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Aug 5, 2019 4:41 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Developer Proposing 60 Affordable Apartments Could Get Chance To Apply For A Zoning Change Next Month

People opposed to a 60-unit affordable housing complex held up signs that read
Aug 7, 2019 11:13 AM

Developers proposing an affordable apartment complex behind the Southampton Full Gospel Church soon could be able to apply for a zone change that would allow the 60-unit housing development to be constructed, if Town Board members give their approval in a vote next month.

Representatives from Concern for Independent Living — an organization that creates affordable and workforce housing opportunities, and also provides services to those in need — made a second plea to the Southampton Town Board on Thursday, August 1, seeking permission to file an official application.

Ralph Fasano, the executive director of the organization, first met with the Town Board in February to gauge the board’s interest in the development on the 9.4-acre parcel off County Road 39, to the rear of the church property.

If the board members give the group a green light, the organization would be allowed to submit a formal application to change the zoning of the property from half-acre residential zoning to multi-family housing.

Under half-acre zoning, the developer could construct seven single-family homes on the site. If changed to multi-family zoning, Mr. Fasano and his team would be permitted to construct six units per acre, or 30 units. But because the units would be offered as affordable housing, the number of units can increase to 12 units per acre, or 60 units in total.

In February, Mr. Fasano was directed by the board to reach out to the community and listen to their concerns about the project. Nearly six months later, he was back in front of the board asking to move forward with the application.

Mr. Fasano told the board during the work session that he had met with the community, even touting that 60 to 70 letters had been submitted by community members in support of the project through East End YIMBY — which stands for “yes in my backyard” — a local initiative that advocates affordable housing.

The biggest concern Mr. Fasano said he heard from community members was the ingress and egress from the development, which includes one leading to the Hillcrest community, another to a development to the west and a third to County Road 39.

When asked by Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman if a solution to the roads to and from the development had been created, Mr. Fasano said it was still being worked on.

Town Board member Christine Scalera asked about density and said when the Speonk Commons development, a 38-unit affordable housing development on North Phillips Avenue, was pitched in 2015, it was proposed as a 50-unit development. After community members attended meetings in droves to oppose the development because of its density, the project was downsized to 38 units.

Mr. Fasano said if he and his team lower the number of units to 50, which Town Board members have requested, his organization will fall $1.7 million shy of the required amount to cover the costs. “Our density is really low in terms of people,” Mr. Fasano said.

But Ms. Scalera said 50 is still too large, especially since the largest development she has seen go up while serving on the board was 38 units.

If built as a 60-unit complex, the development would consist of 36 one-bedroom units and 24 two-bedroom units, amounting to 84 bedrooms. A one-bedroom would rent for anywhere between $550 and $800 per month and a two-bedroom would rent between $1,100 and $1,200 per month, according to Mr. Fasano.

At least 15 of the units are required to go to veterans, although he said he would rather see 30 go to veterans.

Mr. Fasano has not held a community meeting and said during the work session that he preferred meeting in smaller groups. He also said there are people out there with images of what Concern for Independent Living plans to do that “aren’t accurate.”

Once he has a plan, he said, he will go back to the community.

“There is validity to the people’s concerns,” Ms. Scalera said. “It’s not that one side is right or wrong … it’s a compromise.”

Mr. Schneiderman asked if there was a way to guarantee that the units go to people who work in the Southampton community, whether for the town, for the school districts, or any other business based in the town.

Mr. Fasano said there was no way to guarantee that all of the units are kept within the workforce, but it could be marketed in a way to get more applications from people living and working in the community. Ultimately, anyone eligible will be able to enter a lottery for the right to rent an apartment.

A big part of the money that is helping to pay for the development is coming from the state in the form of grants. The organization recently obtained a 9 percent low-income housing grant, and when combined with other sources of money, Mr. Fasano said, it pretty much has all of the funding necessary to build the development.

“These grants are highly competitive,” he said of the grant. “About one out of every four applications get funding. Those who get funded have a solid track record in doing this and build high quality housing where there is a dire need for such housing.”

Still, the board still has a number of questions concerning the development, including its density, the ingresses and egresses, traffic, energy efficiency and the number of units.

Town Planning and Development Administrator Kyle Collins advised Town Board members that they should say no if they are not in favor of Mr. Fasano and his organization submitting an application.

Going through the process will answer questions regarding traffic and density because traffic studies will be conducted as will a State Environmental Quality Review Act study and an environmental impact statement process, all of which will look into the effects the development will have on the area.

Until those studies are completed, many answers will not be available, Mr. Collins said.

The board directed Mr. Collins to complete a report on the application that will be due by September 9 for the board’s review. In addition to his report, the Town Board would need to approve a resolution, possibly at the same meeting, to allow Mr. Fasano and his organization to file the application.

Town Board member John Bouvier told Mr. Fasano that he is taking a risk because even though the application would be allowed, the Town Board could put a stop to the application at any time.

Mr. Fasano acknowledged the risk. He also warned the board not to make the process difficult.

“If there’s going to be more affordable housing here in Southampton, the funding source is going to be the state,” he said, adding that if the state experiences difficulty, future projects may suffer. “It’s in the best interest of the town.”

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Southampton will officially become Hell if this project proceeds.
Dump the Town Board.
By themarlinspike (429), Northern Hemisphere on Aug 6, 19 8:40 AM
1 member liked this comment
Suffolk looking more like the Bronx every day. People saved to move to Suffolk where houses were not on top of one another and are paying dearly in taxes and the town is taking that away from them.
By Resident tax (177), Hampton bays ny on Aug 6, 19 9:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
Why not ??
By marybmary (54), east hampton on Aug 6, 19 9:51 AM
WRONG PLACE ....
THERE IS ALREADY TO MUCH VEHICULAR TRAFIC IN THIS REGION

THE VILLAGE IS DECAYING AND THIS WILL HASTEN IT'S DEMISE

SHOPS SHUTTERED - BUSINESSES GONE

WHILE SAG IS PROSPERING, THE VILLAGE OF SOUTHAMPTON IS GOING UNDER
By jediscuba (70), Suthampton on Aug 8, 19 11:34 AM
NO< NO NO... Wrong place...
By knitter (1802), Southampton on Aug 6, 19 11:17 AM
Build as of right or not at all. Pulling a stunt like this in an election year will be detrimental to any and all voting to approve this ghetto.
By bigfresh (4490), north sea on Aug 6, 19 12:26 PM
This quote is all you need to know about this project: "Mr. Fasano has not had a community meeting and said during the work session that he preferred meeting in smaller groups."
By LMVT (56), Shinnecock Indian Reservation on Aug 6, 19 1:32 PM
I'm glad to see that every community is getting an opportunity to show our love for everyone, regardless of their economic status. I hope that the affluent neighbors in the area welcome everyone with open arms. I can't imagine why there would be any opposition to this wonderful project.
By HamptonDad (228), Hampton Bays on Aug 6, 19 1:45 PM
The opposition should, and will arise from the neighbors on Miller Road and Hillcrest Avenue. They will see their neighborhood transformed to a short cut from County Road 39.
Yes, I suppose you can’t imagine any opposition, especially when it is not your neighborhood being affected.
I am all for affordable housing, but common sense dictates that they simply don’t have proper access for that project on that lot.
By gusef (51), Southampton on Aug 6, 19 3:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
I agree with gusef. The roads on Hillcrest are super narrow, no way should traffic be directed through that neighborhood.drive up there, barely room for 2 cars to pass.
By Fred s (2866), Southampton on Aug 6, 19 3:54 PM
I work full time as a public employee for the town of Southampton and welcome this project as I am hopeful to be eligible, to be able to settle down, progress my career and eventually start a family here.

If projects like these don't happen in towns like ours the were average real estate is unaffordable for even a modest sized home with a middle class salary, the town and county will see a dramatic shift in demographic with people in their 20's/30's moving elsewhere to more thriving and ...more
By FarOutEast (14), Southampton on Aug 7, 19 8:51 AM
We moved here to get away from the ghettos of the Bronx and now you want to turn my home into this?

Projects like this should be placed in less desirable areas where traffic will not be seriously impacted.

If you can't afford to live in the Village of Southampton, then live where you can afford.
By jediscuba (70), Suthampton on Aug 8, 19 11:37 AM
Who's we? I've grown up here since I was a child.

It's not the Village of Southampton, its in the Town of.

Have you looked at the definition of "ghetto" recently?

So you're saying the people who serve your community everyday shouldn't be afforded the right to live here? Give me a break.
By FarOutEast (14), Southampton on Aug 9, 19 5:56 PM
There are restrictions attached to grants and other sources of funding. The Board should demand that no strings are attached to funding which then ensures that only employees of local business and or current Town homeowners or renters have the opportunity to apply for these units.
By auntof9 (150), Southampton on Aug 7, 19 10:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
Concern For Independent Living has removed the use of Hillcrest Ave from the plan. When the supervisor asked for a "show of hands" in support of the Community Development, I believe 21 people raised their hands. When he asked for those opposed, 3 people raised their hands, and each person opposed was there to oppose the use of Hillcrest Ave. Why that was not reported in this article is sad!
Ralph Fasano and CIL are highly respected Community Developers throughout Long Island and have built ...more
By MichaelDaly (13), Sag Harbor, New York on Aug 8, 19 9:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
You are clouding the issue by bringing up racism. How original of you! The issue is access to the property. There is precedent for this, as the developer of the housing development to the west of the subject property also wanted access through Hillcrest Avenue, and was denied, or withdrew his request due to community opposition.
“Ralph” the courageous man that he is,should look for an alternate site that has proper access. The Village should oppose this project.
By gusef (51), Southampton on Aug 8, 19 12:59 PM
And you're denying it. How original of you!
The access exists without going through Hillcrest and this will be a beneficial Community Development for locals and business owners.
By MichaelDaly (13), Sag Harbor, New York on Aug 8, 19 6:32 PM
MD, it diminishes your argument for your perceived benefit of this project when you demonize people who oppose it by pulling the "racism" card. I know you have a YIMBY movement, but as a HB resident, I have found YIMBY is more like YIYBY (Yes in YOUR backyard). I can't speak to this project, but I oppose dense resident projects in HB on the merits of the density. HB is the most dense hamlet and it puts wear and tear on the local school which is now about 25 students under its rated capacity, ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (512), Hampton Bays on Aug 8, 19 7:48 PM
Great idea the workers will get to live closer to their jobs. And will go to school in a better location while paying lower taxes.
By Ernie (88), Hampton Bays on Aug 9, 19 9:11 AM
1 member liked this comment
The Hampton Classic, Horse Show, Bridgehampton