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Oct 20, 2008 9:31 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hearing on zoning change is scheduled in Quogue

Oct 20, 2008 9:31 AM

Quogue residents will get the chance to voice their opinions on a proposed change to the village’s zoning laws that seeks to reduce the size of new homes that are constructed in the municipality.

On Friday, Quogue Village Board members said they will hold a public hearing on the proposed legislation during their next meeting, scheduled for November 21.

If passed, the law would limit the size of all new one-family homes built in the village from a total area that equals 20 percent of the property to 12 percent of the property, plus 1,200 square feet. For example, a 50,000-square-foot lot, which measures just over 1 acre, can now accommodate up to a 10,000-square-foot home. Under the proposed legislation, the size of that new home would be limited to 7,200 square feet—or 6,000 square feet, plus the additional 1,200 square feet.

Additionally, the law, which could restrict the size of some new homes by up to 25 percent, would place a maximum cap of 16,000 square feet on the size of any new home, regardless of the size of the property that it will be built on.

Quogue Mayor George Motz explained that village officials have been working on the zone change for a number of years, and agree that the modifications would allow the village to better retain its rustic character.

Also on Friday, Mr. Motz announced that renovations to an approximate half-mile stretch of Quogue Street will commence on Monday. The work will be completed by Corazzini Asphalt of Cutchogue and is expected to carry a price tag of $465,000.

Mr. Motz explained that half of the money for the project will come from the balance from the future sale of a 1-acre property that the village owns, while the remainder will come from the village’s reserve funds.

Corazzini Asphalt will remove the concrete portion of Quogue Street between Cooper and Willow lanes and replace it with asphalt. The project will most likely begin on October 27 and will take about two weeks to complete.

The mayor explained that a portion of Quogue Street will be closed during construction, though the street will reopen at night.

The Hampton Jitney, which normally stops in front of the Inn at Quogue complex, near the intersection of Jessup Avenue and Quogue Street, will temporarily stop at the Quogue Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5350, located on Montauk Highway, until the roadwork is completed.

According to the mayor, the project will improve the road’s condition, which is now hazardous for bicycle riders. “It’s a worthwhile project,” Mr. Motz said.

The mayor also announced on Friday the appointment of two new alternate members to the Quogue Village Planning Board who will fill the seats vacated by David Ressler, who died earlier this year, and L. Russell Hayes, who has temporarily stepped down due to medical reasons.

Village residents Dick Gardner and David Genser will attend all Planning Board meetings and will alternately serve as voting members of the board. There are six seats on the board, including one that belongs to an alternate.

Mr. Gardner also approached the Village Board on Friday to discuss the possibility of establishing a heritage area in Quogue, similar to ones that have already been established by Southampton Town in Quiogue, Eastport and Water Mill.

Unlike a historic district, a heritage area does not protect historic buildings from demolition or place limitations on the exterior design of homes within its boundaries. Instead, a heritage area acknowledges that the structures in an area contain significant historic value.

The village’s proposed heritage area would include all of Quogue Street and sections of Beach Lane, according to Mr. Gardner.

Mr. Gardner explained that a heritage area would allow residents to become more aware of Quogue’s history. “Heritage areas are a way of recognizing and celebrating our roots,” said Mr. Gardner as he read from a prepared statement. He added that he hoped the heritage area could be in place by this spring.

The Village Board also briefly touched upon an offer from Southampton Town that would relieve board members of their duties as a tax assessment board—a proposal that was not warmly received by some village officials. Instead, the town has offered to take over those responsibilities.

Currently, the Quogue Village Board also serves as the village’s Board of Assessment Review, which primarily oversees tax grievance day in Quogue. Mr. Motz said the board was far from making a decision on the matter. “We’re not going to decide on this today,” he said.

It is not clear how long the Village Board has been responsible for assessing the tax grievances of Quogue residents. Mr. Motz said he could understand the benefits of both having the town and village carrying out the tax assessment function.

“The advantage from their point of view is that it saves them a lot of money and time,” Mr. Motz said, explaining that the town has to send a representative from the tax assessor’s office to the village on grievance day. “From the village’s point of view, we understand the individual piece of property better than the town does,” he added.

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