At the March and April Trustees meetings, the main issue continued to be the application to develop a 56 unit senior housing complex on Moses Lane, near Corrigan Street. The 11 acre property is currently zoned for ½ acre residential parcels. The developer applied under a code provision that allows for a zoning change where the property lies within a “walkable” distance of the village center (defined as ½ mile from the village business district.) At the April 22nd Trustee meeting, the application was rejected as only a small portion of the property met the ½ mile standard.
With the opening of Citarella’s, the parking along Hampton Road was changed to angled parking. This will increase available parking by over 30 spaces. It will also slow traffic flow in the area, which could be beneficial. In other discussions, a private company has approached the Village about a Valet Parking service, which has alleviated parking problems in other communities. The Village is reviewing the concept.
The Southampton Village Architectural Review Board (ARB) continued to debate an application from Farrell Builders to construct a large home on a flag lot in the historic district (483 Hill Street.) Although the house is clearly out of scale and of incompatible design with its historic neighbors (and the code permitted the board to reject the application on several grounds), the board eventually approved the application on May 14th. We are disappointed in both the ARB and the Trustees for allowing another neighborhood to be destroyed by an incompatible McMansion.
At the Planning Commission, detailed plans for a business district sewer system were unveiled. The system would cover 155 parcels in the Village business district and would likely cost $25 to $30 million. It would be funded through a bond issue and possibly from state/federal government funding. Taxes would increase for the 155 business property owners to cover the interest and repayment of the bond, if approved.
SHA member Bruce Bockmann made a presentation to the Trustees on the unfortunate effects of FEMA flood plain regulations, which are raising the heights of houses above previous levels and creating severe drainage and runoff problems in certain neighborhoods. Houses being built in the flood plain are required to bring in fill to raise the first floor to acceptable FEMA levels. Our zoning is being interpreted to allow a 35 foot house on top of the adjusted grade. Zoning in other East End villages typically does not allow the total height to exceed 35 feet above the original grade. The Trustees acknowledged a problem and referred the issue to the Building Department and the Planning Commission.
Lastly, at our schools, the budgets were approved and the merger discussions appear to be continuing with support from Albany. We are pushing to stay involved.
May 21, 2014