despite a final round of angry objections and impassioned pleas from Tuckahoe residents, the Southampton Town Board last week gave its unanimous approval to a proposal to build 28 below-market rental apartments at a site on Sandy Hollow Road.

The project, which could still be years in the offing, would be the first such multifamily municipally supported workforce housing project targeting middle-income residents in the town. Rents for the future apartments are projected to start at about $950 a month.

The town’s Housing Authority and the private development firm that had applied for the Planned Development District zoning designation to allow the apartment complex to be built at the site will now begin the process of applying for state low-income housing tax credits that they plan to tap to finance the project. Suffolk County also has pledged $800,000 in housing assistance grants to help cover the costs of the development.

Hanging over the approval, however, is irate neighbors’ threat of a legal challenge. Only moments after the approval on Thursday, June 12, some said they have already laid the groundwork for filing at least one lawsuit, and possibly two, challenging the approval, and could seek an injunction that would halt the efforts to apply for the tax credits.

One of the homeowners who lives immediately adjacent to the property targeted for the apartments, Oliver Bailly, said on Thursday that the residents have already arranged for an attorney to represent them, and they expect to file the legal challenge in short order.

Before the approving vote, residents once again lined up to bombard the Town Board members with criticisms of the project and the review process.

“Putting this project on this 2.6-acre site is like putting a square peg in a round hole,” said Marianne Klepacki.

The meeting took place under the watchful eye of two plainclothes Southampton Town Police officers, who at one point were asked by Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst to escort one angry resident from the room for refusing to conform to the public comment rules that the Town Board follows at public meetings. The woman, Southampton Village resident Frances Genovese, agreed to take her seat and was allowed to remain in the meeting. But she continued to direct barbs at board members.

“What you see here is a lack of confidence in your ability to make decisions. We have no confidence that you have done your homework,” she said, responding to board members’ defense of the project and pleas that they have considered a broad array of details about the project. “How do you justify this narrow interpretation of [the State Environmental Quality Review Act]? On their assessment form, what do they check about public opposition?”

Shortly before approving the project, the board voted to issue a declaration under state guidelines that the project did not have any significant impacts on the surrounding natural and civil environment, which includes whether there was substantial objection from residents.

The neighbors, who submitted 835 petitions, begged to differ.

“I believe you are going against what some of the people want,” said East Quogue Civic Association President Al Algieri, saying had his group been aware of the details of the project it might have sided with its Tuckahoe counterparts. “It’s very upsetting, I wish [the public hearing was still] open, because we would get 5,000 signatures.”

Board members said they saw their duty to the needs of the town as the overriding concern in approving the project, and said the project will have less impact on residents than what the property had originally been envisioned for when it was rezoned in 2009 to accommodate condos.

“I’d like to note that this day is a culmination of many, many, many hours of hearings and interaction with the public,” said Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, who had voiced her support for the project early on in the review process, nodding to the town’s long, fruitless efforts to create affordable housing for the town’s middle-income workers who were left out of the housing market by high property values. “It’s been since the 1970s that we set out to do this. It’s time to take action.”

Councilwoman Christine Scalera, who said she had struggled with her decision right up to the last minute, said she was swung in favor of the project by the fact that the Sandy Hollow parcel had been targeted for affordable development years ago.

The property, which would have been eligible to hold only a single house under its original zoning, was rezoned in 2009 through a similar PDD allowing the construction of the 16 two-bedroom condominiums, also with controls on the sale price to target middle-income workers.

“I understand the angst of the property owners in the immediate vicinity,” she said. “The overriding issue for me is that this property, since a prior Town Board rezoned it in 2009 to [an] affordable parcel ... As it exists, that being 16 two-bedroom [condominiums] could yield upward of 64 occupants, which would allow for greater occupancy, more lot coverage, less water quality protections and more traffic than what is currently before us.”

The affirmative vote again rezoned the 2.6-acre property on Sandy Hollow Road as a Residential Planned Development District, rewriting the official zoning to specifically allow the development of 28 primarily studio and one-bedroom apartments for rent. There would also be two two-bedroom apartments in the complex.

That project drew little public criticism, though residents have noted that at the time town PDD rules did not require the same level of public notification of such plans as they do now. Nonetheless, most have said they would prefer the condo project and neighbors who owned their residences, rather than renters. The condos may have allowed for more potential tenants, but would have meant fewer toilets and fewer kitchens than the higher number of smaller apartments will, spurring fears of environmental impacts.

The project will be a joint partnership between the Southampton Town Housing Authority, a quasi-public not-for-profit that contracts with the town to oversee affordable housing development efforts, and private development company Georgica Green Ventures, which will construct and manage the apartments once they are built.

The apartments will be available only to middle-income tenants who meet specific earnings level requirements, both maximum and minimum, intended to make them accessible to municipal and service industry workers and middle-income professionals not ready or able to purchase housing. State guidelines dictate that rents be set for a certain percentage of apartments, possibly as many as half, at rates affordable to those earning less than 60 percent of the region’s median income—which would be about $65,000 now—with others being priced to suit those who earn more, up to 90 percent of median income.

“The exact rent structure will be backed into by the costs of the project, which will be reviewed very carefully by the state,” said Barbara Fair, a member of the Housing Authority board. “It’s not something that we can just pick a number and still qualify for the low income tax credits. The intention is for a mix of residents from different incomes.”

At least three of the apartments would be set aside for senior citizens. The applicants have said throughout the review process that the prospective tenants for the apartments are seen as nurses, civil servants and young professionals with steady, well-paying jobs who still cannot afford the region’s inflated house prices and have struggled to find quality, affordable rentals.

The apartments would be awarded by lottery to qualifying applicants, with preference given to those who serve as ambulance company and fire department first-responders, are already residents of the town, or are employees of local businesses.

Seemingly resigned to the realization that their continued objections were fruitless after Tuesday’s final public hearing on the project had clearly not swung any board members votes against it, residents nonetheless blasted board members for skirting some levels of review on technicalities, justifying the project with arguable details and having cut off the public discourse on the proposal. They accused board members of hastily pushing the project forward and dismissing the impact the project would have on its neighbors.

“The biggest elephant in this room is that when we have a project with a lot of opposition, there seems to be a dynamic between the people and the board, and it is adversarial,” said Tuckahoe resident Susan Van Olst. “There is not a feeling that we are working together as a community.”

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5-0 what's the problem
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jun 12, 14 7:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
Nepotism by proxy.
Jun 13, 14 1:00 AM appended by Mr. Z
And, ignoring the will of the People. That's kind of big...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 13, 14 1:00 AM
The problem?
1- built on an aquifer with the potential to contaminate a very large portion of Southampton Town resident's wells
2- built on a VERY BUSY roadway with only one access in or out; allowed to park on the side of this roadway, and allowed to make a left turn onto this speedway
3-Southampton Fire District has voiced their concern over loss of life in the event of a fire due to the one access and high density
4-built in an area zoned for one family homes on 2 acres
5-unable ...more
By Long Island Viking (28), Southampton on Jun 15, 14 11:55 AM
3 members liked this comment
"BANANA” mentality: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.
By Zorro (66), Southampton on Jun 13, 14 1:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
DRATER mentality .. Develop Residential And Traffic Establishments Rapidly
hee hee
By david h (405), southampton on Jun 13, 14 9:05 AM
BOOT LICKERS: Southampton Town Republican Party...Yes David, whatever you want...
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Jun 13, 14 9:21 AM
1 member liked this comment
DRATER mentality: Develop Residences At The Expense of Reason
hee hee
By david h (405), southampton on Jun 13, 14 11:53 AM
The woman who was unruly, Frances Genovese, and had to be moved by police from the podium, is that the same one arrested outside Gabreski Airport with guns?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 13, 14 1:51 AM
1 member liked this comment
A very simple Web search would have revealed two different woman with the same last name. [vs. starting a rumor out of laziness?]

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 13, 14 2:25 AM
No - pretty pathetic shot across the bow there. Frances Genovese is a well known HB civic
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 13, 14 9:17 AM
1 member liked this comment
Yes that's correct - but she is a very vocal on some HB issues (along with others)
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 13, 14 11:10 AM
Frances Genovese may be excitable but she is very knowledgeable, articulate, and uber civic minded, and always for the community's good. She is infinitely more articulate than 99% of the people in Southampton.

All the politicians dread her because she always knows what she is talking about, and loves exposing the ulterior motives of the common pol.
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Jun 19, 14 9:28 AM
1 member liked this comment
Does she ever have anything positive to say? Does she ever give unanimous support? No, she always has a complaint. There's always something wrong with what's being proposed - it would always be better if it were done her way.

What's stopping Mrs. Genovese from running for office? Maybe she could make a REAL change then, no?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 19, 14 10:51 AM
In the early 1980's Frances came to town, crossing the canal and began looking for a place to buy. She bought what she could afford, near a low industry business which was very near the railroad tracks in Tuckahoe. About the cheapest place we had for sale. After the 1987 crash she, among many others, began calling realtors begging them to rent her house for the summer. I was one of the agents. I tried to explain the pressure we were under. One of my fellow agents claimed "We realtors are just glorified ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 21, 14 11:11 AM
Hey Marlin - pretty sure realtors don't take a Hippocratic Oath...
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 25, 14 1:06 PM
Frances has the courage to stand up and address issues that others shy away from. Perhaps the ones criticizing her should attend the town board meetings and speak the truth, as she does.
By Long Island Viking (28), Southampton on Jun 28, 14 9:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
By Inch_High_PI (29), Southampton on Jun 13, 14 7:23 AM
1 member liked this comment
“How do you justify this narrow interpretation of [the State Environmental Quality Review Act]? On their assessment form, what do they check about public opposition?”

NYS SEQRA forms no longer have a box to check for "public opposition". And even when they did have this box, nothing came from it. It was simply a check mark acknowledging people were likely to be unhappy about it
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 13, 14 9:21 AM
And I thought East Hampton Town had problems..sorry to see the community so dissed by this Southampton Town Board. Keep rallying for your cause community members against this ridiculous housing plan.
By Woods woman (145), East hampton on Jun 13, 14 10:01 AM
couldn't be happier that this finally passed! we have been ignoring the need for affordable housing in the area for too long...this is a move in the right direction!
By lkd1414 (1), Shelter Island Heights on Jun 13, 14 10:32 AM
2 members liked this comment
Shelter Island, you are next! High density coming to you in the very near future. This just paved the way. Your island is not immune.
By Long Island Viking (28), Southampton on Jun 15, 14 12:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
Finally!! Many in the town desperately need somewhere reasonable to live.
By sailthebay (3), Southampton on Jun 13, 14 10:56 AM
Where can I sign up for an apartment in this soon to built apartment..I'm getting tired of facing the prospect of living in the woods.I will not come outside during daylight hours as I know you fine Americans dont want me in Tuckahoe.......Did you know that the word tuckahoe is slang for slave owning masters...........
By Etians rd (543), Southampton on Jun 13, 14 12:14 PM
if you live in the woods you prob don't qualify.. I would stay where you are
By maddie1974 (12), southampton on Jun 14, 14 8:15 AM
If the Town of Southampton had a Community Character Preservation Plan we would not need this discussion. Such a plan would incorporate land that the Town would conserve for affordable housing, in ideal locations, considering the aquifer, transportation hubs, and shopping districts. The PDD law needs to be revised and the Town of Southampton needs a Community Character Plan, so rural zoning is not destroyed. "Business District" is too broad and vague a term to use in relation to affordable housing. ...more
By QuietLife (61), Southampton on Jun 13, 14 2:33 PM
Community character preservation and community lands identified for affordable housing are missing from the Town's land preservation program. "From 1970 to 2001, a desire to protect open space, farmland and recreational opportunities prompted a whole range of further conservative initiatives, including the Eastern and Western GEIS open space plans, the Town’s 1986 – 87 and 1995 – 96 Open Space and Greenbelt Acquisition Programs, Southampton’s 1993 Clean Water Bond Act, the ...more
By QuietLife (61), Southampton on Jun 13, 14 2:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
Does anyone know if these "municipal and service industry workers" who qualify to live in the apartments need to be residents of Southampton who work in Southampton or will they be Southampton workers who live elsewhere?
By auntof9 (159), Southampton on Jun 13, 14 3:45 PM
2 members liked this comment
I believe they must have 6 months of paychecks to establish the fact that they have employment in Southampton. Google "Town of Southampton Long island Town Board Resolution 2013-759" (Adopted on July 23, 2013 6:00 PM) and on the 10th page of the document, if you print preview it, under item (15) Community Benefit Units, you will read that income-eligible households residing year-round with one adult as a qualified active member of fire/EMS volunteer community services in the Town, as defined by ...more
By QuietLife (61), Southampton on Jun 19, 14 7:44 PM
This is NOT affordable housing by many people's definition. The basic guideline at this time say they need a five credit history and a $50,000 W2 from the previous year for a 500 sq ft apartment. It's very restrictive. The only reason why it was passed was because the town needed to have something to show that they were not against affordable housing and that the developer is making upward of 9 MILLIION off federal tax dollars. Correction MY federal tax dollars. So it looks like we are getting ...more
By maddie1974 (12), southampton on Jun 14, 14 8:14 AM
It was not an easy decision, but I believe the Town Board made the right one. No place will ever be perfect for something like this, and admittedly, Sandy Hollow isn't, but it comes close -- close enough -- and we have had a crying need for this kind of housing for far too long. Eventually you have to fish or cut bait, and that's what happened here.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 14, 14 10:53 AM
1 member liked this comment
Thanks Maddie and Marlinspike,you do not have to dig too deep to find the bigotry that is alive and well in tuckahoe,,,,,slang for slave owning masters.See you in the hood very soon Im going to get a two bedroom
By Etians rd (543), Southampton on Jun 14, 14 10:58 AM
Thanks Maddie and Marlinspike,you do not have to dig too deep to find the bigotry that is alive and well in tuckahoe,,,,,slang for slave owning masters.See you in the hood very soon Im going to get a two bedroom
By Etians rd (543), Southampton on Jun 14, 14 10:58 AM
This project only has studios and one bedroom apartments that are less than 600 square feet.
By QuietLife (61), Southampton on Jun 15, 14 9:39 AM
Etians Rd - drama much, "slave owning masters"? Please stop with nonsense.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Jun 15, 14 11:20 AM
1 member liked this comment
Yes, please stop. This has nothing to do with slavery. Everyone who lives in Southampton Township will be affected by this project in one way or another. Those of us who oppose it are trying to protect the integrity of our town for everyone. Race, religion, and money does not come into play for us. Unfortunately, money does come into play for the developer, big money. At EVERYONES expense.
By Long Island Viking (28), Southampton on Jun 15, 14 12:03 PM
2 members liked this comment
This project sits on an aquifer that feeds into the freshwater ponds of Big Fresh Pond and Little Fresh Pond. This same aquifer is not far from the pumping station for residents who have town water. The Sandy Hollow Cove project sits on 2.6 acres, and is surrounded by homes that use well water. The zoning for that area is R-80, one home on two acres. This project will have its own sewage treatment plant, and no full time management on staff. Although there will be a water main installed down Sandy ...more
By QuietLife (61), Southampton on Jun 15, 14 9:38 AM
Excellent point. One that the town board has chosen to ignore. At one town board meeting, the board spoke passionately about protecting our watersheds & aquifers. So here is the double standard. On an island such as this, we need to protect our valuable water resources. I believe that was one of the main concerns of those who opposed this project.
By Long Island Viking (28), Southampton on Jun 15, 14 11:31 AM
Thank you for you thoughtful comments. One addition....The water is not being offered to those who live downstream or those within 1500 feet of the sewage treatment plant. The people the most at risk are those on West Neck, Swan Hill and Cooper Rd. For these people the cost will run way over the $20,000 mark
By maddie1974 (12), southampton on Jun 15, 14 9:34 PM
I'm not following your complaint... the project has a sewage treatment plant which will treat the effluent to a standard many times greater than all of the existing single family home septic systems.

By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 14 9:19 AM
So true Maddie. I will be one of those paying $20,000 or more for water hook up! I might as well just rent one of the apartments. It will be cheaper for me! At one town board meeting the engineer in charge of the treatment system said that the developers would pay for all of us in the surrounding areas to get hooked up to town water. He was just saying it thinking it would appease us! Well, it backfired. What a mockery this whole situation is.
By Long Island Viking (28), Southampton on Jun 18, 14 12:18 PM
The Town Board was informed at the public meeting that there is a sheet of clay in that area, upon which perched water sits. If the approximate 7,000 to 15,000 gallons of effluent is allowed to enter the perched water, the water table closest to the surface will swell, and possibly flood the basements of the homes in the area. The homeowners told this to the Town Board because they have experience with past extreme rain events. Also, Suffolk County Water Authority is so concerned about the reliability ...more
By QuietLife (61), Southampton on Jun 19, 14 8:17 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By QuietLife (61), Southampton on Jun 19, 14 8:19 PM
"...The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation lists all of Long Island's waters as impaired. We are indeed in an endgame here, and we must play to win.

That is why getting The Long Island Water Quality Control Act passed is so crucial.[NY State Legislature Act and tomorrow is the last day for the vote for this legislative session.Call your Legislators!] Six months ago, the bill almost felt like a symbolic gesture. But then on January 24th of this year, Suffolk County released ...more
By QuietLife (61), Southampton on Jun 19, 14 10:19 PM
Based on those who are violently against it I would have to surmise that this is a fantastic project.
By Phil McCracken (10), Southampton on Jun 20, 14 8:09 AM
I resent your metaphor. Stinky shoe box indeed. Unless you live south on Gin Lane you have no room to talk. or write!
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 21, 14 11:18 AM
Funny, When 10 people from a CAC show up and the rest of the residents really want something, it gets denied. When there is a large opposition that clearly have concerns over the project, it gets approved. Only in Southampton. A backwards Town.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jun 20, 14 3:53 PM
The Sandy Hollow Cove Project is in the wrong place, to be considered a "smart growth" project, as described by the Town of Southampton's own document on the subject.

"Another strategy with respect to land use is “Smart Growth” wherein development is directed to existing hamlet centers and employment centers, and where transit facilities are readily available. Housing closer to employment or vice versa reduces traffic demands and concentrates both employment centers and housing ...more
By QuietLife (61), Southampton on Jun 21, 14 5:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
Maybe the red brick building near the train station will be next! This single project is going to multiply when developers find out how much money they can make. All of Southampton Town is vulnerable now to high density housing. Unfortunately, the town board just opened the door. So much opposition, yet so little listening and governing.
By Long Island Viking (28), Southampton on Jun 22, 14 11:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
Quite Life, please stop injecting FACTS into the discussion.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jun 22, 14 7:13 AM
1 member liked this comment
Holy Crap, the "Hope and Change" voters don't want it in their "prissy" area. Hypocritical, self serving, uppity complainers.
By kpjc (161), east quogue on Jun 25, 14 1:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
We are not uppity complainers! We are middle class, hard working citizens who care about the water quality for everyone in the town. This project doesn't affect just "us." It affects everyone. We also care about the traffic on Sandy Hollow Road and the safety of ALL who drive on it. We have not been given any straight answers from the developer or the town board, so why should we not complain?
By Long Island Viking (28), Southampton on Jun 28, 14 10:09 PM
2 members liked this comment
This is a huge mistake to build on the aquifers..EVERYONE will be affected folks!!
By sandydog21 (195), Southampton on Jun 25, 14 6:00 PM
Long Island is above a number of aquifers. Everybody lives in a dwelling built on an aquifer. When are you moving, Sdog, and returning your property to its natural state?
By VOS (1241), WHB on Jun 28, 14 11:09 PM
1 member liked this comment
Frances Genovese -- is she the same person who . . . . ? Well, she's not the one who was arrested outside Gabreski Airport, but she is indeed the same person who, at an earlier Town Board hearing on this subject, courted liability for slander by suggesting that people on the Board had been paid to vote in favor of the Sandy Hollow proposal.

Our elected officials aren't saints -- far from it -- but they are people who've taken on the burden of running this Town, and while they don't always ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 27, 14 3:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
Or when the Mayor of Weshtampton Dunes launched multiple accusations against a DEC official after a pay-to-play scheme ended and the State determined that all accusations were unfounded and baseless basically.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 27, 14 3:32 PM
The roots of this crisis are far deeper than the East End, or a need for affordable housing. We, as a people have been boondoggled, hornswoggled, and duped into believing that wealth would "trickle down" if "We" only allowed the alleged best and brightest among us to reap insane levels of reward for their participation in our society.

What do "We" have for such a belief?

A mass exodus is what we got in this test tube of "venture capitalism", and those who do remain are, well, ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 28, 14 10:30 PM
Once this fantastic development project is finished, the people have moved in, the water is still drinkable and the world did not end, will you -the sisters of perpetually blown hot air - return here to celebrate with me please? Thank you.
By Chickster (2), Southampton on Jun 29, 14 6:11 AM
building our way out of this affordable house crisis is only a vicious circle that benefits no one
By david h (405), southampton on Jul 3, 14 4:36 PM