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Jan 23, 2019 11:10 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board Rejects Proposal To Purchase Bel-Aire Cove Motel With CPF Money

Southampton Town Board members declined to back Board Member Christine Scalera's proposal to purchase the Bel-Aire Cove Motel in Hampton Bays with Community Preservation Fund money. GREG WEHNER
Jan 23, 2019 12:04 PM

A proposal to purchase the Bel-Aire Cove Motel in Hampton Bays using Community Preservation Fund money failed to gain the support of five Southampton Town Board members on Tuesday, despite an overwhelming response from the community to preserve the parcel instead of using $1,060,000 in taxpayer dollars to clean it up and put it back on the market.

Town Board member Christine Scalera proposed the CPF purchase after previous hearings to purchase the blighted motel under the community development program were bombarded by residents who said CPF was the better solution. She did not win any of her four colleagues over to the idea.

Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman originally proposed purchasing the Bel-Aire Cove Motel, leveling the building, putting in the proper zoning and permits that would attract a buyer, and putting it up for sale after working with the community to come up with a plan for the land.

That plan, Mr. Schneiderman has said, could consist of another 22-unit motel that would be beneficial to tourism, or 10 condominiums, which would increase the tax base.

The current 22-unit motel has a value of just over $1,000,000 and brings in nearly $20,000 in property taxes each year. Mr. Schneiderman said if 10 condominiums were built there and each sold for $750,000, the town would collect much more in taxes.

Although many in the community spoke up during numerous public hearings, and said they would rather see the parcel purchased with CPF money, the Town Board chose otherwise.

On Tuesday, Mr. Schneiderman suggested tabling Ms. Scalera’s proposal to purchase the property with CPF to consider a third proposal—this time to implement an urban renewal plan to clean up the property and restore it as a hotel or resort.

But Ms. Scalera argued that as the bill’s sponsor, only she could table her resolution. She insisted that it move forward. “I think we’ve been kicking this can down the road long enough,” she said. “It doesn’t make any sense to keep dragging it along.”

When asked for a second for the motion, none of the other board members stepped up—and her proposal failed.

Ms. Scalera thanked the community for speaking out at the numerous public hearings, “even though it fell on deaf ears.”

When the public hearing to use CPF money was set in December, Town Board members had already said how they planned to vote, and nothing was different on Tuesday.

Board member John Bouvier said he did not want to set a precedent by purchasing the Bel-Aire Cove Motel because he has seen too many properties purchased with CPF and then become neglected.

Board member Tommy John Schiavoni said he was ready to vote “no” on the purchase because he would rather see more money added to the tax base. If the property were to be purchased using CPF money, it would result in the town paying $20,000 to the Hampton Bays School District in the form of a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT payments. Board member Julie Lofstad said she would have voted against a CPF purchase because people in the community have told her the town needs to increase the tax base and stop buying properties with CPF.

Mr. Schneiderman said the town has done a lot of investing in trying to rebuild Hampton Bays. Some of the projects include creating a pier from the old Ponquogue Bridge, upgrading the Ponquogue Beach Pavilion and facilities at Hot Dog Beach, and restoring the Tiana Lifesaving Station.

All of these things, Mr. Schneiderman has said, will help tourism, and when the town is working to increase tourism, it does not make sense to tear down a hotel.

“I’m listening,” Mr. Schneiderman said, adding that he was initially told not to use CPF money to purchase the property. Instead, he said, he would rather see the property benefit the tax rolls.

Even though Ms. Scalera’s proposal was shot down, it could be revisited later, at which point another public hearing would need to be rescheduled.

Mr. Schneiderman’s resolution to purchase the property for community development was ultimately tabled and a new public hearing to consider an urban renewal plan for the property was scheduled for February 26 at 6 p.m.

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I was at this meeting and many of the others. The only elected official that listened and tried to get to the relevant facts and law was Councilperson Scalera. This process has been the poster child for institutional corrupt from from the original walk on resolution to purchase the Bel-Aire property for redevelopment back in August - a systemic failure for the government to provide governance..yet again failing the residents of the Bel-Aire, the environment and the community...and we get all this ...more
Jan 23, 19 1:19 PM appended by G.A.Lombardi
I guess I should have better proofread. ..my vision is not what it used to be.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 19 1:19 PM
This is sad. Southampton town leadership kicks the can down the road to over promise & under deliver. Two years from now, it will be more of the same from this location.
By ZGerry (50), Hamptons on Jan 23, 19 8:15 PM
Yes, the town has failed on the enforcement.
I still think it is illegal to use CPF monies to purchase the motel. Then the board wants to resell it to a special interest. Might be time for the DA to investigate the board and it's lawyers...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Jan 23, 19 2:01 PM
Every single Hampton Bays resident that spoke at the hearing asked them to purchase the property with CPF funds! So much for the will of the people...
By cmac (184), East Quogue on Jan 23, 19 2:35 PM
knitter, I think you are mixing two separate funding sources. If it is purchased with the Community Preservation Funds (CPF), it will be preserved as open space - it cannot be resold or re-developed. The alleged "plan" from Jay in August was to buy the property under a Community Development Agency formed under NYS Law and get the permits in place for a redevelopment and resell it. The Governor vetoed the bill to form the Community Development Agency in December. Now Jay is circumventing that ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 19 3:22 PM
Leave the CPF money alone - it was proposed to PRESERVE our natural resources, farmland & open spaces - not buy garbage motels.
By NoName27 (16), Southampton on Jan 23, 19 3:53 PM
this place is in a environmentally sensitive and dense area. The CPF committee and and administrator recommended it be purchased with CPF notwithstanding it is a "garbage motel".
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 19 4:48 PM
I agree with you 1000% on this. Find other solutions & enforce the law. How is it even possible that the Town allows the illegal activities that go on at that motel? Another example of selective law/code enforcement.
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 19 5:09 PM
My post was meant for NoName27
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 19 5:10 PM
HamptonDad, most people that have followed this and other overcrowded and illegally used property for 5 years would probably agree with you 100%. However, the Town has failed the community and continues to make excuses. The proposal for CPF made sense since it would force the relocation of the residents and it is actually an environmentally sensitive area and leaving it as open space can alleviate some of the density in the area. I have no idea why the Supervisor and 3 of the 4 Town Councilpersons ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 19 5:29 PM
G.A. - Environmentally sensitive?? This site is about 95% built on, cleared, paved & bulkheaded with numerous septics - not worth preserving unless you demo everything above & below grade, which will cost even more money. Then what's left - an open field collecting trash. While I'd like see all waterfront eyesores removed, that is not what CPF was meant for.
By NoName27 (16), Southampton on Jan 24, 19 10:20 AM
I am a CPA, not an environmental lawyer, but the head of the CPF and the head of the CPF committee recommended that this be purchased so I defer to their expertise. If purchased with CPF, this will be demolished just as Hidden Cove, the Lobster Inn and probably others. The Town has a failed code enforcement process.
The residents are being victimized twice - first by the landlord and then by the Town Administration for about a decade that was supposed to protect them.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 28, 19 5:31 PM
How about you board the piece it up and find those people living in the mess a better situation. Why is this piece of garbage still collecting checks. It’s sad that it’s going to take someone getting hurt or killed in that pit for the town to truly act.
By bigblue84 (89), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 19 4:24 PM
"All of these things, Mr. Schneiderman has said, will help tourism, and when the town is working to increase tourism, it does not make sense to tear down a hotel" This place is not a hotel where "tourists" are going to want to stay. This place is a disgrace. Between the overcrowding, the roach and bed bug infestation, and who knows what else, this place will only harm any tourism Hampton Bays may possibly have. I can just see the TripAdvisor reviews now about what a slum the place is...
By MrsD (53), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 19 4:37 PM
The owner of this property is a disgrace, shows a blatant disregard for the law and his tenants. How this business is allowed to operate is mind boggling.
By ashhelm (9), hampton bays on Jan 23, 19 5:07 PM
I don't understand why the town didn't just tear down the building and keep the lot as open space.
Jan 23, 19 5:09 PM appended by Rich Morey
I mean I don't understand why they didn't purchase it with CPF funds and then tear down the building.
By Rich Morey (378), East Hampton on Jan 23, 19 5:09 PM
To Crmac. You are incorrect. I was there and both myself and my husband (via s mail) arebin support of the redevelopment of the property. This article from the press is to biased as usual. Economic development is HB is sorely needed. Not an empty lot
By Donna T (11), Hampton bays on Jan 23, 19 5:28 PM
cmac, I was there and can attest that Donna T and her husband supported the plan and opposed the purchase with CPF. I have now requested all the public input under FOIL since Supervisor Schneiderman represented he has worked with the community, Councilperson Lofstad said people have told her not to purchase it with CPF and Councilperson Bouvier indicated that 1/2 of the people opposed the purchase with CPF. If their statements are not supported by public documents, our elected officials have ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 19 5:37 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Frythea (8), Southampton on Jan 23, 19 7:51 PM
I was referring to the public hearing on this resolution. Everyone who spoke at that hearing was in favor.
By cmac (184), East Quogue on Jan 24, 19 9:18 AM
C’mon SH Press—put this purchase in context for your readership.

Scroll back 10 years—derelict cottages directly E. Of Sears Bellows Park.

Environmentally sensitive area with antiquated septic system.
Town CPF purchase, demolition of cottages, relocation of residents, restoration to natural state.

Do you have access to your own archives?

By aging hipster (201), Southampton on Jan 23, 19 5:40 PM
This is the property on Shinnecok Road, the one where CCHB commissioned a water study of Penny Pond that the Town Administration ignored. The Town Administration also settled with the owners of Tiana Pines to allow for conversion to apartments after about 5 years and 50+ adjournments.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 19 6:18 PM
This guy laughs to the bank every month? Must have some great lawyer
By bigblue84 (89), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 19 6:51 PM
If you’d been folllowing the story you’d know that one of the main points Councilwoman Scalera made was that yes economic development was indeed the preferred course but because of the terrible track record the Town has with enforcement there was little reason to believe that what would ever be built under this “plan” wouldn’t ultimately return to the problem it is now. Coupled with the fact that this is all speculative and this plan requires using over 1 million of ...more
By Frythea (8), Southampton on Jan 23, 19 7:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
I have been following very closely. Been to every meeting about this issue. Took me some time and thought before I chose a side. We can agree to disagree on this topic. The urban development plan will be on the website shortly. The Supervisor asked Ms. Scalera twice to the CPF resolution instead of looking for a motion. This would allow the community to compare both options. She chose to not table it because “ they have kicked the can up the road long enough”. She said the ...more
By Donna T (11), Hampton bays on Jan 23, 19 10:33 PM
I have been following this and at all the meetings for years. This issue stems from a failure of Supervisor Schneiderman's administration to enforce the code. He was aware and involved in the Hidden Cove 5 years ago when he was at the County. He misrepresented and mishandled the original alleged and fathom plan under the NYS CDA in August. Councilperson Scalera had NO support for the public hearing and resolution. An approved resolution would have put an end to the circus. Supervisor Schneiderman, ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 24, 19 7:23 AM
The Community did weigh in-They wanted the CPF purchase! She may have had other reasons as well but Council woman Scalera's stand to not continue to be a part of the circus that defines this administration all the while holding the Hampton Bays community hostage was the right thing to do. Continue to stand up to them Ms. Scalera and Maybe an announcement soon?
By Roughrider28 (80), southampton on Jan 24, 19 9:22 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Brandon Quinn (191), Hampton Bays on Jan 24, 19 1:38 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Brandon Quinn (191), Hampton Bays on Jan 24, 19 1:38 AM
What happened with the expensive, politically connected up island law firm that filed some sort of pre-law suit against the Town? The law firm that the School Board hired with our money?
The level of competence in our Town politics seems low, and we are all paying high property taxes because of it. 27 units being built in Wainscott for projects with our money, $28,000 per child per year for an Hampton Bays public school education, higher in Quogue and Southampton.
It's time to find some ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Jan 24, 19 6:47 AM
Another interesting point to note is that Councilperson Lofstad stated that people have stopped her on the street and told her "no more CPF", but had no problem approving a CPF purchase for a potential waste treatment plant in Hampton Bays. Is she actually suggesting that the most dense hamlet should not be awarded monies for preservation and open space, but it is ok for a waste treatment plant?
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 24, 19 9:03 AM
Time for new representatives. Lofstad out unless motel is closed

Enough with this do nothing council.
By Fernie11946 (11), Hampton Bays on Jan 24, 19 5:01 PM
4 million for a movie theater. A million for the environment? nah
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 24, 19 8:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
This town board is so shot. Julie Lofstad you are so pathetic and do nothing but backstab your own home town. HB has been completely ignored and this board isn’t helping at all. Time for a change people and it starts by voting Bouvier out of office come November. Guy is a hypocrite and is always back pedaling on his word.
By watchoutnow968 (56), Southampton on Jan 24, 19 8:57 PM
You say “This town board is so shot,” watchout. Really? Regarding Councilman John Bouvier, what you call “back pedaling,” I call being careful with the people’s money. Mr. Bouvier says he’s seen too many properties bought with CPF funds and then neglected, so he doen’t want to go that route here. Do you have a problem with that?

Supervisor Jay Schneiderman says he’d like to see the use of this property promote the overall tourism objectives ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jan 27, 19 12:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
TB, again you are on the SH Democratic Committee - people reading your posts should know that. Many of the people that have gone to the public hearing about this have NO political or personal interest. Mr. Bouvier said "he doesn't want to start a precedent" buying this property. what a ridiculous statement - the whole purpose of the CPF is to buy environmentally sensitive property. Tommy-John Schiavoni went on and on bout the PILOTS at Eastport-Manorville (where I believe he worked and is now ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 28, 19 7:02 AM