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Apr 29, 2009 12:40 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Kabot says town government shoudn't be responsible for soup kitchen

Apr 29, 2009 12:40 PM

Town government should only have minimal involvement in any efforts to feed the hungry throughout the town, Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot told members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee on Monday night.

Ms. Kabot’s comments came after CAC members had written a letter asking her if the town could get more involved in efforts to feed Latino day laborers in Southampton Village. From the middle of February until April 1, a makeshift soup kitchen at Southampton Tire, located on North Sea Road in Southampton Village, was being operated by the Sisters of Mercy. Though they were shut down by code enforcement officers on April 1, that decision was overturned in mid-April.

While emphasizing that the issue of feeding the hungry should be separated from the issue of illegal immigration, and that feeding the hungry is important whether or not they are here illegally, Ms. Kabot said the responsibility should not fall on the town’s shoulders.

“If people are hungry, we should be benevolent in our ways and take care of people, but I don’t think it’s the town government’s responsibility,” she said. “Non-profits need to take on the role of feeding the hungry.”

Ms. Kabot went on to explain that the Suffolk County Department of Social Services does offer help to the homeless and unemployed, though to take advantage of those services people must be in the country legally. She also noted that the town provides grants to certain non-profit organizations in the town, such as Human Resources of the Hamptons, and that the town could facilitate the use of town-owned property to provide an area for private entities to offer humanitarian services.

“If a not-for-profit wanted to use a parking lot, we could play a role in that,” she said, urging CAC members to contact the town’s director of human services, Bill Jones, if they were interested in heading up a program to feed the hungry and wanted the town’s assistance.

In 2007, Southampton Town sued Southampton Village to stop the village from constructing a hiring site for day laborers on a 6-acre site at the corner of North Sea Road and Aldrich Lane because the parcel had been purchased using money from the Community Preservation Fund. In the lawsuit, the town argued that plans for the site were illegal under CPF guidelines.

Also on Monday, members of the CAC questioned Ms. Kabot on a proposed law that would allow members of the CAC to address the town’s Planning Board earlier in the application process, which she authored. At a Planning Board meeting in March, board members said they supported the law, but noted that state law would require the board to give public notice before any CAC member could address a specific application. As a result, they recommended that the proposed law be amended so that CAC members could speak generally to the Planning Board, but not refer to any one application.

CAC Vice Chairman Tony Lambert asked Ms. Kabot if the ability to speak to the town’s zoning board earlier could also be included in the law.

“[The ZBA] does their own little thing,” he said. “Whenever we try to talk to them, they’re five or six steps ahead of us.”

Ms. Kabot noted that the application process for the ZBA is different from the Planning Board in that it is more like going before a judge than a board, because all comments must be on the record. She also explained that the Zoning Board operates differently in that it only has one full-time employee, a secretary, while the Planning Board has an entire staff of planners who can speak to the public at any time. Nevertheless, following a concern from CAC member Jeffrey Vogel that the ZBA’s notification process did not provide enough notice to the CAC to attend hearings, Ms. Kabot said she would look into speeding up notification.

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Ms Kabots attitude is typical of government officials today all they know how to do is raise taxes and cut services . That's why we're in the mess we're in today
If we could stop with all these asinine rules and just try to be humane to other human beings we wouldn't have half the problems we have .So i guess that means things are going to get worst
Regards
...more
By jdpril20 (3), selden on Apr 29, 09 6:09 PM
To put this on Kabot's shoulder and taxpayers is absurd. The Fed State and County can ante up first. First you want the govt to wipe your derrier, but hat's not enough. After all, it's so inhumane to prevent THE STATE from assisting illegal do the same! Give work to Americans and their children first!
Also, please try to understand how the elite created the whole scenerio before laying it on a
Town or Village.
By kelbas (30), Southampton on Apr 29, 09 7:05 PM
Ms Kabot does not seem to realize the importance of local governments in quality of life issues, especially those that effect the poor and the homeless. While I applaud Ms. Kabot for emphasizing that the issue of feeding the hungry should be separated from the issue of illegal immigration, I believe she is more concerned with keeping her seat on the board then with helping our fellow residents, regardless of their legal status.

When Mayor Epley attempted to implement a humane solution ...more
By dagdavid (646), southampton on May 3, 09 6:07 PM
Feed a hungry animal and they never go away!
By Walt (292), Southampton on May 4, 09 8:05 PM