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Sep 22, 2010 1:59 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays leads town in code enforcement calls

Sep 22, 2010 1:59 PM

Hampton Bays residents filed the most complaints with Southampton Town Code Enforcement last year, besting their closest competition by an estimated 600 calls, according to David Betts, the department’s chief investigator.

Mr. Betts, who has held his post for three years, said Hampton Bays residents logged 1,600 calls with his department in 2009, noting that their complaints ranged from simple ones, like litter removal, to the more serious, such as overcrowded rental homes.

Mr. Betts, who spent a 20-year career with the Southampton Village Police Department before accepting his town position, explained that, unlike other hamlets, Hampton Bays has its own dedicated code enforcement agent—a fact that could have contributed to the high number of complaints the department was able to respond to. In comparison, homeowners in the hamlet of Flanders logged 1,000 complaints last year, the second highest number in the municipality, he said.

“We’re definitely busy in Hampton Bays,” said Mr. Betts, who was the guest speaker at last week’s Hampton Bays Civic Association meeting.

He also pointed out that, at the present time, he has four code enforcement officers at his disposal to respond to complaints throughout Southampton Town and that, over the next couple of months, he will be losing one to retirement.

“One of the issues is that there’s somebody assigned specifically to Hampton Bays,” he said. “The others are covering multiple hamlets.”

Code enforcement officers typically respond to complaints about excessive noise and overcrowding, Mr. Betts said. His officers can either issue appearance tickets to address violations or ask residents to fix the problems before a ticket is issued. Some issues are resolved without a field visit.

Members of the civic association, meanwhile, voiced their concerns about the 1,600 figure, stating that the density of Hampton Bays is probably a contributing factor to the high number of violations.

“In my personal opinion, there are more complaints because there’s more density,” said Mary Jean Green, the group’s former president. “[Hampton Bays] had a long reputation as a rental capital of the Hamptons.”

According to Mr. Betts, the number of code enforcement responses to complaints in Southampton Town as a whole had fallen from 6,362 in 2008 to 4,791 in 2009. He said that the loss of two code enforcement agents could have contributed to the overall decline in that number. Mr. Betts noted that he will be losing another agent to the town’s early retirement incentive.

“It’s a complicated process to get someone hired,” Mr. Betts said. “I’ve certainly requested it.”

Civic Elections

Members of the Hampton Bays Civic Association elected Bruce King as its new president during the group’s meeting last Thursday, September 16. Also elected were members of the group’s board of directors.

Mr. King, who has lived in Hampton Bays for 61 years, has a been a member of the organization for the past two years.

“I’m an old-time Hampton Bays person,” said Mr. King, noting that his ancestors were among the first settlers when Hampton Bays was established as Good Ground in 1740.

Andy Godfrey will serve as vice president of the group for the next year. He will be joined by Secretary Janice Landis and Treasurer Elizabeth Scheurer.

According to Mr. King, the two main issues facing Hampton Bays residents that he intends to tackle over the next 12 months is hamlet density and the still unfinished generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) that will eventually be used to help guide future planning in Hampton Bays.

“The GEIS hasn’t been finished,” Mr. King said, referring to the document that has been in the works since 2008.

“We were told in early August that it was going to print by the supervisor and [town planner] Freda Eisenberg,” said Ms. Green, the former civic president who now sits on its board of directors. “We have heard absolutely nothing about it.”

Other members of the organization’s board of directors include: Eve Houlihan, Bob McAlevy, Bonnie Doyle, Jacqueline Russo, Patricia Tuccio and Marion Boden.

Regarding hamlet density, Mr. King said he wants to form a committee to investigate the issue. “We want to look at the problem and see if we can identify the problem,” he said.

Additionally, the new president said civic members hope to better utilize code enforcement by quickly alerting them when they suspect overcrowding in homes. “We need to tell them where these places are to try and help the issue,” he said.

Mr. King and his wife, Nancy, have two children: Bruce, 21, and Julia, 18.

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Good to see hampton bays residents cracking down on code violators
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Sep 22, 10 8:09 PM
1 member liked this comment
The article should indicate that HB is significantly larger than all other hamlets and provided a breakdown per capita. Not to mention, HB has more year round residents than a place like Water Mill so of course it will have more complaints.

As for Mr. Betts' statement that because HB has it's own code enforcement officer means it gets more calls - that makes no sense. People aren't calling because they know HB has it's own officer... perhaps if there were stats on how many of these ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 22, 10 10:33 PM
Having lived in HB for 9 years I saw a lot of overcrowded housing issues, group rental share house issues. HB is a diamond in the rough, surrounded by beatiful bay and ocean beaches yet there is an element in there. Over crowded housing, absentee landlords, drugs etc. HB needs a get tough attitude to straighten it out possbly following Mastic and become its own village. Once the rif raf has been eradicated, the hamlet could realy grow into to something realy wonderful. It has been changing but chnage ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Sep 23, 10 6:38 AM
2 members liked this comment
Mastic Beach made a mistake by becoming their own village - no way their taxes are going to be lower or their services are going to be any better.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 23, 10 12:30 PM
What services? Mastic Beach was abandoned by the Town and County.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Sep 23, 10 10:34 PM
and now they have an extra layer of government to pay for that will soon realize the problems it wanted to solve cannot be solved at the village level and they will still need to work with brookhaven and the state to get things accmplished. just at a higher cost and yet another layer of bureucracy!
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Sep 24, 10 12:46 PM
he'd be best to bring in the DEA. they can tell him how you have to go after the suppliers i.e. the slum landlords and unsavory business owners who willingly use illegal cheap labor to compete unfairly against those that so deeply want to do the right thing. this is about $$. the landlords that allow their houses to be cordoned off life outward bound army barracks are the enablers in this systemic top-to-bottom failure of our elected officials to carry out their duties and enforce the laws. ...more
By justduckey (58), artist colony on Sep 26, 10 3:52 PM