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Nov 14, 2011 5:45 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Angry Residents Want Answers Before Hampton Bays Shelter Opens

Nov 16, 2011 8:53 AM

Longtime residents of West Tiana Road in Hampton Bays said they were shocked to learn of plans for a new homeless shelter to be sited at the Hidden Cove Motel, and many are now galvanizing efforts to keep the facility from opening just steps from their homes.

Seven concerned homeowners, including some who have lived on West Tiana Road for more than 30 years, met Saturday morning to discuss their options and express outrage that they were never included in a decision made by Suffolk County that they believe will alter their residential neighborhood forever.

“This is going to impact our quality of life and the value of our properties,” said Gail Liner who, along with her husband, Robert, have owned their West Tiana Road summer home for decades.

The Liners and their neighbors learned approximately two weeks ago that the owners of the Hidden Cove Motel—listed as the Laml Realty Corporation, according to Southampton Town records—intend to evict an estimated 20 rental tenants so that Suffolk County’s Department of Social Services can open a full-scale homeless shelter there before the end of the year. Currently, about a dozen homeless individuals are being offered temporary housing at the motel by the DSS.

Renters received a letter last month from the motel’s owners stating they must seek new housing by the end of November. The DSS and provider Community Housing Innovations Inc., an organization with offices on Long Island and in Westchester County, plan to open a full-scale homeless shelter at the site, possibly as early as December.

Although Gregory Blass, the commissioner of Suffolk’s DSS, said he could not confirm that a homeless shelter would open at the site, Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said that such a plan is now on the table. “The town is actively seeking alternatives and is working to find creative solutions that could include affordable housing options,” Ms. Throne-Holst said this week.

In a letter dated October 18 and hand-delivered to residents, the owners of the motel state: “The Hidden Cove Motel shall be ceasing its current operations as of November 30, 2011. We request all units be vacated by that date.”

But residents who live mere feet away from the motel say they were blindsided by the news, and are now demanding answers. The motel previously served as a homeless shelter for the county from 1999 until 2002, when it operated under the name “Luv ‘Em.”

“We’re still in the dark,” said Joseph Lach, who was born and raised in Hampton Bays and has lived on West Tiana Road for 36 years.

Many locals said their lives have already been negatively impacted by those now living at the motel—both the renters, who rent rooms on a weekly or monthly basis, and the homeless who are being housed at the location.

“This environment is not appropriate for the homeless,” said Mr. Liner, an attorney. “There are people walking down the street with shopping carts, which they leave in front of our house, and people urinating on our lawn. This is my home.”

Mr. Liner also questioned why the county is allowed to create a homeless shelter—a clear change of use from a motel—without securing permission from the town. As for the structure itself, neighbors and some current tenants say it is dilapidated. Neighbors this week sent a letter to the town, demanding that it complete an inspection of the motel to ensure that it meets all fire and building codes.

Rental tenant Tiffany Herman, 19, a disabled woman who says she is being forced to find a new home, said she knows of someone whose leg went right through the second-floor landing. Only now, with the shelter being planned, are property owners making repairs, she said.

The Laml Realty Corporation did not respond to requests seeking comment. The property has been listed with local real estate agents for a number of years.

Roseann Pinna, another neighbor, said she and others want to know if the motel, traditionally just a seasonal business, can handle the demands that come with full occupancy throughout the year. She said she is also concerned that the motel might not meet current fire and building codes, creating a potential liability for the town.

“This could mushroom into a significant burden for the town,” Ms. Pinna said.

Other irate residents want to know why Hampton Bays must shoulder the burden of a homeless facility when their hamlet is already the home of a drug rehabilitation center; the Long Island Center for Recovery is located on Montauk Highway. They also pointed out that town residents have been asked to house all of the county’s homeless sex offenders over the past four years; the trailers housing them are in Westhampton and Riverside.

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Community Housing Innovations has a very weak track record concerning the supervision of other properties they own in Southampton Town.
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Nov 16, 11 12:48 AM
Since we've been living in the Bays, we have seen many improvements to the area. One of the biggest eyesores was the old shelters on Ponquogue where the new firehouse is. Now, I am not against homeless people, they have to live somewhere, but think of the quality of life issues. I'm just saying...
By **HBQueenBee** (46), Hampton Bays on Nov 16, 11 10:04 AM
1 member liked this comment
You are right. They have to live somewhere. And there were already a bunch of homeless there already.

On the east end, there aren't alot of low cost options. You got Hampton Bays, Flanders and Springs. Maybe some areas in North Sea and the Turnpike.

At least in Hampton Bays they will blend in better with the locals. Like the pipe people, air guitar guy and crazy ponquogue lady.

Classic NIMBY.
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Nov 16, 11 2:40 PM
I will also add, there is a homeless/halfway house/drug rehab house in water mill too.

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. - Jesus Christ (AKA Tim Tebow)

By C Law (354), Water Mill on Nov 16, 11 3:12 PM
I must say I am a bit confused by your posts. You add this snarky bit...

"At least in Hampton Bays they will blend in better with the locals. Like the pipe people, air guitar guy and crazy ponquogue lady. "

then talk about doing unto others. What exactly is your point?

As was pointed out in the article this was a hotel. It was not a home and surely after years of no repairs it can not be a safe environment. Please lets house people appropriately and spread the homes ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 16, 11 5:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
who do you mean annie with the toilet paper on finger or the air guitar guy and it is not the pipes its the tubes I used to be a Hampton Bays man and now i am ashamed to even be from a town that socially puts down other people who are less fortunate. I heard that the crazy lady with the tp on finger was a millionaire
and the air guitar guy was an all state wrestler on the Hampton Bays baymen
wrestling team !!!!!!
By TO BAD (24), hampton bay on Nov 16, 11 7:46 PM
"...the air guitar guy was an all state wrestler on the Hampton Bays baymen wrestling team !!!!!!"

He was.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 16, 11 8:10 PM
So the Town, landlord & DSS are fine w/ evicting 20 rental residents to then create a shelter. Are they not potentially creating 20 new homeless families with the eviction? Even creating one homeless situation only perpetuates the problem.
How can they all be evicted on such short notice? Nice work Anna & all else
involved. How much taxpayer $$ will the landlords be getting? Were they campaign donors Anna? How much does Anna pay Eddie for her Sagaponack rental? Maybe she got Eddie to sign ...more
By G (342), Southampton on Nov 17, 11 7:39 AM
Please let me know the website where we can voice our concerns as residents of Hampton Bays. We live in a society that allows changes to a neighborhood, open borders without hearing from those involved. Hampton Bays has been the dumping ground for too long. Also, I am NOT in favor of
housing near the Canoe Place Inn.
By Bridget325 (27), Hampton Bays on Nov 18, 11 6:58 AM
2 members liked this comment
I agree!
By **HBQueenBee** (46), Hampton Bays on Dec 7, 11 9:53 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By unjustifiedjustice2 (35), East Quogue on Nov 18, 11 11:45 AM
It was always my understanding thazt any type of multiple dweliing housing for individuals who might not have access to a car or other transportation should be placed in areas where there is availability to stores and buses etc. This seems totally opposite for this parcel - Didn't we gp through this in East Quogue a few years back?! Hampton Bays and North Sea are frequently dumping grounds - These issues need to be brought to the CAC's before moving forward by the town!!!1
By Legal Immigrant (11), Southampton on Nov 18, 11 1:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
Unmentioned in the article is that West Tiana Rd. sports a string of small, seedy motels that have been used to house subsidized county tenants for decades. But at least these folks were responsible enough to qualify for a subsidized program. Most homeless shelters simply provide a bed for whoever needs one that night regardless of character.

The Hampton Bays residents are rightly worried about the degradation in status of one of these residences, particularly if it signals the beginning ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 18, 11 5:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well maybe the tenants who are being evicted will be able to stay there as they will now be "homeless" as well.
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Nov 19, 11 10:25 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By patrick61 (18), Hampton Bays on Nov 19, 11 10:31 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 21, 11 5:50 PM
2 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Nov 22, 11 11:24 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By patrick61 (18), Hampton Bays on Nov 22, 11 12:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By adinhb (1), hampton bays on Nov 22, 11 1:19 PM