Trees to make way for mansions in Bridgehampton?

The Southampton Town Planning Board will meet Thursday, January 10 at 7pm at Southampton Town Hall on Hampton Road. On the agenda is a "pre-application" for a large development in rural Bridgehampton. If this development is approved woodland would give way to more expensive housing for weekenders in an area that needs affordable housing for working class families.

The following letter was sent to the Planning Board and members of the Southampton Town Council:

January 10, 2008

Southampton Town Planning Board c/o Mr Dennis Finnerty

Ms. Linda Kabot, Supervisor
Town Council members:
Ms. Nancy Graboski,
Ms. Anna Throne-Holst
Mr. Chris Nuzzi

The South Fork Chapter of the Long Island Progressive Coalition notes with concern the pre-application by "Vintage Vines" for a 37 lot sub-division on 48 acres of presently wooded land in the vicinity of Scuttlehole Road near Huntington Crossing in Bridgehampton.

This application illustrates the dire need for an inclusionary zoning ordinance so that the affordable component would have been mandated for this development.

If this land is to be cleared for development we feel the Town should seriously consider the construction of affordable housing in this area where recently residents with modest means have been forced out of their homes as re-development brought new higher cost housing to the area. Although there has been a small amount of so-called affordable housing built in Bridgehampton and Southampton Town it is nowhere near what is required to allow the people who work in our mostly low and moderate wage economy to be able to live near their workplace. Even teachers, police and fireman are finding the housing situation impossible.

We suggest as a start that the Board consider a portion (at least 20%) of the units in the proposed development to be subsidized so that the carrying costs are no more that a third of the buyers’ family income. Also we suggest that the project be structured so that the units are affordable in perpetuity. We believe this will work if the developer is given a 'density bonus' as an incentive to built the affordable units.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss this in more detail at a mutually convenient time.

Sincerely, Kathryn Szoka, LIPC South Fork Chapter - Housing Committee
Bill Chaleff, LIPC South Fork Chapter Co-Chair
Antje Katcher, LIPC - South Fork Chapter Co-Chair