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Oct 24, 2018 10:16 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board Tables Walk-On Resolution To Approve Bel-Aire Cove Motel Deal

Town Board Members tabled a walk-on resolution to approve a deal to purchase the Bel-Aire Cove Motel. GREG WEHNER
Oct 31, 2018 10:56 AM

Southampton Town Board members on Tuesday tabled a walk-on resolution that would have authorized the town to purchase the Bel-Aire Cove Motel in Hampton Bays following concerns that the public had not been notified that the sale might be subject to a vote that night.

The town’s current plan is to purchase the property for $1,060,000 through the town’s Community Development Program to redevelop it for a future owner. But, earlier on Tuesday night, a public hearing was held on the purchase, and many of those who spoke expressed a desire for the board to instead use Community Preservation Fund monies to purchase the motel and set it aside as parkland or open space.

The current plan, according to Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, is to tear down the motel and get the proper permits in place for a nitrogen-reducing septic system. Once the permits are in place, the town then plans to auction off the property to the highest bidder, which can then develop the property according to plans created by the town, local community groups and architects, most likely as a condominium development. “I have no doubt we will be able to sell this property,” he told the board.

The motel has been accused of illegally renting rooms on a long-term basis and other code violations. Additionally, officials have charged that the motel’s septic system contributes to pollution of a nearby canal, which feeds into Shinnecock Bay.

Mr. Schneiderman said the walk-on resolution—which Town Board member Julie Lofstad said she found out only about an hour prior to the meeting—was motivated by the fact that remediating the property and putting it back into the economy is what people in the community are asking him to do.

Donna Thiele of Hampton Bays told board members during the public hearing that she just wanted to see something done with the property. “All I see right now is blight, and nothing gets done,” she said. “Do something … I don’t care what it is—just do something.”

Gayle Lombardi, another Hampton Bays resident, told board members that for the past five years nothing has been done to improve the motel property, and that owner—Jagannath Jayaswal—should not be able to benefit from the deal with the town. She suggested the town use CPF revenues, if that is what it takes to clean up the property.

Anthony Cenzoprano told the board he did not think the taxpayers should be footing the bill to purchase the motel, but, instead, the owners should sell the property on their own. “I really believe this is a sweetheart deal … and should be dealt with scrutiny,” he said. “They’re getting rewarded.”

Town Board member Christine Scalera asked the board to pull the walk-on resolution to allow more discussion. She and fellow board members Tommy John Schiavoni, John Bouvier and Ms. Lofstad noted that the public had already left the meeting by the time the matter came up, unscheduled, for a vote.

Ms. Scalera told Mr. Schneiderman that she heard cries from the public for stronger code enforcement, and that she was looking favorably on a plan to use CPF money to purchase the property, opening it up for a possible park where people could launch kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.

The board tabled the resolution until November 13 at 1 p.m.

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I was also at this meeting. There is no other word to describe Supervisor Schneiderman's action for a walk-on other than "Machiavellian". There was no resolution on the agenda and no mention of a walk on after the public hearing. The silence was deafening. Everyone that has followed this will probably agree "something needs to be done", but there is no basis for this particular proposal. The fact that they have not put forth a proposal to purchase with CPF monies combined with the Machiavellian ...more
Oct 24, 18 12:40 PM appended by G.A.Lombardi
actions leads me to believe that there is something that are not telling us. If anything, they could have run parallel proposals.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Oct 24, 18 12:40 PM
2 members liked this comment
I was there as well. There was NO mention of a walk-on resolution for this at any time during the hearing, yet the good people from Sag Harbor were informed by the Supervisor during that hearing that he would move their resolution up, out of order so they wouldn't have to wait around all night.
By cmac (184), East Quogue on Oct 24, 18 3:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thats right! would like to watch the meeting once up but heard a thank you goes to Councilwoman Scalera for recognizing it and voting NO to the walk-on for that very reason. Heard she was the only one who made an issue of it and the only one supporting CPF purchase of the property. Why isn't the video up yet?I guess with this board that blindly follows their ringmaster, it's Jays world and we are just along for the ride.
By Roughrider28 (80), southampton on Oct 24, 18 5:13 PM
I haven't watched the video either and left the meeting with just about everyone else after open session since there was no resolution on the agenda. Based on this article and the one in Newsday, it does seem like Councilperson Scalera is trying to gather all the facts, law, financing etc. and make an educated decision as she always tries to do. As far as the others, unless they are withholding information from the community, it seems like they are making their decision "blindly" since there is ...more
Oct 24, 18 5:30 PM appended by G.A.Lombardi
since there is really no basis for a proposal for redevelopment and no reason not to propose the purchase with CPF.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Oct 24, 18 5:30 PM
A few points:
1. Town has no CDA. How can this plan be even in play and be voted on? The town has no CDA as it let it expire or not managing it correctly. There is no CDA! It can take a day or a year. Who knows, but if the town can’t manage the CDA standing how are they going to handle this plan.
2. Addressing the issues from Bel Aire should be done with the greatest chances of success which is CPF.
3. With CPF also has PILOTs – tax payments.
4. The Jay Plan ...more
By ZGerry (50), Hamptons on Oct 25, 18 7:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
What a concept. Making an educated decision.

Although, that is what I've come to expect from Councilperson Scalera. She seems to try and work hard to look at all sides of the issue.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Oct 26, 18 4:54 PM
Is the board trying to spend ALL of the cpf funds??? This board is running wild. Motel, theatre, restaurant, what next time share in the islands [not Long Island]???
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Oct 24, 18 1:48 PM
The proposal is not CPF as it stands - it is NEW taxpayer money starting at $1 Million and then who knows how much more to complete. Really, who knows?. Certainly not the Town Board members that support this. They are literally gambling with our money. The safety, health and environmental issues at this site have gone on for too long and no one seems to have the will or the way to do anything. The Town Board used CPF for Hidden Cove - they should just do it here.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Oct 24, 18 2:38 PM
At least it will be the entire Town's money that "might" be lost and not just the residents of HB - not a smart move to take this property off the tax rolls with CFP funds - then all HB residents have to make up for the lost school taxes. I am 100% against CPF being used to buy taxpaying properties unless CPF will pay PILOT on such properties.
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Oct 24, 18 4:20 PM
The CPF is does pay the PILOTS until the end of the program which I think is now scheduled for 2050. If the Town buys it, and for as long it is in development (which could be decades considering the CPI Townhouses), there will be no taxes. There is also nothing in writing that it will be "luxury condos" and there won't be a substantial number of children in the school district. My first choice is CPF, but the Town Board is going to do what they want.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Oct 24, 18 4:43 PM
Even without the little tax the town gets from Bel-Aire, there will be a net gain of savings for the school district has it has a loss on recovery of school taxes from Bel-Aire along, freeing up lost hours of code enforcement and all associated costs.

Use CDF to restore this site to open space and save the bays.
By ZGerry (50), Hamptons on Oct 25, 18 7:53 AM
1 member liked this comment
Not one member of the Southampton Town Board said anything about PILOTS? Why? This is being pushed as CDP and not fully being honest about an alternative such as CPF.

Has the town done its due diligence with this site testing for contamination such as lead, hydro testing, tank testing, soil testing and toxins. Anyone? Anyone? Anyone ?

The town has little to no experience with CDP and has no CDA!
By Hamptonsway (107), Southampton on Oct 25, 18 12:39 PM
Such crap. They better do something about that place soon. It is unreal that this place is still collecting rent. Nothing every goes right for Hampton bays. Going the wrong way fast.
By bigblue84 (89), Hampton Bays on Oct 24, 18 8:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hmmmm. Schniederman helping develop a motel that will be sold to a developer... doesn’t Jay own a motel? He’s not going to beat John Kennedy for comptroller. Maybe he’ll buy another Motel...

Asking for a friend.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Oct 24, 18 11:39 PM
well actually Supervisor Schneiderman said condos...or is it...maybe it will be a motel...maybe it will be townhouses...maybe it will be a trailer park or a field of tiny houses...who knows? Not the community. At this point, the only town purchase that makes sense is to purchase this property with CPF monies - environmentally sensitive area - finite amount of money - known end game. PILOTS until the end of the program. The rest seems like smoke and mirrors.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Oct 25, 18 10:09 AM
At least we can all agree that the Bel Aire is a health and safety risk, and needs to be demolished ASAP. I think the town's plan to buy it, prep it, and then re-selling it is a worthwhile plan. Covenants can be placed on the property to protect the surface and ground water. The property would be auctioned off to the highest bidder in a public auction, so everything will be in the open. Alternatively, if it is purchased with CPF and becomes a park, I believe the primary use would be a parking ...more
By Bayman (56), Hampton Bays on Oct 25, 18 9:57 AM
Ye,s we can all agree that this property needs to be addressed. The Government has failed the community of Hampton Bays by allowing the illegal use of motels. Clearly now, with the purchase of the Hidden Cove with CPF , the settlement at the Tiana Pines and now this proposal, they have demonstrated they have no intend of restoring the seasonal tourism revenue back to Hampton Bays. Putting more full-time density will not help Hampton Bays. CPF will guarantee no more drain on the school.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Oct 25, 18 10:24 AM
The last time they attempted to auction a piece of property they bought there were no bidders. The structure sits and deteriorates.

The town should not be in the real estate business. They can hardly handle what they are supposed to do as it is.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Oct 26, 18 4:57 PM
Send in State agencies to fine these owners. Town not doing the job.
Jay looking for votes, With Your Money...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Oct 25, 18 11:14 AM
The walk-on resolution proposed by Schneiderman makes total sense now. His newest ads for the Comptroller race just came out and along with a photo of him hugging Gov. Cuomo (who lost in Suffolk in the last election) he lists the proposal to buy this motel for a developer to turn into luxury condos as one of his accomplishments!
By cmac (184), East Quogue on Oct 26, 18 3:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
It seems you mean it makes sense for his campaign, not necessarily for the community. The funniest thing is that he started a political line named "protect the taxpayer" - we need protection from politicians like him that run fast and lose with taxpayer funds.
Oct 26, 18 4:23 PM appended by G.A.Lombardi
fast and loose
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Oct 26, 18 4:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
The Bel Aire has been a problem for 7+ years, Jay is fixing it. Our beach pavilion has been deteriorating for years, Jay is fixing it; our water district is an antiquated mess, and Jay is fixing it. I hope he loses the election for comptroller. We need him to finish his work here.
By Bayman (56), Hampton Bays on Oct 31, 18 10:42 AM
You must be a supporter of Jay otherwise you would see right through the deception. The pavilion will probably be another 1/2 finished over budget project just like Good Ground Park that had its "ribbon cutting" just before Anna Throne-Holts ran for Congress. The Bel-Arie proposal is another joke. The one thing we can agree on is that I hope he loses so we can vote him out next November.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Oct 31, 18 10:59 AM
3 members liked this comment
The Bel Aire has been a problem for 7+ years and instead of enforcing the laws Jay is talking about 'fixing' it.

Our pavilion has been deteriorating for years and Jay is talking about "fixing" it. It's been over a year since they talked about it. But now we had a ground breaking right before November...or the elections...and the bad weather. Will it be ready for summer or should I ask, which summer?

The water district is "an antiquated mess" and Jay is once again TALKING about ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Oct 31, 18 7:26 PM