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Jan 12, 2016 10:59 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Apartment Complex Plans Spur Birth Of New Community Group In Speonk

Jan 12, 2016 2:48 PM

A new community group called Remsenburg Eastport Speonk Communities United—or RESCU for short—has been formed in response to a pair of proposed apartment complexes targeting the western side of North Phillips Avenue in Speonk.

According to the group’s website, www.rescugroup.com, the single mission of RESCU is “to provide a cohesive response to development proposals within our communities.”

The two proposals targeted by the new group include a 50-unit workforce housing apartment complex, proposed by Jericho-based Georgica Green Ventures LLC and targeting 4.4 acres at 41 North Phillips Avenue, and a 44-unit apartment complex being considered by Centereach-based All Island Purchase Corp. for 7.7 acres at 85 North Phillips Avenue. The first proposal, which targets the property that features a vacant building known locally as “The Castle,” would require the Town Board to sign off on a planned development district and has the support of the Southampton Town Housing Authority.

A third development, a subdivision that will feature 13 luxury, six-bedroom houses for 95 North Phillips Avenue, is nearing final approval.

The website was put together by Kerry Horton, one of the six founding members of RESCU. The 47-year-old Remsenburg resident, who works as a manager at the Firematic Supply Company in East Yaphank, said the intent of the website is to compile information being shared by residents of the three hamlets, local civic groups and the Housing Authority.

Since forming in November, Ms. Horton said more than 400 community members have signed up to be included on her group’s email distribution list.

Craig Catalanotto, another founding member of the new group, said this week that local residents are not panicking over the development proposals. Rather, the 46-year-old Speonk resident, who owns Spire Awards & Gifts in the hamlet, said members of the new group want to stay on top of all development projects targeting their communities.

He also stressed that RESCU is not against affordable and workforce housing; rather, he said, members are concerned about proposed zoning changes that could greatly increase density in the hamlet and possibly overburden the Remsenburg-Speonk School District.

“RESCU was created with a singular purpose: to maintain the town master plan in terms of development,” Mr. Catalanotto said.

Mr. Catalanotto noted that he does not oppose the housing subdivision proposed for North Phillips Avenue, dubbed Serenity Estates, noting that the developer is adhering to current zoning. In contrast, the two apartment complexes would require zoning changes.

Other concerns listed on the RESCU website include rising taxes, the potential loss of The Castle, a run-down building that has some historical significance, added traffic and increases in septic discharges. A chart on the site also illustrates how members think an increase in density can result to a spike in school taxes.

Group members are also questioning the actual need for workforce housing in the area, suggesting on their website that the people such housing would attract would not be employed in their communities.

As part of their effort to keep locals informed, group members intend to update their website and let residents know when new information is available and when meetings have been scheduled.

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"Group members are also questioning the actual need for workforce housing in the area, suggesting on their website that the people such housing would attract would not be employed in their communities."

Not really. More so questioning the wisdom of doing max density projects west of the canal. Also questioning why the housing authority isn't proactively trying to add accessory apartments to existing dwellings. We have retired people out here that could use the income too.
By Craigcat (258), Speonk on Jan 14, 16 4:29 PM
No more zoning changes for massive increases in density. Housing can be addressed through loosening the standards for accessory apartments.
By Sleeping Giant (20), Southampton on Jan 14, 16 5:38 PM
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