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Jul 6, 2012 1:09 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Town Board Requires Affordable Homes, Not Rentals, For Five Flanders Properties

Jul 11, 2012 1:44 PM

Three members of the Southampton Town Board have sidestepped the town’s Housing Authority by declaring that five properties in Flanders, land the municipality has received from Suffolk County, can be used only for the construction of owner-occupied homes sold at greatly discounted rates to qualified middle-income buyers.

A majority vote pushed through the resolution on Tuesday afternoon over strenuous objections from members of the Housing Authority, along with Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, who insisted that the town should conduct a survey of Flanders residents, as has been planned, and ask if they would prefer that the town build affordable rentals on the properties instead.

But Councilman Chris Nuzzi, who authored the resolution, and fellow Town Board members Christine Scalera and Jim Malone voted in favor of the resolution, which binds the five properties—four on Vail Street and one on Old Quogue Road. Mr. Nuzzi said he introduced it after members of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association (FRNCA) demonstrated a clear case for building homes for single families rather than rentals.

“I do believe that, from a planning perspective and a revitalization perspective, homeownership on these parcels is relevant,” Ms. Scalera said. “We hear from and meet with these groups routinely, and that lends a lot of credibility to what they’ve said to us.”

Over the last two months, FRNCA members have implored the Town Board to build affordable owner-occupied homes on the properties, which were seized by Suffolk County for nonpayment of taxes. Similar homes that the Housing Authority and the Long Island Housing Partnership are preparing to build nearby are being sold for approximately $180,000.

Association members told board members last month that irresponsible renters in the neighborhood have created blighted properties. Those who own their homes, they argued, are more apt to keep them in good condition.

Housing Authority officials, though, told the Town Board that since seven new homes are already slated to be built later this year in the neighborhood, there was more of a need for affordable rental units. The Housing Authority said it was still trying to figure out how to conduct its proposed survey of hamlet residents, many of whom, it has surmised, do not attend FRNCA meetings.

The Housing Authority’s leadership blasted the Town Board for its decision, pleading with its members not to adopt the resolution before it was passed, 3-1. Ms. Throne-Holst objected, while Ms. Fleming abstained, stating that she did not have enough information.

“What are you afraid of? What is the downside? At least by doing [the survey] we find out what everybody wants or that nobody cares,” said Bonnie Cannon, the vice chair of the Housing Authority. “I don’t hold anything against any community association ... I just strongly believe that there are many within that community that have no idea what is happening to these five properties and should be afforded the opportunity to give their feedback.”

Lucius Ware, the president of the Eastern Long Island chapter of the NAACP, said the greatest need within the town is for low-income rental housing, not middle-income first-time homeownership.

“I say that in as much as one of the most screaming, crying, pressing needs of the town is identified by many people across the spectrum [as] the dire need for housing for people of low income,” he said. “When we compare what is done and what is not done in the towns of Riverhead, Southold and East Hampton, Southampton’s performance has been most deplorable and almost nil, and it’s about time we open the door to as many avenues as possible to build it.”

In the run-up to Tuesday’s meeting, Mr. Nuzzi had a very different view of the situation in Southampton.

“I can’t see the need for additional rental units,” he said on Friday. “If you want to put investment into that community, then you should build these properties out to individuals who will own the homes. That financial investment spurs additional investment into the community, instead of rental units where, in the past, we have found absentee landlords.”

Ms. Throne-Holst said she has heard enough contradictory appeals by area residents to convince her that a survey needs to be done before deciding what to do with the properties. Ms. Cannon said the town will not be ready to move forward with the project for several months.

“In my opinion, we are elected to represent everyone in a community, and when one person comes to me and says, ‘I want to be heard on this ... I’m a grandmother who wants to live in that community and I can’t afford to live in what they call affordable housing’ ... It suffices for me that if one person comes to me and says that—and there have been many more than one—this weekend there was an outcry about this” the supervisor said. “All I’m saying is that if someone comes to me and says, ‘I’m not everyone,’ let’s find a way to give that person a voice.”

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Does Mr. Nuzzi mean to preclude the planned survey of the community by his resolution? Does he believe the "more than a dozen members" of FRANCA who called him are enough of a sampling of community opinion to go ahead and rule out rentals? Seems a little thin to me. If we don't provide rental housing for our young people, they won't be able to live here, and we'll age out as a town.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 6, 12 9:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
Flanders, Riverside and Northampton have an over abundance of Rental housing, not to mention a school density problem. This has been an on-going debate in Flanders, Riverside and Northampton for years. And thank you to Mr. Nuzzi to hear the cries of the community, not just a dozen people but from four separate community groups. FRNCA, Bay View Pines, Waters Edge and Riverside Revitalization (RRCC).....The one fact that everyone is missing is the part about these houses being Tax Exempt. Which means ...more
By Laura510 (2), Flanders on Jul 11, 12 10:23 AM
TB - I see no reason why you can't have both ... just not in a "house". isn't there an affordable apartment law in place in SH? If not ... get going!
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Jul 13, 12 5:07 PM
"living here"

That seems to denote ownership to me, and rentin' ain't ownin'.

Now that I think about it, considering we have a crop, and a good deal of the nation is in drought; maybe we shold knock down a few useless, ostentatious, aravistic, eyesore monuments to excess, and farm the land for food.

It looks like we might need it...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 6, 12 11:57 PM
If a person purchases a subsidized home, can they rent it out themselves or can they sell it for a profit? How do we decide who gets them?
How would one win the Chris Nuzzi Lottery?
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jul 7, 12 8:16 AM
One has to realize that Mr.Nuzzi, (so far) seems to be the only one on the Town Board coming forward to address the wishes of the various community groups. The remaining Board Members know very well each of the civic groups have been alive and well for many years, and not to be discounted in some of their comments. All are a cross-section of Americans, comprised of different Ethnic and Muti-Nationalities wanting their corner of Southampton Town to be the best it can be for themselves and families. ...more
By The Squirl (36), Red creek on Jul 7, 12 11:42 AM
2 members liked this comment
Mr. Nuzzi, as I suggested above, is indeed catering to the wishes of the community groups, but the "community groups" aren't the whole community. I belong to my local civic association and I have great respect for their work, but Chris Nuzzi (and the Southampton Press in this week's editorial) seem to be ready to let the civics call the shots and not bother with the community-wide survey proposed by the Housing Authority.

What are they afraid of? That the majority of residents will want ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 7, 12 2:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
I am compelled to note that, given your track record of partisan pot-shotting, 'twere this an initiative on the part of Anna Throne-Holst or Bridget Fleming, you'd be all for it, and portraying any who called for a community-wide survey, as a part of a group of bigots in white robes.

I AM a member (outlying in the Wildwood Hills) of this community, and while I have been generally displeased with Councilman Nuzzi's performance over the past several years -- the unconscionable and costly ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jul 7, 12 5:11 PM
3 members liked this comment
"Butt out"?? Mr. Wheeler, I have too much respect for your principles to believe that you'd restrict the right to comment here to folks who live in your quadrant of Southampton Town, but that's sure what it sounds like. Please clarify.

Same point, different angle -- I fear you might, however, be willing to restrict commenting to people who are not, as you put it, "partisan." I am indeed partisan, proudly so, and invite you to consider that more of this nation's tradition and greatness ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 8, 12 11:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
Damn right, TB, butt out!

This is about you wrapping yourself in a red, white and blue copy of the Constitution and rabble-rousing in obviously partisan service to creating divisiveness where there should be none.

You have no parochial interest or investment in any part of the Flanders-Riverside-Northampton community, and are acting as agent provocateur solely because Republican Nuzzi put forth a worthy idea about this corner of the Town, an area which cries out for better representation ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jul 8, 12 12:04 PM
1 member liked this comment
The Housing Authority is a joke. Richard Blowes wants to call the shots thats quite obvious. The Town should have never been allowed him to return after retiring, maybe thse same civic groups should have protested his re-hiring. He does "Not" have any communities best interest at heart. And as for the "community wide" survey, you sound like a Town Board Member repeating their montra, are you a Board Member? these community civics if you haven't noticed are the same ones fighting off the sex offenders, ...more
By The Squirl (36), Red creek on Jul 7, 12 4:28 PM
It is 4 distinct civic associations that have voiced their opposition to this invasion of the area by politicians who wish to be seen as the benevolent all knowing all seeing gods from east of the canal. So the plan is to make 2 homes rentals that will be overseen by the town housing authority is it? PLease, we know how well government works, who is the genius that has worked in civil service forever but is now qualified to be a landlord?
There is in fact a glut of home rental available ...more
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Jul 7, 12 5:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
Turkey Bridge aka Clam Pie aka George Lynch, Suffolk County Democratic Committeeperson and officer of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee never heard a good idea come out of the mouth of a Republican or Conservative and never heard a bad one come out of the mouth of a Democrat (or more likely in Southampton Democratic Party circles an elected official who is a member of the Independence Party). Mr. Wheeler hit it right on the head with his earlier comment.

That lack of credibility ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jul 7, 12 8:09 PM
2 members liked this comment
Let's keep it simple, NT. If restricting these units to ownership is such a good idea, then the survey should support it. If the survey doesn't support it, then maybe it's still a good idea, or maybe it's not. Let's find out what all the people think.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 8, 12 11:08 AM
This is so disingenuous on your part, TB!

You don't give a rancid rodent's rear end about "what all the people think," only in trying to undermine a valid GOP point of view.

If my neighbors feel strongly (on either side, owner-occupied or subsidized rental), they can do exactly what you and your crew did when the Kratoville appointment was under consideration 19 months ago, show up at a Town Council meeting and voice your thoughts.

Now cut it out you big phony!
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jul 8, 12 12:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
George, how large an area for this survey. Limited to next door neighbors of the property. 1/8 mile radius, 1/4 mile radius. 1/2 mile radius ad infinitum. Those immediately abutting the properties and close neighbors have more to gain or lose than anyone in the community. The larger the survey, the further away from the properties in question, the less relevant the responses.

You need to have a Townwide affordable housing plan, George. A coordinated hamlet by hamlet demarcation of ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jul 8, 12 1:00 PM
Kind of curious here, TB, are we now governing by survey? Is this process now going to be the standard if there is any dispute on an issue in a hamlet?
Secondly, being the champion of balance, are you endorsing Mr LaValle in his re election bid? Just want to point out that the Dems have the Assembly and the Governors seat and the Republicans only have the Senate by a vote or two seems like it mkes sense to leave things as they are.
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Jul 8, 12 6:07 PM
go Chris
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Jul 8, 12 1:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
Way to go Frank Wheeler and NTiger call that phonyTurkey Bridge out.
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Jul 8, 12 6:13 PM
Affordable housing is made so end users can own a house and take pride in that ownweship. Why should the town dump more rentals into an area that is saturated with substandard homes and homes with multible violations for overcrowding? Stick to your guns Chris it is the right thing to do.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 8, 12 9:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
Southampton Town Councilman Nuzzi’s proposed resolution to limit the use of the county’s surplus lots to affordable home ownership is to be applauded by all – Democrats and Republicans alike. This is not a partisan issue. It’s a common sense effort to support neighborhood revitalization by employing the best of town planning principles.

First, the five properties at issue are zoned for single-family homes and under the home ownership program, would be sold only ...more
By Vince Taldone (8), Riverhead on Jul 8, 12 10:17 PM
3 members liked this comment
Mr. Wheeler, it appears that you're emotionally invested in this issue; otherwise you wouldn't resort to name-calling and crude language which is not at all typical of you.

NT, you're hopelessly garrulous and irrelevant as usual. I doubt you'd even have weighed in on this matter if I hadn't, so I apologize to the others in this thread for NT's ramblings -- it's just his compulsion to stamp his little feet whenever he sees me post. Pay no attention to him, folks, and we'll try to address ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 9, 12 10:39 AM
>> it appears that you're emotionally invested in this issue;

Can't fool you, can I, TB? Especially since I've acknowledged that I _do_ have an interest in the areas represented by Mr. Taldone's civic group -- Hi, Vince!

>> otherwise you wouldn't resort to name-calling and crude language which is not at all typical of you.

What what what? Puritanism is alive and thriving on Quiogue? (I'm beginning to get a better sense of why you selected your [primary] nom de keyboard.)

Crude ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jul 10, 12 4:54 AM
Mr. Wheeler, George Lynch, as usual resorts to his typical propaganda techniques and, of course, his tried and true personal attacks and attempts to attack the credibility of those who point out the folly of his remarks. Still we must give him some slack as he has publicly admitted he has no creditibility.

As for the use of propaganda techniques: "Renters aren't all bad", now I reviewed our comments and darn if I can find a single reference by either of us accusing all renters of being ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jul 10, 12 12:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
TB your talking out of school. Flanders has no shortage of affordable rentals.The affordable rentals are needed in eastern Southampton Town. Why don't you take a drive around Flanders and see for yourself the mess that is going on there. Rentals are being occupied by multible families not new families looking to put down roots in the community. The town should lottery these houses off with covenants for the owners to occupy, and not to be able to sell for 5 years.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 9, 12 11:03 AM
So I take that response to mean that from this point forward, we will govern by survey? And owning a house to rent out means you are helping with the affordable housing issues in town? How much do you charge in rent TB?
In the normal course of business, do you send your family and friends "younger versions of you" looking for rentals in the Riverside area? I seriously doubt that you do.
Mr Wheeler is right, you're a phony TB. Stay in your waterfront home in Quigue, with the green grass ...more
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Jul 9, 12 11:07 AM
Wrong about everything, Phadreus, but especially that last part: Non-interference, all-natural-growth zone fifteen feet back from mean high water, no fertilizer of any kind used anywhere on the property, and small fortune (by my standards) invested to keep sanit system well above ground water. I take that stuff seriously.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 9, 12 11:31 AM
Not very, apparently. Buffers are recommended to be 100 feet from wetlands mark, not 15.
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Jul 9, 12 11:36 AM
Dear Turkey Bridge in Westhampton.

Your comments were not actually directed at me but I'd like to add a point or two.

First, you present an argument that makes my point very well. You are an on site landlord and I am sure everything is kept up well on your property. That is why FRNCA took a stand in favor of accessory apartments and even large developments of senior or workforce apartments that have on site superintendents for our area.

The FRNCA hamlets are obviously ...more
By Vince Taldone (8), Riverhead on Jul 9, 12 11:26 AM
Dear Mr. Taldone -- Thanks for your thoughtful post. Would that there were more like you! (Maybe there are, but they don't post on 27east -- smart people.) Your civility, practicality and constructive approach put us all to shame, myself included.

We seem to agree on the need for rentals in Southampton town, and that's good. A minor factual clarification is that I'm not an on-site landlord, but I do manage to come by and take care of things. Maybe all that's needed is a responsible ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 10, 12 12:12 PM
"I'm assuming the Housing Authority has a good reason for recommending a survey of the community"........Yes Mr Bridge, they do.....they don't like what the community has already said so they are making an attempt to override the wishes of that community. That is incredibly evident And we both know what happens when we assume, don't we?
Once again, I ask, have you ever heard of an issue before in the history of the town where a survery was done to come up with an answer to a problem? Ever?

By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Jul 10, 12 12:32 PM
Affordable homes is certainly the way to go-3 or 4 families can live in each home just like the other homes in the area. One family per bedroom. Better than rental apartments.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jul 11, 12 2:07 PM
Since when does the Town conduct mailing surveys with our tax dollars.They wouldn't even think about doing this in any other part of Town,especially on this issue.We have enough affordable homes, I meant eyesores"Thank-you". Maybe Turkey Bridge should live next to section 8 as I have for so many years and he will rethink it.This has been going on for years and ATH and BF have supported it until now, so they flopped on the community this time which usually comes from the Republicans.I applaud Chris ...more
By Shout ot loud (20), Southampton on Jul 12, 12 10:03 PM
Shout writes: "How dare them [sic] go against the only people who do anything in the Hamlets." This is exactly the attitude I'm condemning. Maybe Shout isn't really wanting to set up a little clique that runs everything, but that's sure what it sounds like.

The people's representatives have a duty to consult all the people, not just the ones who engage in civic affairs. It's clear from the last Town Board meeting that there are oppposing viewpoints on this. Anna Throne-Holst and Bridget ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 13, 12 2:34 PM
i believe he listened, he heard, and he disagrees with your assertions. There was a vote ... now THAT'S what Democracy is all about!
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Jul 13, 12 5:13 PM
Your first premise is wrong, Board Watcher. Chris Nuzzi couldn't have listened to all the people without the survey that he opposed. The whole idea was to let the civics do an end run around democracy, and he was complicit in that.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 23, 12 10:51 AM