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Aug 4, 2010 11:38 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

"Next-generation" housing plan for Bailey Road moves to Southampton Village Planning Board

Aug 4, 2010 11:38 AM

Southampton Village’s plans for what Mayor Mark Epley calls “next-generation housing” on Bailey Road are moving forward, with a sketch plan review for subdividing the property into three half-acre lots now before the Village Planning Board, and a public hearing on the situation likely to be held in October.

The 1.7-acre parcel was seized by the county on a tax lien more than seven years ago, with responsibility for it given to the village on the condition that it be used to build affordable housing, as per the county’s 72h program, which included about 300 similar sites countywide.

The village’s contract with the county was renewed in 2006 and again late last year, after the village received a warning from 
the county that the latter would take back the land to develop affordable housing there. Though the development of the Bailey Road site for affordable housing had never been a priority, Mr. Epley confirmed this week that village officials, not eager to 
lose the power to set certain criteria on the housing, voted to renew the contract. If they didn’t, the county could have come back in 
and developed affordable 
housing itself.

The village Zoning Board of Appeals approved a variance earlier this year for 100-foot lot widths rather than the 120-foot widths normally required in that residential zone, and the Village Board voted to rezone the parcel from 1-acre lot sizes to half-acre sites late last year. Approximately 70 percent of the lots in that area are already smaller than a half-acre, John Davis Rose, an architect, told the Planning Board on Monday, in providing on overview of the Bailey Road area.

Mr. Epley told the board Monday that having three houses constructed on the three lots would be an excellent opportunity for people who live, work or volunteer in the village to find “next-generation,” or affordable, housing in a municipality that is becoming increasingly expensive to live in. The mayor expressed concern about the village losing its “younger generation” and mentioned that it would probably be “impossible” for his four children to find housing in the village someday.

A number of restrictions that have yet to be formulated would be placed on the housing, but Mr. Epley said he believes such housing could attract firefighters, ambulance volunteers, police officers, nurses and teachers and that it would be a great chance for young families to build equity. He said that to be eligible for the housing, potential occupants would have to be able to qualify for a mortgage, be gainfully employed and ultimately be selected through a screening process and lottery system.

Since the properties are government-owned, residents would be taxed according to the value of their houses rather than the land, but residents would still have to pay for road maintenance, since Bailey Road is private.

Because of a County Legislature change adjusting the percentage from 80 percent to 120 percent of HUD income, a family of four living in one of the homes could potentially earn up to about $145,000, the mayor noted.

“It’s one of the truly publicly worthy projects for us to get behind,” the mayor told the board, adding that he feels confident the subdivision will be approved because he sees it as a way for the village to give back to the volunteers and young families in the area.

Should the Planning Board ultimately approve the subdivision, it would then need to be approved by the Suffolk County Department of Health.

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Good. We need to provide affordable housing for people who provide essential services for our community. I'd wondered what had happened to the proposal. I hope it will go to volunteers first. With all due respect, teachers and registered nurses earn more than many of them and neither can drop what they are doing to respond to emergencies.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Aug 5, 10 7:54 AM
No affordable housing for non-essential people!
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Aug 5, 10 11:48 AM
What about the locals who are not teachers, police or volunteers but don't want to leave the area just to buy a house
By C888 (11), East Hampton on Aug 5, 10 8:58 AM
Agree, but we've got to start somewhere. Besides, don't forget that you have to contend with the NIMBYISM of those that simply do not understand this issue.
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Aug 5, 10 5:46 PM
"non-essential people" what are we talkin about. What criteria are we gonna use and who will sit in judgement to who gets what? We blog about how strong and currupt police and teachers unions are and how costs of pensions are mathmatically unsustainable yet we want to somehow select which local professional gets to buy a below market priced home. You need to take applications from qualified buyers put them in a bucket and pull out the names. It should not be exclusive to a particular profession ...more
By Bob Schepps (77), Southampton on Aug 8, 10 7:32 PM
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