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Oct 6, 2010 12:18 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Does Throne-Holst have support for a Planned Development District moratorium?

Oct 6, 2010 12:18 PM

It has been more than a week since Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst surprised her colleagues on the Town Board by proposing that they consider placing a moratorium on consideration of planned development districts, and perhaps banning the planning tool outright, but even now it appears the rest of board doesn’t quite agree.

While some Town Board members said they are eager to see parts of the PDD law and process improved, all pointed out that the current legislation already allows for the board to reject proposals for PDDs at will.

A PDD is a special zoning designation approved by the Town Board that permits developers to build more than standard zoning would allow in exchange for some “community benefit.”

Some Town Board members said this week they would not make a decision on any measures relating to a moratorium or repealing the law until proper discussions and public hearings are held. But their opinions so far suggest that Ms. Throne-Holst might not have the support she needs to enact a moratorium—as she will seek to do—let alone strike the controversial law from the books.

“I think it was well-intended,” Councilwoman Nancy Graboski said of the supervisor’s public proposal. “But it was a little too casual for me.”

Not On Board

The most common concern voiced by all of the Town Board members—Ms. Graboski, Chris Nuzzi, Jim Malone and Bridget Fleming—is that there is already room in the PDD legislation for the Town Board to reject applications it doesn’t think fit the community.

“There’s no right to have a PDD. It’s only by discretion and the decision by Town Council,” Mr. Malone emphasized.

Mr. Malone also warned that enacting a moratorium, which would halt all PDD proposals in the pipeline and any new ones, would effectively shut the door to potentially creative projects and investments that might actually better the town.

“If there is investment available to be made, I want to do everything I can to encourage it while ... balancing the concerns of our community,” he said. “I don’t want to send a signal to those willing to invest to ‘take your money someplace else.’”

Ms. Fleming offered similar sentiments and noted that she’s already said no to a PDD application—the Serenity Estates proposal, which calls for 60 condominiums in Speonk.

“It’s always available to us to say no,” Ms. Fleming said. “And I think we need to be responsible in terms of assessing environmental impact, community benefits, economic impact and the impact on the community’s quality of life ... I don’t feel like I personally, as a councilperson, need a moratorium.”

Mr. Nuzzi echoed all of the same concerns. He initially responded to Ms. Throne-Holst’s suggestions at the Town Board meeting by noting that the PDD process is a discretionary one and later expanded on his opinion.

“A reactive response like pitching a moratorium an hour and a half into public comment over a somewhat unrelated initiative seems a little bit, one, impractical, based upon what we know is currently the PDD law and to say outright no to these PDD applications ... and, two, it creates a disincentive to try to come up with a creative use on a property that better fits what the vision of the community is,” he said.

Determined To Proceed

But the supervisor says that a moratorium, or repealing the law, would send a strong message to the public: a “tangible” commitment to discipline while the town reevaluates issues in the current law. During a moratorium, Ms. Throne-Holst said she would like to hone in on weak elements in the legislation and clarify, for example, the value and appropriateness of public benefits, particularly hamlet by hamlet. She said she wants to review the impact PDDs would have on various aspects of the properties they are proposed on, such as traffic issues and tax impacts.

Despite her colleagues’ reservations, Ms. Throne-Holst said that she will introduce either a resolution for a moratorium on PDD projects as soon as October 12, or a public notice for a hearing to repeal the current law as early as October 26, so that the town can work on amendments for new and improved legislation.

“I haven’t decided exactly in what form to do it,” she said, noting both measures have their advantages.

Developers React

One developer of a PDD that is currently in the works, Gregg Rechler, has interpreted Ms. Throne-Holst’s call for a moratorium at least to mean that she is no longer interested in negotiating a deal on his property, the Canoe Place Inn in Hampton Bays.

A deal was on the table to consider preserving the structure in exchange for the town allowing Mr. Rechler to build 40 condominiums in a PDD on the east side of the Shinnecock Canal. But this week, he confirmed that he has obtained a demolition permit application for the structure, a building with a historic pedigree that many in the hamlet have fought hard to save.

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Fleming, Graboski, Nuzzi and Malone insist that they do not need a moratorium because they already have the power to simply refuse any PDD - OK, then in a show of good faith, why not just say no to the most egregious of all PDD-land-grab abuses and deny the Tuckahoe Mall rezoning?

The reason we need to abolish the PDD is because we cannot trust our elected officials to act in the community's best interest even when the community speaks in one loud, unified, and determined voice.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Oct 7, 10 2:26 PM
Have we ever seen Supervisor Anna and Sarah Pallin in the same room???
By egv44 (5), Southampton on Oct 7, 10 2:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
just tell me are you out of your mind?
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Oct 7, 10 5:51 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By dylan32 (64), east hampton on Oct 7, 10 2:48 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By uncleronk (136), southold on Oct 7, 10 2:58 PM
It is as obvious as the nose on my face that ATH is simply trying to remove PDD's to reduce the need for leadership on the town board. The sign of a real leader is the ability to say NO. Plain and simple say no and deal with the lawsuits and other distractions deveolpers can through at the town. Leadership decides what applications will fit our community. For those of you who repeatedly hold the point of view that the people we DEMORCATICALLY elect to make these decisions are never trust worthy ...more
By Bob Schepps (77), Southampton on Oct 7, 10 8:04 PM
Respectfully, the exact opposite is true - the more we question their motives, the more we scrutinize, the more we demand, the better our government becomes. The PDD process has been abused for so long that it is time to do away with it as a tool for over-development. Enough is enough.
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Oct 7, 10 8:28 PM
to joe hampton-please learn to spell southampton correctly
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Oct 8, 10 5:13 AM
2 members liked this comment
If it means that much to the spelling police I will try to slow down for you. I am posting on the fly most of the time from my blackberry ( is that 2 words or one) What does it matter we are talking about issues. Southampton Water Mill happy . Now stop wasting more of my valuable time.
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Oct 8, 10 12:36 PM
To EstEnd68 - You could have at least spelled it correctly yourself, being that you were critiquing his spelling! Southampton. Notice the capital S used in the spelling of proper nouns.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Oct 12, 10 12:19 AM
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Ice nice one lol
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Oct 12, 10 1:12 PM
The problem in the past is that alot of PDD's have gone through that shouldnt have, so the leadership that should have been exercised by the enitre Town Board has been missing. SO whileit is true the board has the power not to accept the application, the board does not have a good track record of fulfilling the communities concerns regarding them. ATH shot over the bow I think is well intended and the board should accept it so that they can straighten out their thinking before another one goes through ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Oct 8, 10 6:41 AM
Hey progressnow you are not getting my point. We should be engaged and scrtinize and question their motives HOWEVER it should not start with an all these currupt politicains (and by the way the spelling thing is getting a little old, suggest we get spell check on the blog) with their hands out for payolla. It actually disengages us for real conversation. Leave the conspericy (spell check) theriores (spell check) for the movies.
So quoting you progessnow "Respectfully" we can attract real leaders ...more
By Bob Schepps (77), Southampton on Oct 8, 10 12:24 PM
I understand America just fine, thank you, and I still disagree with your premise. Firstly, I don't see anything in the article talking about corruption, nor do I see any post here mentioning corruption or conspiracy theories. What I see is a completely valid lack of trust in our elected officials.

Some of them have indeed taken substantial contributions from developers with projects in the pipeline and the effect of those contributions on the respective politician should be questioned. ...more
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Oct 8, 10 2:05 PM
Hundreds did you see them all there were hundreds hundreds maybe millions. I don't think so.
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Oct 10, 10 9:09 AM
Drama Queen
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Oct 10, 10 9:09 AM
Joe hampton never has a single, productive thing to add to any conversation. He only attacks and calls names. By the way, it IS hundreds. Do you read the newspapers, do you attend CAC and board meetings? You can insult women with your misogynist name-calling ,but all it proves is how ignorant you truly are. You want to know the real tyranny we face in this country? Tea party ditto heads filled with hate and bigotry.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 10, 10 11:52 AM
Yes I do attend from this chair every week thanks to Sea TV. Because I don't think I could tolerate Mary Jean Green and Miss Conrad In person.So when they are up I go and get some Cheeto's. Carl Iaocone " FLANDERS" Is my favorite. How come you get to call me a bigot and their is no censorship of that? Oh maybe left wing media double standard..... lollllllllllllllll
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Oct 10, 10 11:39 PM
2 members liked this comment
Why is it on yet another serious issue Madam Supervisor "surprises" her fellow board mates and subsequently does not have consensus. It reflects a continous lack of genuine leadership - the kind you don't get in headlines and glam shots - and the seriousness these issues demand no matter which side you are on
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Oct 8, 10 12:33 PM
All right, board members, let's hear you say no. Don't just tell us you are allowed to say no, actually do it!
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 8, 10 3:30 PM
An interesting, if occasionally indecipherable, exchange (courtesy of numerous grammar/spelling errors). Those "guilty" parties: remember the goal is clarity of thought and expression. Re PDDs: since the inception of this particular so-called "planning" tool, not one has been denied by a sitting Town Board. Enough said. Re "mob rule," as pronounced by one Bob Schepps: in this ongoing PDD discussion it is Vox Populi, guaranteed under the Constitution as a fundamental underpinning of our democratic ...more
By Rainfall (22), Hampton Bays on Oct 8, 10 5:30 PM

Well said, Rainfall!
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Oct 9, 10 12:09 PM
the exchange or voice of the people is guarnteed. I would rather promote an exchange than drive them behind closed doors. That's why I support keeping the PPD. It can be used as a tool to work for the Town. Our questions about the community benefits of any particular project can be debated. The example of the Tuckahoe Mall is a perfect example. There were those board members who actually believed that we wanted another supermarket enough to down zone 2/3 of the proposed project's residential property ...more
By Bob Schepps (77), Southampton on Oct 9, 10 12:48 PM
Why does the title of this article suggest that 27East is conducting an opinion poll?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Oct 9, 10 6:15 PM
That's a good picture of her. She's pretty hot for a supervisor.
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Oct 9, 10 8:42 PM
I agree she is attractive. She does not seem to go out of her way to hide the fact that she is a woman. Thats why some don't like her from the start. I think she tries very hard and I may not alway agree with her but there is no hiding her professionalism and intelligence
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Oct 10, 10 9:14 AM
Once again, joe hampton proves that he is a misogynist bigot with nothing to add but ignorance and hate.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 10, 10 11:54 AM
... two totally offensive posts. How could you let these slip through the cracks, Mr. Editor.? "... hide the fact that she is a woman" are you kidding me?
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Oct 10, 10 10:20 AM
1 member liked this comment
You see, you people cant deal with reality. Shes attractive, are we not supposed to notice that. I admire that she is a strong intelligent leader. It is also refreshing that she is not afraid to grow her hair longer than a sailor. I think she is quite a lady. What the H was offensive about that Mr PC. Your welcome Anna ;)
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Oct 10, 10 6:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
People are missing the point by fixating on the notion that the Town Board already has discretion to deny PDD status in any case, so why declare a moratorium? Maybe, they say, a moratorium isn't even technically correct for that reason. This approach ignores Anna Throne-Holst's idea that, regardless of the technical aspects of the matter, declaring a moratorium on PDDs will send a message to the people that the Board is listening to them, and also to developers that they shouldn't waste time and ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 11, 10 8:42 PM
Why are you leaving Bridgett Fleming out of the "development-friendly faction"? She also stated that she does not feel a moratorium is needed - she is quoted as saying so.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Oct 11, 10 9:01 PM
Well, for openers, Bridget Fleming is the only member of the Town Board who did not receive any campaign contribution from Tuckahoe Main Street developer Bob Morrow, and Mr. Morrow is no fool, whatever else he may be. Also, Bridget Fleming twice cast the sole vote to close the door on the proposed Serenity Estates project in Speonk rather than prolong the process when the community has repeatedly made its opposition clear and the environmental evidence is damning. Anyone who has followed the Town ...more
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on Oct 11, 10 10:11 PM
Thanks, Fidelis, those are all valid points, and I'd forgotten about the Morrow donations. What I had in mind, additionally, was that Ms. Fleming was a highly engaged participant in the discussion about tightening up the community benefit language in the PDD rules, and the whole thrust of that discussion was such that "development-friendly" is the last term you'd apply to Bridget Fleming.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 11, 10 10:29 PM
I have not heard Ms. Fleming exercise her power to say no, and until she does, she stands with those with whom she agrees.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Oct 12, 10 10:36 AM
Wrong. She said no twice, on Serenity Estates, and was the only one to say it. Check it out.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 12, 10 12:03 PM
Town boarders are hollering about their right to say no to a PDD, but in fact they've never said no to a PDD. Kind of makes you think a moratorium might be a good idea.
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Oct 12, 10 9:29 AM
It seems that the public will not get the chance to be heard on the subject of a moratorium as a resolution to hold a public hearing on the subject was voted down.
It is important that the current process of cleaning up the PDD legislation is closely scrutinized and that definitions and accountability are built in that can assure a true substantial public benefit.
By Brad (28), Northampton on Oct 12, 10 10:52 PM
Do you know how the individual members voted? Thanks
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Oct 13, 10 11:08 AM