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Jul 29, 2009 4:16 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Residents oppose construction of 11 new affordable houses in Flanders

Jul 29, 2009 4:16 PM

Members of a local civic group said this week that they are still unhappy with Southampton Town’s plan to build nearly a dozen new affordable homes in Flanders.

Southampton Town Councilwoman Anna Throne-Holst told approximately 30 members of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association on Monday night that town officials must develop the 11 parcels, which were deeded to them by Suffolk County, as affordable housing. The properties, which are scattered throughout Flanders, were originally seized by Suffolk County due to non-payment of taxes before being deeded to the town.

During their July meeting Monday night, FRNCA members reiterated the same stance that they had taken during last month’s meeting, stating that they do not want more rental properties in their neighborhood.

On Monday night, Ms. Throne-Holst explained that the affordable homes would be dispersed throughout the hamlet and are not all located in one area. Also, she noted that some of the homes will be rentals while others can be purchased.

John White, the director of Southampton Town’s housing authority, whose office would be responsible for building the 11 houses, said a final decision on how many of the houses would be rentals has not yet been determined. He said a final decision will be made within the next month and that the number would be based on community input.

“Where this goes will be a joint effort,” Mr. White said.

Mr. White said the properties are located on Flanders Road, Oak Avenue, Flanders Boulevard, Maple Avenue and Oak Street. He added that none of the proposed houses is expected to be larger than 1,500 square feet.

Mr. White said he expects the town to begin construction on the houses before the end of the year.

“It’s not going to be the three-bedroom vinyl box,” said Brad Bender, the new president of the community group.

Ms. Throne-Holst stressed that Suffolk County deeded the 11 properties to the town with the provision that they be used for affordable housing.

Originally, the county wanted the town to begin work on the affordable units by 2007, before granting the town an extension, according to Ms. Throne-Holst. The town now has until the end of this year to have completed significant work on the affordable houses.

If the town does not build the houses, the properties will be returned to Suffolk County, according to Ms. Throne-Holst. If that happens, the county would then be responsible for constructing the affordable units and, most likely, would solicit bids from affordable housing agencies to develop them.

In spite of the explanation, those in attendance Monday night said they do not want additional affordable housing units built in their community.

“I make $40,000 a year, and I live in Flanders,” said Michael Brewer, a former president of the civic group. “Flanders is affordable housing already.”

Mr. Brewer said group members have long fought for the town to clean up the rental houses in Flanders, Riverside and Northampton, stressing that homeowners do not want more rentals in their neighborhood.

“Not everyone can afford to buy a house,” Mr. White said. “Everyone here knows someone who needs rental housing.”

Mr. White explained that there are many predatory landlords in Southampton Town who inflate rental prices in the summer, leaving working families without a home. “It’s an issue we deal with every day,” Mr. White said.

Chris Sheldon, a member of the community association, asked Ms. Throne-Holst Monday if there was any way town officials could prevent the 11 properties from being developed as affordable housing. She replied that only the Suffolk County Legislature could reverse the rules of the county’s affordable housing program.

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What's the problem with this issue. This is a NO BRAINER!! Build the houses and sell them to qualified families on an "Cost" basis meaning, what the cost of building is will be the sale price of the house...

The Town has received the land for free. If they can't come up with a low cost house, reasonably styled, which a family, not a Landlord, can own and live in, they are as useless as they seem to be with everything else financial in this town.
By JackC574 (21), Southampton on Jul 31, 09 12:53 AM
2 members liked this comment
Fighting affordable housing? You must be kidding, people.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Aug 1, 09 7:23 PM
How very arrogant of Flanders. No more renters?
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Aug 1, 09 7:43 PM
Excuse me, I live in Flanders and I'm a renter and I take very good care of my home and property, as if it were my own. I don't want any renters who aren't going to "love" their home like some of us do. Where do you live in Hampton Bays or Southampton...... Let's send them your way and see how you feel. Tallk about arrogant.. mind your own business and stop making judgement calls on something that has nothing to do with you!!!
By Flandersnews (1), Flanders on Aug 2, 09 8:28 PM
peoplefirst, it's affordable RENTAL housing that is the issue
squeaky, oil yourself and read the story

The opposition to this is based on the fact that this turns into a a job security program for John White and company. There is no need for the town to be acting like landlords. The area residents would welcome theses home as being available for PURCHASE. There is currently a glut of absentee landlord housing throughout the northwest area of the town.
The program as being sold ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Aug 3, 09 11:32 AM
RENTAL properties DEFEAT the purpose of "affordable housing", which is kind of a loaded term around these parts anyway.

What do you rationally need with more than 1500 sq. ft. anyway?

The larger the house, the more it can cost to potentially heat AND cool, unless some type of passive "green" system is employed.

Build some decent homes, and tailor the price to people who have a combined income of thirty to fifty thousand dollars a year. That should create an affordable ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 4, 09 7:38 PM