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Sep 12, 2019 8:24 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

A Village At A Crossroads: A Roundtable Discussion

The Press Sessions
Sep 12, 2019 8:24 AM

A few weeks ago, a walk down Main Street or Jobs Lane in Southampton Village would have been a challenge at times: There were plenty of people in the streets, in the shops, crowding the sidewalks. Midsummer, the village looked like what it has been for years: a hub of activity, a mecca for discerning and well-heeled shoppers, and a seaside escape with just enough hometown charm.After Labor Day, that image begins to slip. And even a closer look around from the crowded sidewalks in July and August could find hints of trouble: vacant storefronts, fewer retailers and restaurants than might be expected, crowds that do more walking than shopping.

A sense of malaise might sneak in, like a chilly breeze warning of a potentially barren winter around the corner.

What does the future hold? At the inaugural “Press Session” — following a merger with The Sag Harbor Express, an expansion of that publication’s popular “Express Sessions” targeting Sag Harbor issues — a roundtable of local officials and business leaders will discuss the challenges facing the business district.

To set up that conversation, to be held Friday at Union Cantina, some of the participants, along with a few others from the village community, were asked to discuss the issue. Answers have been edited for space and clarity.

Vacancies throughout the business district, and primarily along Main Street and Jobs Lane, have been a key point of concern. Others point to high-end stores that are open only seasonally, as opposed to year-round retailers who keep the shopping district healthy all year. Are there solutions to these problems, or are they simply a reality that must be dealt with? How seriously do they affect the overall health of the business community?

Kimberly Allen, Southampton Village trustee: Main Street appears to be in good shape at the moment, with only one or two vacancies, but that will certainly change later this fall. This trend likely will continue when you have retailers who follow their “resort” customer base, or retailers who are mostly online to begin with and create pop-ups in targeted markets with great appeal. The village has this appeal — which is good. But this won’t be the case for all our stores, as there are still many businesses who have the right product or service that appeals to customers throughout the year.

As you may know, stores closings after the summer has always been part of this community, but the volume has increased. For example, Hill Street leading to Jobs Lane was previously oriented to car sales and servicing (being the only Ford or Chevy dealership within miles). That drove foot traffic, along with the movie theater. Many of these service businesses have departed and need to be replaced with other service-oriented concepts. We have seen an increase in nail/spa/hair salons, for example.

Solutions that appear to have worked elsewhere include changing the mix to more experiential activities for all generations, family value food and dining, and general services, all to drive activity — finding things that one cannot buy on Amazon.

Many people in the community say that they would like to see more family-friendly casual restaurants, along with more services, such as a simple shoe repair store or a pet food store, although they do appreciate many of the restaurants that are here.

People continue to have confidence in Southampton — we continue to hear from retailers and businesses who want to open up a business here. But we do need to do more.

Erin Hattrick Meaney, owner, Topiare, Southampton: First and foremost, Southampton Village has always had seasonal businesses that, every year, closed up on Labor Day. As the population out east has grown considerably since 9/11 and after, I think that the sheer increase in people drove up business, housing prices, etc. With this large influx of New York transplants came some pretty big boom years. Simultaneously, the internet’s net was widening and the “Tangers” were growing.

Just like housing prices get out of line, so do rental prices in any commercial real estate market. When I first opened 29 years ago, and for the next 22 years, l paid rent only — not a percentage of taxes and insurance for the landlord. Of all the wrongs done, I feel this is it! There is a cost of doing business for every businessperson, and I feel this is the landlord’s responsibility.

Greed can sometimes get to even the nicest of people. I believe that this is destroying the rent prices and causing shop owners great financial problems. 

Another factor in this community is that the real estate firms have big offices in the village and could often afford these big rents. As far as the store owners are concerned, many, I think, lost perspective and thought that “anything goes,” price-wise. That, with the growing energy of the internet, started to drive shoppers away.

Closing two days a week, so as not to have to pay someone, also affected the stores in the village. I have listened for years to people who have come down to shop and found too many stores closed. You can never guess what day will be busy.

I struggled for many years to have a day off and/or pay an employee to sit and wait. But, 29 years later, it has paid off. I have many competitors, in that flowers are sold in every market and grocery store, as well as on the internet. It is a tough call in small business — and I think there are so many factors converging in a death spiral!

Shannon Willey, owner, Sea Green Designs, Southampton​: I believe there are definitely solutions to these issues. We live in a seasonal area, and stores that are open only in the summer are understandable. However, for the village to thrive, there should be incentives that encourage year-round retail.

I suggest that a rebate of some portion of village taxes be given to the year-round business owner. Most of us have triple net leases and pay the taxes with our rent.

In terms of how high-end a store is, diversity is the key to drawing more people. Stores that are doing well enough to stay open year-round, regardless of price point, are the key to a thriving village.

Paul Travis, chairman, Southampton Village Planning Commission​: Southampton has always had seasonal tenants in high-rent spaces, dating back to the days of Saks Fifth Avenue and Bonwit Teller, that closed in the winter so their staffs could go to Palm Beach. However, historically, that was balanced by several factors: a) over 100 residential units in the business district, b) very little local competition, and c) a long-standing local population that frequented merchants in the business district.

In 2012-14, the Planning Commission became concerned at increasing vacancies in the business district, the inability to open new restaurants or residential units because of restrictions from the Suffolk County Department of Health, and the move of institutions — including the Parrish, the post office, the library and the police station — off Main Street and Jobs Lane.

The result was the Village Business District Master Plan, Zoning District and Design Guidelines. Among other items, it provided for an Arts District on Jobs Lane, Windmill Lane and Nugent Street to be rebuilt like Main and Jobs, and shared parking.

New competitors — a strong upscale East Hampton shopping district, vibrant Sag Harbor night scene, outlets at Tanger — are not going away. The village population is less full time and getting older. Retail changes that make it less attractive for national brands to have money-losing stores are hitting across the country.

However, a new arts-and-entertainment-anchored business district, with a good mix of local and national tenants, with people living in it and attractive infrastructure, can succeed.

There are good signs. These include the Citarella-led revitalization of Hampton Road, the enormously successful Southampton Arts Center (with many more visitors than ever attended the Parrish on Jobs Lane), and Peter Marino’s planned new museum. 

Don Sullivan, owner, The Publick House, Southampton​: The village business district needs to diversify. Being dominated by retail allows only for serious levels of vacancy during downturns. And one can argue with confidence that the rapidly changing face of retail to online is resulting in a permanent downturn for brick-and-mortar retail.

Making the area attractive for professional services and diversifying the types of businesses within the district will strengthen the year-round business community.

Mark Parash, Southampton Village trustee, co-owner, Sip'n Soda​: I think it’s a combination of both. I believe that there is an influx of high-end retailers that are here for the season that is most productive for them. As our year-round population dwindles in the village, it doesn’t seem like we are drawing enough from outside the village, because the feedback is that there is really not much in the village besides a few places that can really give everybody what they need.

What The Press is doing, I commend them for that. I’d really like to see a series of these, and not just one — the momentum, and the more people you get involved, the more beneficial for the future of the village. We can’t just be one and done.

The optics of empty stores doesn’t really make you feel like you’re going to be thriving and vibrant. Now, obviously, in July, sure, we know we don’t have much of a problem. But we’re not a three-month community, we are a year-round community that needs to have more vibrancy for the people who do live not just within the village boundaries but around it.

Beau Hulse, owner, Coldwell Banker Beau Hulse Realty Group, Southampton​: Some of my recommendations are for the owners of properties to include, in their lease terms, when leasing to high-end stores, an extension of their season from April 1 to January 5, as many are vacant, and that sends the wrong message to the village community and the public who are not coming into the village and going elsewhere for pleasure and shopping, which in turn affects all other year-round businesses.

Parking on Main Street should be for customers and clients. It is an obligation of the business owners to encourage and enforce the no parking on Main Street and Jobs Lane for the benefit of their own businesses and fellow business owners so all can prosper. When folks can’t find parking, they leave! Stop the chalking of tires during season for overextended parking — which is mean-spirited — along with ticketing. Create more parking spaces in the outskirts, with free rides into the village.

Mayor Jesse Warren has floated the idea of a vacancy tax on the owners of empty storefronts. Is this an idea you support?

Don Sullivan: I so support it. It should have real teeth, as the reality is that landlords with many properties within the region, some with dozens of buildings, developments and such, keep the rents high, thus allowing for a percentage of their real estate portfolio to be vacant so as to gain the tax break of losses on those properties.

I’ve had four empty stores right next to me for over a year. To me, any property that’s vacant for more than 12 months should be fined or taxed. And if it goes 24 months, double it, and so on.

A property owner has a responsibility to his/her neighbors and community to keep the health and integrity of that community as viable as possible. Just as the tenant has a responsibility to pay the rent and keep the property in good condition.

Kimberly Allen: Still researching but would like to explore other options as well. We have to really understand all the underlying reasons why stores are vacant and how a vacancy tax could change it. Might be good to work with store owners to brainstorm winter pop-up concepts.

Erin Hattrick Meaney: I do believe that spaces with the village that are vacant for more than a year should be taxed differently. I also believe that the village should give tax credits — passed on to the store owner, of course — to those shops open six or seven days a week.

Shannon Willey: I think this is a negative approach. I don’t think we want to be that village where they charge you even more to be there. I firmly believe we need incentives, not penalties.

Beau Hulse: Yes, it’s definitely a good option to consider.

The rising rents for commercial spaces in the village is another factor. Are there any solutions to this problem that village government can tackle? Or are there other ways to encourage “affordable” rents that keep vacancies from lingering?

Erin Hattrick Meaney: I think that bad times, economically speaking, are the only way to drive prices down on rents. Property managers have taken over running landlords’ properties. Rents had to go up to pay the property manager!

What has happened on Jobs Lane at the “flamingo property” is both parties’ fault. The landlord isn’t the nicest, most “local”-minded owner — and the village blew it, in my opinion. They should have let him do the renovation, and now they are crying foul. 

I do not think that the village will ever be able to manage rental structures, not in a million years. Hopefully, some new young people will decide to throw their hats into the “shop owner” field and bring new ideas.  

Kimberly Allen: Not sure that village government can regulate rising rents — it may just have to shake itself out with supply and demand. Would like to explore creating business incentive districts across certain areas, partnering with the town or county, as has been done farther up-island with the creation of tax havens, for example.

Shannon Willey: Again, I believe the rebate incentive is a solution that the village government can tackle.

Paul Travis: The village has suffered from an increasing number of out-of-town landlords who have unrealistic expectations on rent and tenancy. Redevelopment of Nugent Street and Windmill Lane can create more affordable space. I also think that, eventually, building owners will have to face reality on rents.

Don Sullivan: Prices on the commercial properties went through the roof, following residential, over the past 20 years. But it’s a false value if the businesses can’t possibly pay mortgages or rents and stay in business to meet payroll, taxes, operating costs, etc.

Allowing some large properties to be subdivided offers some opportunities. And lowering commercial property taxes would help. But, mostly, allowing for those buildings to create mixed residential and commercial use by allowing for small apartments, studios and such. That would provide for multiple rents on the same building, thus a sharing of the “rent roll” that the property owner feels he/she needs to have.

But that all goes back to septics — and that’s the only way the village will restore itself: by having year-round, invested owners and renters living and working here.

Mark Parash: I think the government is looking into a lot of things. It’s one of the things where dialogue and conversations could be the way to help develop a relationship where we could have more continuity with community members.

I think if you’d ask a lot of business owners in the village, they don’t know a lot of the other business owners. I grew up here, and that was one of the things — it was a pretty tight-knit community. Relationships with other business owners and building owners, getting that aspect going, could be productive, and that is something that needs to be looked into, because it hasn’t been lately. I think you just have to get together. You’re probably going to be more successful as a unit — the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Beau Hulse: Mirror the real estate industry by offering winter leases at a more affordable price, therefore having businesses open year-round.

Is the village’s evolving condition simply a reflection of market conditions — of the consumer’s demands driving the offerings that thrive? Or are there other factors to consider?

Kimberly Allen: Tanger Mall, and now the internet, have certainly pulled business away from everyone. These are macro-economic conditions across the globe. Our year-round population also is lower — given the general increase in second-home residents or those seeking a lower-tax state — but people still live here full time and like to do things, even when they come out on weekends and vacation.

Shannon Willey: Atmosphere and/or experience is what people are looking for. Anything that the village and the business can do that creates a unique experience will continue to bring people back.

Don Sullivan: The village’s evolving condition is due to myriad contributing factors. And many are out of the control of any municipal government. However, the decisions made by village government that have to do with long-term conditions, ones that are able to be influenced, need to be done with a much broader view, as opposed to the narrow self-interests of a few. See the Parrish issue 10 years ago as a prime example.

Mark Parash: We could go into the lack of year-round residents compared to 10 years ago, in combination with market conditions. The new census is going to be pretty interesting out here. What that is really going to show us: A lot of young people are moving out, too. So it’s a combination of things. It’s just the quality of life and the standard of living.

We do need young people — it’s one of the things, with the mayor being of a young age comparatively. It can be a little contagious, and as a village we can start moving forward.

Beau Hulse: This is not a reflection of market conditions. It’s about the village being alive. People want to go to Southampton Village to shop, have something to eat, and have a pleasurable experience similar to Sag Harbor Village and Patchogue.

What was the key moment in the decline for the village — a development that you believe draws a line between “before” and “after”?

Erin Hattrick Meaney: I do not, or could not pick a turning point, because my business continues to go in a growth position. I did take a good punch in the recession and was told at the time by my accountant that I wouldn’t make it! I said watch me! I couldn’t do anything but succeed after that, and I tightened my belt and worked harder than ever to right my shop. And it worked.

I believe that the internet is lacking in many aspects when it comes to shopping. After a while, pressing buttons, returning boxes, etc. — those are not feel-good moments! People have never wanted to feel something more than now.

Almost every customer who crosses my threshold sighs, takes a deep breath in and smiles. They feel something. Stores are going to have to reinvent themselves, make changes, do anything to make it — and they will survive. I am optimistic that, with truthful introspection on store owners’ part, will come a new tide of success.

The days of a disinterested waif sitting at a counter talking on her or his phone, while customers mill around, is over. People are often surprised when I ask them if I can help them to the car with their bags (and I mean bags of merchandise). I think people are looking for a connection! 

Shannon Willey: I don’t think there is a before and after — I think change is constant. Obviously, the Great Recession affected all of us, and that is part of adapting in order to survive, being creative, and seeing things from a different perspective.

Paul Travis: The “double hit” of the Parrish Art Museum, library, Saks, post office all leaving, and Tanger Outlets opening. The departure of the Parrish from Jobs Lane in 2012 was a concern, but since then the Southampton Arts Center has been expanding its programs, and architect and art collector Peter Marino has announced plans for a new museum in the former Rogers Memorial Library space on Jobs Lane.

Don Sullivan: The loss of the Parrish was not just the museum. It was the loss of a campus-like set of buildings from the corner of Main and Jobs down to what is now the Ralph Lauren store — multiple buildings open year round providing jobs, visitors, programming, educational programs, exhibits, and, of course, seasonal events. It would have been the cornerstone of the village, further enhancing the History Museum and making the village a cultural focal point of the whole South Fork. That daily business activity would have rippled through Jobs Lane and Main Street, providing much needed “foot traffic” for the small stores and services.

Instead, the old Rogers Library sat vacant for more than 10 years, and the Parrish effectively vacant for three or more. And while the Arts Center is now providing viable programming, its first few years were scant at best.

Mark Parash: I think everybody can point to the rising real estate prices, and people who have been here, they had served this village for a long time, decided it was time to move on, cash out — and, thankfully, they could do that. That was a good thing for people who invested a lot of their lives here. The people who bought houses were year-rounders, they were second-home owners who came out here a lot. You started to see a shift in the amount of year-round residents vs. part time. That had something to do with it.

When you talk to professionals who are in the market, they say the market will correct itself. I don’t think that’s something we can wait for. When does that happen? What’s the collateral of that?

Kimberly Allen: Having a string of conspicuously empty retail stores as you enter the village from Hill Street.

Beau Hulse: Rising rents. Decrease in restaurants and the lack of affordable apartments for people working in the stores, restaurants and businesses. A venue that would draw people of all ages, similar to Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, and, in Riverhead, the Suffolk Theater, and, in Sag Harbor, Bay Street Theater. Peter Marino’s plans are a great start for revitalization.

The departure of the Parrish Art Museum from Jobs Lane in 2012 was a concern, but since then the Southampton Arts Center has been expanding its programs, and architect and art collector Peter Marino has announced plans for a new museum in the former Rogers Memorial Library space on Jobs Lane. Are the village’s cultural offerings key to the business district’s success? Are they improving?

Paul Travis: Yes, and yes. Also, the expanding programs at the Southampton History Museum and great events like “Rising Stars” at the Southampton Cultural Center.

Kimberly Allen: I see the sun rising over Southampton Village with our cultural community bringing many more people to the village due to a continued array of interesting year-round programming from the Southampton Arts Center that includes art, documentary film series, speaker series and monthly dance parties. The Southampton Cultural Center continues to please with its long-standing Concerts in the Park, theater productions drawing on local talent, and dance and music festivals, plus classes and workshops. A continuing increase in year-round programming is making this a home run — and, by the way, hearing that the “Silent Disco” is returning later in September for an encore!

Mark Parash: What I’ve learned and read, over the last year especially, is that the way people socialize these days is through arts, theater, entertainment and dining. So the cornerstone of a flagship retail store? I don’t think that’s the make-up anymore of these small hamlets and villages. These other things I described are the anchors.

The Arts Center, over the last couple of years, has done a tremendous job — Tom Dunn did the programming and really pushed it to the point where it’s really getting people involved.

I don’t think the Parrish leaving the village crippled the village. Maybe for a year or two in between, but it’s within a mile, mile and a half, outside the village, so it’s not like something that’s gone forever.

With Peter Marino moving in and doing his thing, and then we have the Cultural Center, it’s just a matter of getting a little more vibrancy. We can do something that gives today’s people something where they can interact, and that will build momentum.

Say something positive about the business district and its future. What makes Southampton Village a destination for visitors? What are the features that should be capitalized on, built upon?

Kimberly Allen: We have many businesses that are closely connected to their customer base and have been operating for decades, if not a century or more. These stores are unique and can’t be seen anywhere else but here. I often watch people taking pictures in front of these businesses, because they are iconic.

I believe they will continue to thrive — Herrick’s, Hildreth’s, Silvers, Sip’n Soda, Shippy’s, Fellingham’s, Gubbins, Catena’s.

Shannon Willey: The business district is laid out in a way that makes it easy for people to navigate. With the Cultural Center on one end and the Arts Center on the other, we should be capitalizing on these offerings with more joint events that create a villagewide experience.

Paul Travis: As the Master Plan said in 2014, Main Street and Jobs Lane are a unique historical and aesthetic resource. Lake Agawam and the park are in the middle of the village. We have many great long-term local tenants. We need to invest in the public environment (especially drainage and wastewater and parking), provide for more restaurants and cultural activities, and the unique beauty and character of the village will win. 

Mark Parash: Personally, I think we have the prettiest village. Proximity to beaches is pretty close compared to a lot of other villages. We have a great walking area and a tremendous amount of charm. There’s a good vibe here — it’s being challenged a bit right now, because there is a lot of what-ifs. It’s getting everybody to focus on that. We all got to pitch in.

Beau Hulse: There are hard-working, dedicated families and individuals who want to make the village a successful place to do business and are open to making it a more desirable destination. Visitors come to the village because of its history throughout time, its culture — music, art and theater — and a wonderful sense of community. They go to our beaches and bays, shop in our stores, and go to our restaurants.

With all this centrally located and easily accessible, having free rides in and out of the village, especially from the train station, is a great asset, especially for the millennials who like mass transit, great restaurants and shops.

Would a solution to the village’s septic issues be an important step? Why or why not?

Don Sullivan: Absolutely. Do you know what the costs are for the average restaurant to be serviced monthly in season? Over $5,000 per month. It’s not sustainable. And we all know the effects of endless cesspools on our groundwater and local waters.

Kimberly Allen: With 370,000 unsewered homes on the East End, we are simply continuing an assault on our environment without addressing an upgrade to our age-old septic practices. The majority of our business district and homes near any water body fall into what is called a sensitive area, per the county’s scientific studies, and are first-priority considerations for the town and county residential grant system. But more will need to be done to address high-flow commercial enterprises.

Paul Travis: Solving the septic issue is absolutely critical to the future of the business district, Lake Agawam and our environment.

Erin Hattrick Meaney: As far as the septic system quandary, I am not sure that the downtown area is ready to be torn up and either be merged in with the hospital waste management or create our own plant.

There are many restaurants downtown. I am not sure how many more we could have anyway. I have heard this issue discussed for so many years, by people who really want the best for the village, and I just don’t see how it is going to happen without catastrophic issues. It would so hurt a lot of business who might not make it through that. We had National Grid downtown for three months in the spring, blocking the road, and it was very tough. I am lucky that I do a big phone business, but it definitely affected foot traffic.

If I had the ultimate answer to the septic problem, and to Lake Agawam’s terrible algae problem, well, a street might be named after me! That’s a joke … haha. 

Shannon Willey: Absolutely, this would allow the addition of office/apartments to second-story buildings, and more restaurants.

Mark Parash: Yes. It gives you the opportunity for wet use; right now, the only way in the village you can have restaurant and dining options, generally, is as an existing use. There’s only a handful of us.

Westhampton Beach is taking the lead right now, which is going to give them an opportunity to add a few more places downtown. Fifteen years ago, it was looked at as “the dead village.” I think it’s shifting more toward us now — and that bums me out. They’re doing something about it.

Beau Hulse: Yes. This investment will help us improve the environment. Examples: restaurants, lakes, waterways will be clear from cesspool runoffs. It will also allow more businesses to thrive on a year-round basis now and for future generations to come.

What is your vision of Southampton Village in 10 years? Can Southampton Village be saved? Why or why not?

Shannon Willey: I envision a bustling arts district that is a destination for people from the tri-state area and beyond, with people shopping and dining all year, with the obvious increase in the summer, but with enough happening for people to want to experience the beauty of our village and coastal environment. I believe the village can be saved and must be. There is too much history and too much potential for the village not to survive.

Paul Travis: Ten years from now, we will have a sustainable mix of local and national stores, tech tenants in our office buildings, people enjoying living in the middle of activity, and a beautiful, landscaped, porous-surfaced, efficient central parking lot that will be a symbol of the village’s commitment to the business district.

Kimberly Allen: Southampton is less than two hours away from New York City and major airports, and soon will have a state-of-the-art hospital. It has seven miles of the most glorious beaches in the world and a stunning village. People will always want to come here.

The village is going through many issues facing other communities, but we still have a community like no other.

Erin Hattrick Meaney: Of course Southampton Village can be saved! I will always believe that! We have to keep adapting, looking at trends, morphing, and, most of all, be true and honest! Sometimes the truth hurts, and if no one is shopping in your store, you must evaluate what is going wrong, what is going right, and start working at finding what customers do want. And it is hard some days and exhausting and daunting. But if you are committed, you can always find the way!

Don Sullivan: I’m excited to see three young businesspeople get voted into village government. It seems the voter has gotten tired of the same old Southampton Village.

Stony Brook Southampton Hospital will be leaving the village for the college campus in the not-too-distant future. Here is the opportunity that the village must seize upon and understand how it can create a beneficial change for all parties in the community. Allow the property to become a mixed-use property, with a small but highly visible hotel as the centerpiece, such as a Hyatt, Marriott, etc. All the facilities are there for a hotel complex with adjoining businesses that can complement the hotel but also can still be tied to the health care industry, as the Meeting House Lane area is today.

A hotel of that type would bring visitors as well as business travelers and provide a real source of business for the restaurants and shops of the village as well as surrounding hamlets. With the local chamber and village government cooperating, it would allow the village to become the true center of the South Fork. The village would quickly restore itself to a place all could be proud of and want to invest their time and money in.

Beau Hulse: I do not have a crystal ball. However, it’s my opinion that we need a comprehensive, independent study comparing our town with other towns that are having the same challenges. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to secure the future for our children, grandchildren and future generations. Yes, the village can be saved. We need to do it as soon as possible.

Mark Parash: I don’t think it’s going to die — that’s the first thing. I think the village can be robust, it can be vibrant, yes — and it’s going to be. Ten years from now, we’re going to look back and say: “Hey, remember that conversation we had?”

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Will the village taxpayers be responsible for the "vacancy tax" inside Mayor Jesse Warren's head ??? By the end of his term the village will be a ghost town year round !!!
By themarlinspike (542), Northern Hemisphere on Sep 12, 19 8:56 AM
1 member liked this comment
That's a really well thought-out solution to the problem at hand marlin. You've outdone yourself once again. Bravo!
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Sep 12, 19 9:12 AM
1 member liked this comment
Vancouver BC has a vacancy tax-its higher for foreign property owners than Canadians-to stem the empty properties due to buy hold sell speculation that's occurring there. Same idea. But the speculators are adding it to the cost of business when they purchase so it isn't actually working. I believe our greedy property owners will just figure its a nuisance, but still allows them a loss to claim with the IRS.

By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Sep 12, 19 10:24 AM
1 member liked this comment
The Village needs to reach out to Stony Brook Southampton to look at utilizing their sewer treatment facilities once the Hospital moves to the Campus on 39. That would allow the Village business district to tap the facility at much less cost than building a new plant on Coopers Farm Road. The only thing that is going to save this Village is a sewer district that allows for more restaurant/cafe type uses. Retail shopping is dying. Niche dining options (coffee shops, micro-brews, taverns, grab-n-go's ...more
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Sep 12, 19 10:40 AM
Bring back Porembas ; )
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Sep 12, 19 10:58 AM
Interference in the market (ie monetary stimulus...ridiculously low historical financing costs) has caused the bulk of the vacancy issue. The premise of a vacancy tax is that more interference in the market is the answer. I think that’s highly naive.
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Sep 12, 19 12:15 PM
Make Jobs Lane a pedestrian and bicycle only outdoor mall all year round. Other cities and towns do similar improvements and are a tremendous success. People walking and biking downtown need to be encouraged not Cars and SUV’s in traffic jams taking up all the space.
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Sep 12, 19 12:27 PM
Make Jobs Lane a pedestrian and bicycle only outdoor mall all year round. Other cities and towns do similar improvements and are a tremendous success. People walking and biking downtown need to be encouraged not Cars and SUV’s in traffic jams taking up all the space.
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Sep 12, 19 12:27 PM
If you don't own the building and/or have an all cash business, you can't make it in Southampton Village if you're a small family held business.
By even fIow (60), Westhampton Beach on Sep 12, 19 3:11 PM
2 members liked this comment
... build a SUNY Southampton college on the present campus along with the hospital. Full undergraduate programs and limited graduate offerings. Hospitality. Marine Science, Theater/ Fine Arts and Creative Writing, Architecture, Business/Real Estate etc. Maybe, later, a law school Offer programs that Stony Brook University does not offer so no conflict and offer programs that will benefit the the East End

Keep the buildings in line with local architecture. Twelve month programs would bring ...more
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Sep 12, 19 4:01 PM
2 members liked this comment
We need a new sewer district and a Jitney stop like every other village next to the Golden Pear for starters.
By lursagirl (245), southampton on Sep 12, 19 8:01 PM
Bring Back 1975 !
By AndersEn (174), Southampton on Sep 12, 19 9:05 PM
What about a Candy and Comics shop? The 80's.....
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Sep 13, 19 12:10 AM
Retail is dead and high rents compound it. Why do you need a sewer when the existing restaurants cant make it?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 13, 19 10:55 AM
Sewer district to serve who? Building owners that charge big rents? Will not benefit the regular taxpayer. Part of doing business, as a landscaper has to take care of his equipment.
I lived on Windmill La and had a water problem all out life. We all moved to higher ground and do not have that problem. Might be a idea???
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Sep 13, 19 11:20 AM
Even if not new restaurants a sewer district is better for the environment which benefits us all - However new apartments and cafes/restaurants coming would help all including those already existing as the draw in general increases foot traffic which in turn adds life which in turn draws more people, and if done right they cycle continues. No one wants to walk around a closed town with nothing to do. All businesses benefit when the ones next to them are doing well.
By SHResident (59), Southampton on Sep 13, 19 11:51 AM
Better for the environment? The Lake is polluted from runoff.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 14, 19 10:38 AM
How about the land on 39 for sewage plant that would be larger and able to serve more of out community? Already too small for the volume projected...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Sep 20, 19 12:26 PM
Convert the Southampton Hospital to emergency housing for teenagers and young adults here as undocumented residents without the means to support themselves.

Then open a jobs training facility in the village to teach them valuable skills to support the new hospital which is proposed to have fewer beds but cost twice the national average per bed in construction costs.

Maybe by training the undocumented residents in construction skills by the union workers building the new hospital ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Sep 21, 19 9:59 AM