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Jan 9, 2019 9:34 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Residents Press Southampton Town Board Members To Purchase Bel-Aire Cove Motel With CPF Revenue

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. GREG WEHNER
Jan 9, 2019 10:06 AM

Members of the community once again on Tuesday pleaded their case to the Southampton Town Board to purchase a motel in Hampton Bays with Community Preservation Fund money—to allow the waterfront property to revert to its natural state—instead of redeveloping the motel.

A public hearing, scheduled at the encouragement of Town Board member Christine Scalera, focused on the prospect of purchasing the Bel-Aire Cove Motel for $1,060,000 using CPF money, instead of the town purchasing the blighted motel for community development purposes, as has been proposed by Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.

Ms. Scalera proposed the public hearing in December after previous public hearings to purchase the property and resell it were flooded with comments asking the board to purchase it with CPF money instead.

On Tuesday, nothing was different—the comments to use CPF money far outweighed comments opposed to using CPF.

Despite the overwhelming call at the hearing to use CPF money, Town Board members Julie Lofstad, Tommy John Schiavoni and John Bouvier all said they were ready to approve Mr. Schneiderman’s pitch to purchase the motel, demolish the structure, obtain the necessary permits for redevelopment, work with the community to come up with a plan and then put the property up for sale to a developer.

The chairman of the town CPF Advisory Committee, Robert Anrig, told board members that the committee would back a CPF purchase. He noted that the parcel would be better used as a pocket park, rather than a refurbished motel or condominium complex, as proposed.

Mr. Anrig added that he did not think the proposal to develop luxury apartments on the site was compatible with the neighborhood.

Maria Hultz of the Hampton Bays Civic Association told board members that the organization’s main concern with the current motel was the pollution it creates. She added that the Civic Association members would rather see the property revert to its natural state through preservation.

But if the board were to purchase the property for community development, Ms. Hultz said, the committee would like to see the developers use a nitrogen-reducing septic system, and the development limited to fewer than 22 units. She also stressed that the group would like to see the town help residents who live in the motel find new places to live.

Others who spoke described the property as “mud-front” instead of waterfront, and the living conditions at the motel as horrendous.

Ray D’Angelo of Hampton Bays questioned what would happen to the property if the town Zoning Board of Appeals did not approve plans for the property, and Robert Jay of Hampton Bays told board members there was a big problem with code enforcement to have allowed the conditions of the property to degrade in the first place.

“We have a failed code enforcement system. It’s completely failed,” Mr. Jay said. “If you have a broken system, the buck has to stop with the five of you.”

The only person who spoke against using CPF money was Gail Shepherd, a Hampton Bays resident who works in real estate. Ms. Shepherd said she lives next to a CPF-purchased property, which has become a dumping ground for people’s refuse.

As for the Bel-Aire parcel, she asked who would monitor the property if it was purchased with CPF and questioned where people would park if they want to enjoy the park.

None of the board members said the public hearing changed their stance on the purchase. Instead, the public hearing was closed and left open for written public comments.

Board members could make a decision on the purchase at their next meeting on January 22.

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Can't fathom using cpf monies to buy the property and then resell it. Can't see how it's legal to use the monies that way. Sounds very illegal and not what the fund was set up for.
After hearing the the town lawyers, I would be very worried if they said it was legal. Guess that's why we have many lawyers and judges.
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Jan 9, 19 10:18 AM
It's not, at least not as easily as the supervisor would like us to believe. Town Code Section 140-7, Disposal of Lands Acquired with Fund monies. A.Rights or interests in real property acquired with monies from the fund shall not be sold, leased, exchanged, donated or otherwise disposed of or used for other than the purposes permitted by this chapter without the express authority of an act of the State Legislature, which shall provide for the substitution of other lands of equal environmental ...more
By MrsD (53), Hampton Bays on Jan 9, 19 2:31 PM
I think there is a misunderstanding here. There are two separate proposals - one to purchase with CPF and leave the land vacant and one to purchase with Town funds to redevelop into some fathom plan that Jay has in head. There is really no support from the community or the law and the facts to support the the purchase for redevelopment, but Jay keeps digging in his heels and 3 or the 4 Board members are going along for the ride. . The Governor vetoed the Bill for the Town to form a Community ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 10, 19 5:04 PM