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Jan 22, 2013 12:47 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Civic Renews Talks Of Incorporation

Jan 23, 2013 10:07 AM

Displeased with Southampton Town’s response to density and overcrowding issues, the Hampton Bays Civic Association is raising the possibility of incorporating the hamlet as a village, a way of taking matters into their own hands, members said this week.

Bruce King, the president of the organization, said the hamlet and the Hampton Bays School District are burdened by overcrowded homes and motels illegally operating as apartments. If Hampton Bays were to incorporate, he said, it would appoint its own planning board and zoning board of appeals to address such matters.

Code enforcement, Mr. King pointed out, would be the highest priority. “Southampton Town has a certain amount budgeted for code enforcement, and there are areas like Hampton Bays, Flanders and Riverside that need more,” he said on Friday. “And we don’t get it.”

The town’s incorporated villages—Sag Harbor, North Haven, Quogue, Westhampton Beach, West Hampton Dunes, Southampton and Sagaponack—don’t face those issues, he said. “They have tighter control over it, local control,” Mr. King added.

The civic group has invited Bill Biondi, the mayor of Mastic Beach Village, which incorporated in 2010, to speak at its next meeting on Monday, January 28, at 7 p.m., in the Southampton Senior Center off Ponquogue Avenue. Mastic resident Chris Ricciardi, who now heads the Mastic Beach Zoning Commission and who was heavily involved in the village’s incorporation, also will be present.

Mr. King said he hopes the guest speakers will shed some light on the incorporation process. “It’s something that Hampton Bays has been mulling over for 60 years,” he said. “We’re hoping to get community input as to what they’d like to do and how they’d like to do it.”

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst did not return calls seeking comment.

On Tuesday, Mr. Biondi said the process of incorporating Mastic Beach Village took about two and a half years. The difficulty, he said, was carefully weighing the pros and cons to be sure that it was the best option for residents. Like Hampton Bays, Mastic residents did not feel that the Town of Brookhaven was adequately addressing quality of life issues that arose from code enforcement problems, Mr. Biondi said.

“It’s a more close-to-home-type atmosphere,” the mayor added of the new Village Hall. “We’re not politicians down here, so we’re trying our best to do what’s right.”

To drive that point home, Mr. Biondi highlighted the fact that neither he nor the Village Board members nor those who serve on the Zoning Commission receive a salary.

Though the topic has been raised in the past in Hampton Bays, Mr. King pointed out that becoming an incorporated village would be a costly venture and require the support of civic groups and community members, all of which, he said, are invited to Monday night’s meeting to join in the discussion.

State law dictates that in order for a hamlet to incorporate, at least 20 percent of the residents who are eligible to vote, or the owners of more than 50 percent of assessed valuation of land in a hamlet, must sign a petition. The town is then required to hold a public hearing on the issue. The town supervisor must determine whether the petition meets all the legal requirements and, if it does, he or she must schedule an election after the hearing. A majority of the residents of the proposed village must vote in favor of incorporating for it to occur.

Marion Boden, a member and former president of the Hampton Bays Civic Association, said she hopes that community members will take the time to consider the option with an open mind. “The reason I feel it should definitely be done is the [Southampton Town] Zoning Board of Appeals has been particularly and consistently insensitive to the realities of life in Hampton Bays,” she said. “They have given approvals on applications that were so egregious, I don’t know how they can look anyone in Hampton Bays in the eye after that.”

The possibility of incorporating came up during her time as president, she added, but she said she believed people lacked the time to tackle such an undertaking.

“My fondest hope is that people in Hampton Bays will pay attention to the issue and not routinely dismiss it because it is going to result in higher taxes, or welcome it because it will result in home rule,” she said. “I think the time has long past come.”

Michael Dunn, the president of the Concerned Citizens of Hampton Bays, a civic group formed in the last year by residents disgruntled by the density of development, said he supports exploring the possibility. “The years of abuse by this town disregarding laws and codes is outrageous,” he said.

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Great, now we will get to pay two tax bills...
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jan 22, 13 1:24 PM
How well did incorporation turn out for Northampton? Dissolved after what, two years? Look at Mastic Beach Village - things are going "swimingly" there - especially post hurricane.

The only thing you get from becoming a village is higher taxes - it's impossible for them to not go up. Sagaponack has been successful because, well, no one lives there, they have a one room school house and the residents don't mind paying $10,000/year in taxes on their $4,000.000 homes in order to be "exclusive". ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 22, 13 1:26 PM
2 members liked this comment
Good points Nature!
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Jan 22, 13 2:05 PM
I am all for Hampton Bays incorporating. Its been long overdue. Hampton Bays will be much better off controlling its own destiny. It may cost some to become incorporated in the short term, but over time the advantages of a village government will pay huge dividends for its residents. Also, create a village that is self-sufficent and not reliant on the town for any services, such as Southampton Village, Quogue, and Sag Harbor. Along with code enforcement, create a police department, highway department, ...more
By Jimion (129), Hampton Bays on Jan 22, 13 2:07 PM
Really Jimion? Any idea what those services would cost to initiate and continue to run ? You have to buy all the highway equiptment, everything needed for a Police Department, etc etc etc.
Resdident os Hampton bays would be better off voting for a "none of the above" candidtes to send a message to town hall. Your idea of incorporation is close to insane.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jan 22, 13 2:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
Exactly. That would be an incredible burden for the residents of Hampton Bays. We just do not have the same tax base as say Westhampton Dunes, Sagaponack, or Southampton to help fund such an undertaking.
By HBPatriot (19), Hampton Bays on Jan 22, 13 3:05 PM
Nature, I can't believe it...your last couple of comments I agree with! To form a new government with infrastructure, services, enforcement etc...would be a huge burden.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jan 22, 13 7:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hey Real World - it's a new year!
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 22, 13 7:35 PM
Looking at Sag Harbor and the issues they have been struggling with over the past few months over the costs involved in maintaining its police department should be enough to dissuade this idea. Like someone pointed out before the tax base there in Hampton Bays is totally different from the other villages. It might be better, if feasible, to create a special tax zone of HB, and use the proceeds to fund a dedicated code enforcement officer or two at SHT as that seems to be the biggest gripe here.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jan 22, 13 9:25 PM
If you want to own your destiny you have to take control of it. Incorporating a village is a great idea if you can overcome the tax increases to the community with an additional layer of government. You'll have to create many new departments and then "pay to use" others like the police and other services. You'll need to have several new departments such as a village attorney/prosecutor building, zoning, planning, code enforcement, clerk, various boards, and on and on and on.... An expensive proposition ...more
By whatapity (106), Tuckahoe on Jan 23, 13 10:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
Hampton Bays has never been willing to flex its political muscle.
THAT'S the problem.
Demand code enforcement and prosecutors assigned STRICTLY FOR HB.
(p.s. the fines levied generally cover the cost)
If the elected officials fail to comply --vote them out of office.
By aging hipster (201), Southampton on Jan 23, 13 1:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
I agree with hipster - the best course of action is for the citizens to demand the services from the Town. Anytime you think there's a violation, file a complaint and hole the board accountable - especially HB resident Malone. If they fail, you'll have a clear paper trail which can be used against them for the next election. You really think becoming a village will end the problems? You think there won't be heavy politics involved? Think again.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 13 2:14 PM
Malone has less than a year remaining and could care less. He has paid his dues to the political machine by sitting on the town board. He is just waiting to be crowned a judge somewhere.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 13 5:13 PM
We cant wait for another election we want action now Amazing how a few years back we had a problem with a certain motel in east quogue and its residents were soon gone
By baymen (26), hamptonbays on Jan 23, 13 5:25 PM
Incorporation takes a lot longer than another election cycle...
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 13 7:39 PM
Mastic Beach has fewer resources than Hampton Bays, and bigger problems. They incorporated about 2 years ago. The village has had no increase in taxes in that time. Why? The village board sticks to their knitting. Their code enforcement has pressured the crack houses etc. out of town.

Go to this meeting. Keep an open mind. Inform yourselves.

For example, the Hampton Bays Water District must have all its spending, bonding, etc. done by the Southampton Town Board. What does someone ...more
By bluelightning (21), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 13 8:51 PM
How are you going to keep taxes lower with your own school district? At least Mastic Beach benefited by being PART of a school district. Your service costs HAVE to go up - it's impossible for them not to. Look @ Sag Harbor village with their police problems. Where is HB Town hall going to be?

Mastic Village has some advantages - no need for a big town hall, no need for real planners (they have virtually no commercial), no need for a lot more than one squad car, very few roads which ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 13 8:59 PM
I can't afford higher taxes but I can't bear to stand by and watch what's happening here. I used to live in Sag Harbor but chose here to raise my family because it's real here. It's beautiful, nanny's don't raise the children, and it has such a great pride and spirit you find in these kind of neighborhoods. Whatever the solution is lets try to find it, I know we are all busy but it is an uniformed and disengaged electorate that got us where we are today (locally and nationally). Get involved or ...more
By jams (129), hampton bays on Jan 23, 13 9:10 PM
Bull-Dunk! That's all we need... Another layer of Gov. to deal with... not to mention the taxes! HB is BEAUTIFUL! IMO... Have you seen the rest of LI lately? Some one is trying to make a buck here...
By Soundview (89), Hampton bays on Jan 24, 13 2:25 PM
It'll never happen. It will be too costly to the HB residents as in higher taxes to pay for their own police dept., DPW, maintain Dune Road, and to form their own village government. Hampton Bays is the capital of Southampton Town
Yeah, it looks good on paper and they can pipe dream, but...
By Jaws (245), Westhampton Beach on Jan 30, 13 10:55 PM