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Oct 14, 2014 9:58 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Neighbors File Lawsuit To Stop Sandy Hollow Apartments

Oct 15, 2014 9:54 AM

A group of Tuckahoe residents filed a lawsuit challenging Southampton Town’s approval of a 28-unit apartment complex to be built on Sandy Hollow Road.

The lawsuit was filed by five neighboring homeowners, and a citizens group called the Friends of Sandy Hollow, which supporters say comprises a large number of area residents who made donations to the legal fund to fight the apartment complex’s approval.

The suit argues that the Town Board’s approval of the project in July, in the face of vociferous objections by residents, violated the State Environmental Quality Review Act by not looking closely enough at the potential impacts the project would have on traffic, groundwater and wildlife. It claims the town also failed to comply with numerous portions of its own code regarding Planned Development Districts.

“We want them to follow the law,” said Noelle Bailly, an immediate neighbor of the 2.6-acre property where the apartments are to be constructed. “It’s pretty blatant that they broke the law. They can’t be allowed to get away with it.”

Ms. Bailly’s husband, Oliver, is one of the named plaintiffs, along with neighbors Philip Woodie, Jonathan and Jennifer Kayne and Robert Terry. The lawsuit was filed by attorney Nica B. Strunk.

The suit names the Town Board, the Southampton Housing Authority, Georgica Green Ventures and Glesir Development, the current owner of the property, as defendants.

The approved project, a partnership between the town Housing Authority and Georgica Green, calls for 28 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, targeted at middle-income tenants. Government tax credits that would be used to fund the construction require that most of the apartments be offered at varying fractions of open market value, based on income levels of potential tenants. The apartments are to start at about $950 per month, the developers claimed during the application process.

During months of raucous hearings on two different versions of the apartment complex, neighbors repeatedly blasted the project as too big for the small property and as a boondoggle that would burden the neighborhood with overcrowding, traffic congestion and quality of life issues. Residents from throughout Tuckahoe joined the opposition and a petition against the plans drew more than 800 signatures from across the South Fork.

But the Town Board unanimously approved the project. Board members defended their decision by pointing to the dearth of legal, affordable rental housing for middle income workers who cannot afford to purchase houses in the town. The availability of the property, which had already been approved for a 16-unit condominium complex, and the partnership with Georgica Green, was a too-rare opportunity. The original application called for 34 units in four buildings. The final approval allowed 28 units in three buildings. The project is currently before the Planning Board for site plan review.

After the approval, the dozens of area residents who had opposed the project organized to take their fight from the boardroom to the courtroom.

“At the hearings everyone sat there and said, ‘Well, the community is speaking and the town will have to listen,’” said Phil Watson, one of the organizers of the Friends of Sandy Hollow. “And then they approved it and that really galvanized things. That group went to the community and solicited donations from the community and retained legal council.”

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"The developer claimed" the so-called kiss of death to objective journalism. He "said" it. The implication is he was arguing his case to no avail, The writer might have said "he pointed out" which makes it obviously true. How easy for a mediocre journalist to color a story!
By nazznazz (276), east hampton on Oct 14, 14 10:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
the NY Daily News ran a cover story on Monday that was a complete fabrication of the truth.
..are you pointing out journalistic integrity ? developer's integrity? abuse of government funds ??
By david h (405), southampton on Oct 15, 14 8:54 AM
Forget how this story was written and "journalistic integrity" and focus on the real issue: the integrity of the Supervisor and the Town Board. They ignored the laws they have to uphold and operate under. They ignored the overwhelming public opposition, the SEQRA requirements and did not even attempt public outreach or an unbiased public hearing. They justified their outrageous behavior with sanctimonious and hollow pronouncements, but never attempt to answer to the public. . I urge everyone ...more
By Phanex (83), Southampton on Oct 15, 14 9:24 AM
And to think that they are sitting on a $ 30 million budget surplus, of the property owners money, to wage this battle. There ought to be a law requiring these municipalities that have windfall surpluses to return the excess to the taxpayer. They have our to do virtually anything they wish too without accountability?
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Oct 15, 14 1:57 PM
Where did you see something about a $30M surplus?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Oct 20, 14 10:47 AM
There something ironic in this. For a town that complains way to much about the tourists its absolutely hilarious to watch these same people kill any attempt to make sure this town isn't solely inhabited by them
By Inch_High_PI (29), Southampton on Oct 15, 14 1:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
disagree with your reasoning & logic ..
I would agree that the local developer who complains about the tourists and keeps building condos in his ownn backyard is a hyporcrite.
the tourist developers that come here from mid-island, the city etc. to drop condo projects on the locals are the classic definition of NIMBYs
By david h (405), southampton on Oct 15, 14 2:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
The issues at play here are water quality, traffic, high density and fire safety. I have attended the town board meetings and the CAC meetings. Nothing was mentioned about tourists and "us." We, as a seasonal community, depend on tourism to keep our town financially viable. And we, as a community, depend on our elected officials to uphold the law. That's the issue that this lawsuit addresses.
By Long Island Viking (28), Southampton on Oct 15, 14 10:13 PM
This lawsuit is textbook “NIMBYism". The people who have filed this lawsuit are the next-door neighbors, some second home owners from what I understand, who do not want the "perception" of affordable housing anywhere near their summer spot. They are potentially sabotaging the only real chance Southampton has seen in a long time of being able to actually provide badly needed reasonably priced housing.
By sailthebay (3), Southampton on Oct 16, 14 9:19 AM
the developer is textbook NIMBY!! up island developer ambulance chasing free government money to build his vinyl sided sheet in a far away place so he doesn't have to live with it.
those homeowners putting their own money, time and having the guts to stand up against the town's wierd action to ignore the public outcry .. that's pure America 101 !!
Congrats to those fearless American standing up against predator development !
By david h (405), southampton on Oct 16, 14 9:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
you should do your research before you make a inaccurate comment. Many many groups have spoken out against this project. In addition to the almost 900 signatures collects throughout SH township I'll name just a few groups .....Tuckahoe CAC, North Sea CAC, SH fire Dept, NS fire dept, Group for the East End, The Lake asso. If you are really interested I will get the other names and tell you exactly why it's a bad idea but I expect you either like being uninformed or you are a "plant" working ...more
By maddie1974 (12), southampton on Oct 17, 14 10:30 AM
1 member liked this comment
I think you have your ideas in reverse. The developers and the town board members are sabotaging year round residents way of life with this project. This has nothing to do with second homeowners. It has to do with high density, water quality, traffic safety and fire safety. I would oppose this dangerous project anywhere. There were ideas given from the community to the town board for alternative solutions to help with affordable housing. Wonder why those ideas didn't reach anyone's ears???
By Long Island Viking (28), Southampton on Oct 20, 14 10:43 AM
1 member liked this comment
Who in their right minds wants a high density, pseudo ghetto built over our aquifer ? Never mind all the issues with the approval. Hope the good residents prevail.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 16, 14 10:17 AM
The residents in the area who use the North Sea/Mecox Sucharge area for their public water or private water wells, are attempting to protect their sole source aquifer. A Suffolk County Water Authority statement:
"As mentioned in Task 5.2, Future Land Use Impacts, denitrification systems that are not operated and maintained by Suffolk County do not always operate properly and many have exceeded targeted effluent nitrate concentrations." This high-density project is on a sole source aquifer for ...more
By QuietLife (61), Southampton on Oct 18, 14 4:16 PM
Thank you for your very clear explanation of one of the main issues: water supply, water quality and the costs associated. This project affects not only the surrounding areas but all who get their water via wells. This is a large aquifer that is being compromised. So those who are in favor of this will have a very big surprise when their wells are contaminated.
By Long Island Viking (28), Southampton on Oct 20, 14 10:29 AM
Those in favor of this scam don't live here!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 20, 14 5:42 PM