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Jan 10, 2014 11:57 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Senior Housing Project In Southampton Village Raising Concerns With Some Residents

Jan 15, 2014 10:55 AM

The Southampton Village Board heard the first presentation on a proposed 56-unit senior housing development on Moses Lane last week, but deferred taking any official action until village officials have time to review the application.

Attorney Gil Flanagan made the presentation, with officials noting that it is still very early in the application process. Still, several village residents already raised concerns about the project, including whether the property lies within the required half-mile radius from the village business or office district to meet requirements for a multifamily planned residential district. They also asked what the development would mean for density in the area and how issues like traffic and sewage would be handled.

According to the application filed with the village, the owners propose to construct 14 two-story buildings with four units each on the 11-acre property at 248 Moses Lane. Each unit would include a two-car garage and a basement. A clubhouse, 112 parking spaces and a large swimming pool also are proposed. Each unit would be two floors, and would have approximately 2,000 square feet of living space, according to Mr. Flanagan.

At the Village Board meeting on Thursday, January 9, Mr. Flanagan said he hopes the village trustees will formally review the proposal—which he noted has already been preliminarily reviewed by the Suffolk County Department of Health—and refer the application to the Planning Board, saying that last week was simply an information meeting. He also stressed that his clients, Jim Tsunis, on behalf of property owners Helen and Edward Corrigan and Beach Plum Meadows LLC, have done their due diligence with this project, have already conducted a traffic study, and intend to have a storm drainage system that can accommodate up to 8 inches of rain.

The project, which would be located on Moses Lane south of County Road 39, would require a special zoning designation, changing the half-acre residentially zoned property into a multifamily planned residential district. The Village Board would have to approve the change of zone, and the Planning Board would conduct a site plan review.

The property is located over a walking mile from Southampton Village Main Street, but it is unclear at this time how far it is from both the village business district and the village office district boundaries. The distances will be important, because village code says that, on a case-by-case basis, developments within a mile of the village business district can include up to six units per acre with special zoning granted by the Village Board. That would allow the 56 units proposed.

“It is true that in the village code there is no distinction between use for the general public and use for senior citizens,” Mr. Flanagan started his presentation by saying. “But there is a need for senior housing within the Village of Southampton.”

At the meeting, one summer resident, Linda Kurtz, expressed concern that allowing 56 units would add too many cars and people to an area that was zoned for half-acre residential lots. “Adding a multifamily district to that area, so close to the village and all of these small streets, is a mistake,” she said. “I want to ask this group what the timing of the proposal is, so we can get the opposition we need. I want to speak to the people on every single one of those beautiful little village streets, so they can know what these developers are trying to do so it can have the recognition it deserves.”

Mr. Flanagan told the trustees that his clients have already commissioned a traffic study, and engineers assure him that Moses Lane, which is designated as a collector street, would be more than able to handle the increase in traffic. “That street would function at a ‘Level A,’” he said. “That is the highest grade you can get. According to our traffic engineers, there would be no level of service problems if this were implemented.”

Also at the meeting, several residents questioned whether the project even qualified to become a multifamily planned residential district. One resident, Paul Bollo, cited concerns that it does not lie within the required half mile from the village business or office district, as stated in village code. Although Mr. Flanagan assured trustees that the project is within the required distance from the village office district, Village Attorney Richard DePetris was unsure of village requirements for how the distance should be measured—in a straight line, or following a path along village streets. Mr. DePetris said he would investigate and determine if the development does lie within the borders—a key issue that remained unresolved after last week’s meeting.

The project would be the first senior housing development in Southampton Village. Although within the village boundaries, the development also would lie within the Tuckahoe School District, contributing to the Tuckahoe School tax base without adding students.

At the meeting, Village Mayor Mark Epley assured residents that the village has just started reviewing the application, that a number of questions must still be answered, and that Mr. DePetris will need time to review the application.

This week, Mr. Epley said he is not surprised by the response at the meeting last week, noting that there has been a growing opposition to the project.

The trustees are expected to recommend at their January 21 work session that the project move to the Planning Board for review. Although residents will be able to address the Planning Board during public comment periods at its meetings, a public hearing also will be scheduled with the Village Trustees after the Planning Board makes its recommendation.

“It was an interesting dialogue,” Mr. Epley said of last week’s meeting. “I think it kind of helps me focus in on where people are at with this whole thing.”

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That sounds like a nice development. 56 units at an average sales price of $650,000 each means a total sale value of $36.4 million. Let's assume average for each unit is 800 sf at a cost psf of $225. That means construction costs of a little over $10 million. Add $2 million for the pool, parking and landscaping.

That means the developer is making about $25 million before the costs of the land itself. So they should be willing to set aside a significant amount of those future profits ...more
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jan 10, 14 3:34 PM
You literally made up ALL of those numbers. I'm not saying I'm for this application - and frankly it sounds like another "Tsunis Special" (he is proposing a similar project next to Spadaro Airport in Moriches) but it adds nothing to the conversation when you pull numbers out of thin air and ignore a whole slew of associated development/operational costs.

If you think the applicant should "re-imburst the town [village] for upzoning" what you really should say is the applicant should be ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 10, 14 3:50 PM
This is in the incorporated Village of Southampton, which is a separate municipality from the Town of Southampton.

What is your source for the price of $650,000 per unit?

The proposed project reflects a substantial increase in density in my opinion, although its location on the LIRR train tracks to the north may be a factor in its favor. [See comment under earlier article also]


The ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 10, 14 3:52 PM
Correction -- I cannot find the site map, pretty sure I saw one yesterday. It is a triangle with LIRR to the north, Moses Lane to the southwest (on a diagonal), and West Prospect St. dead-ending on its easterly N/S property line, as I recall.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 10, 14 4:20 PM
Map is in the Press.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 11, 14 3:37 PM
The idea that this development is in the Tuckahoe School district and will add income to the district without adding students does not mention the possible addition of voters who may want to oppose school budgets as they do not have children in the district.
By metsfan2 (163), southampton on Jan 10, 14 4:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
Various maps suggest that only a small part of this parcel is in the Tuckahoe School District IMO: the Northwest tip of the triangle, where Moses Lane crosses the LIRR tracks. I have not been able to locate any online description of the geographic boundaries of the district.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 10, 14 9:11 PM
However the 2010 US Census does seem to show the eastern boundary of the district running straight south from just east of Sandy Hollow Road, to include most if not all of the parcel under consideration here. Was the Tuckahoe Common School District eastern boundary redrawn sometime in the last few years?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 10, 14 9:22 PM
According to trulia, 248 Moses Lane has a sale pending for $10.5 million for 11 acres. It also says only 11 lots can be subdivided. Are there agricultural or other restrictions on the subdivision of this parcel?

" 248 Moses Ln This is eleven level fully usable acres that can be completely cleared, located in the Village of Southampton. There are few, if any, remaining parcels in any village in the Hamptons of this size that can still be subdivided. The property can be divided into eleven ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 10, 14 4:31 PM
I have a question. If the as of right for the property is 20 single family homes and the proposal is for 56 senior units in 14 buildings how would the total square footage match up. The homes would be about 60,000 total maybe 56,000 senior living space. So where is the increase in density? Or is the increase in people the higher density? So 20 homes at 4 per means 80 people. Senior units at 1.5 per unit is again about 80. But with senior houseing you have more restrictions to seasonal group house ...more
By Bob Schepps (77), Southampton on Jan 11, 14 9:12 PM
The Bishops Pond project around the corner is 80% sold out.
The 12 units directly on the RR tracks are all sold out--at $850 K per unit
The interior units are selling for 1.2-1.7 mil

No Pine Barrans credit transfer was required. The health dept. approved an on site sewage treatment system.
By aging hipster (201), Southampton on Jan 12, 14 9:17 AM
As usual everyone wants affordable housing and senior housing, but not in their town.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 12, 14 9:37 AM
No rational reason for exempting this development from zoning restrictions has been put forward. No unique needs of "seniors" are served by it. Moreover, it can't be argued that more units than normal need to be constructed on it in order to make it "affordable" since there is no intention to make it so.

Neighboring property owners bought their homes under the assurance that 0.5 acre residential zoning would protect the character of their neighborhood. There is no reason for the village ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jan 12, 14 10:40 AM
1 member liked this comment
"Neighboring property owners bought their homes under the assurance that 0.5 acre residential zoning would protect the character of their neighborhood. There is no reason for the village to betray their trust."

There is no such thing as an "assurance" when it comes to zoning - only naivety. All zoning is temporary to time. The only "assurance" anyone has over property with which they do not control is property that has been preserved and is protected under state law. Anything else simply ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 12, 14 11:07 AM
Good point Nature.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Jan 12, 14 12:59 PM
Yes, good point Nature. Do you happen to know why the trulia listing above says only 11 lots may be subdivided from this 11 acre piece? Is some portion of it protected in some way by restrictive deed covenants or prior CPF transactions?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 12, 14 2:00 PM
to Nature:

If, indeed, local property owners are naif to believe that their neighborhood will remain a low-density, single-family residential neighborhood simply because it is thusly zoned, then so are all of us who purchase under that assumption. It is an assumption that the village should honor both in the name of equity and for the sake of a stable and robust real-estate market.

No reasons have been proposed that would justify an exception for this development.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jan 12, 14 2:07 PM
"It is an assumption that the village should honor both in the name of equity and for the sake of a stable and robust real-estate market."

This has nothing to do with "honor" or "trust" as you state.

Villages/Towns/Counties re-zone individual properties and swaths of properties on their own motion every month. Every zoning district that exists was essentially zoned something else previously. When these properties were zoned 1/2 acre, it made sense to the village for that zoning ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 12, 14 7:31 PM
I spoke with a senior living in a 55 and older community in amagansett. Some interesting observations.. the units are filled with 75% single occcupancey..less than 50% own cars..only one grandchild lives there..each unit is 600 sq ft..So the knock is higher density than current zoning alows. But there is a provision in the zoning for senior housing within a specified distance of the office business district. So the local property owners who assumed that 1/2 acre zoning is what they are buying ...more
By Bob Schepps (77), Southampton on Jan 12, 14 6:41 PM
to Nature:

You have missed the point. Residents of this area have purchased homes in the expectation that all other buildings in their neighborhood would have to conform to the same zoning restrictions that THEY have to observe. Whether or not the village has the power to re-zone at will is not germane. It is a simple question of fairness.

Indeed, when the "reasoning" behind the developer's request for a 250% increase is forthcoming, we can weigh it against sitting residents' ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jan 13, 14 12:58 AM
Little Hat - you seem to "miss the point" of the application process. They are seeking a change of zone, which is essentially discretionary. They have every right to seek it - I have not said it's a good idea, or the village should support it, and the village hasn't said the same. But you seem to be of the impression that there is some unwritten rules that to seek a change of zone is "taboo" or whatever. You state:

"Residents of this area have purchased homes in the expectation that ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 13, 14 10:54 AM
All good points Nature.

Moreover, as the Village has less open land available, applications like this will become more common. Looking down the road decades, as the population grows along with the median age due to the Baby Boom in the 1950's +/-, the demographics will favor a shift in residential preferences in most urban centers.

Also, as Bob Schepps posted above, this application may not actually involve much IF ANY increase in density, both as to the number of residents and ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 13, 14 11:31 AM
1 member liked this comment
SCDHS sets the amount of sewage (gallons per day) allowed depending on use. Single family dwellings have an presumed use of 300 gpd (regardless of home size)

Attached housing units have sewage flow rates dependent upon size. PRC units (Planned Retirement Community) have the following designations:

Up to 600 sq. ft = 100 gpd
600-1600 = 150 gpd
1600-2000 = 225 gpd
2000+ = 300 gpd

The GPD designation includes all water usage (kitchen, bath, sewage, sprinklers). ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 13, 14 12:27 PM
I have long believed that, from a sewage effluent standpoint, I would rather have a 5 acre parcel built with 1 massive house (say 20,000 square feet) than have it split into 5 parcels with 5 homes totalling 2000-4000 square feet in size.

That 20,000 square foot home will likely only be used on weekends in the summer. The other homes will likely be utilized year-round and thus contribute way more effluent despite the fact that they are signficantly smaller.

It is likely that ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 13, 14 12:32 PM
Affluent effluence?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 14, 14 6:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
to Nature:

You have created a straw man which you then proceed to criticize.

There isn't any question that the village can rezone at will. MY point is that doing so in this instance would not serve the purpose for which the multi-family senior zoning designation was created and would be grossly unfair to sitting residents.

You take no position on the ethical propriety of the proposal (other than to assert that residents who expect the trustees to maintain the current ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jan 14, 14 12:35 AM
"Stop Making Sense" . . . !
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 14, 14 6:16 AM
"would be grossly unfair to sitting residents."

Since when is the world fair, and what agreement do "sitting residents" have with respect to land they do not own nor control?

My point is that you (strawman) falsley believe there is some social contract that property owners and village officials have engaged in whereas any application for a change of zone should be outright denied on account of "fairness".

Are you trying to claim that the proposal is "unethical"? (your ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 14, 14 9:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
to Nature:

Your observation on existential "fairness" aside, fair dealing by government is ESSENTIAL to the social compact. Sitting residents have a vested interest in projects that are built in their neighborhood. It is unethical to ignore their concerns.

In your mechanistic view, consideration of insignificant anxieties such as theirs has no place in the regulatory decision-making process. God grant that people who share your opinion abstain from public office.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jan 15, 14 10:11 AM
"It is unethical to ignore their concerns."

When did I say their concerns should be ignored or are not valid or that the village should approve the application regardless of community opinion?

My only point is that the act of buying property in a "neighborhood" does not require the local zoning authority to maintain surrounding zoning in perpetuity (or until you move and/or die). If the neighbors truly do not want this in their neighborhood, they can voice their opinion. But ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 15, 14 10:19 AM
There are too many elderly people out here as it is. They are overcrowding the area, driving slowly and erratically, becoming a real threat on the roadways. They also go for walks along our roadways, making it dangerous for drivers to avoid them.

The more housing you build, the more of the elderly there will be. Isn't it really time to face up to the problem and get some sharpshooters in here to clean the place up? In the current economic climate, more elderly will be losing their pensions ...more
By btdt (449), water mill on Jan 20, 14 9:51 PM