I want to begin by thanking the many members of the Southampton Association and the community who attended numerous Village Trustee and ARB meetings over the past 2 months. Your support and input will hopefully be heard by our Trustees and Architectural Review Board (ARB) members. Our village is under attack through a process that may inadvertently enable certain new homes in the FEMA flood zone to be built 10 to 15 feet higher than they would be allowed in adjacent East End communities. In fact, the modern glass home that has been proposed at 40 Meadow Lane will top out at 53 feet above grade, while our code says the maximum height above grade should be 37 feet! We are hopeful that the ARB will reject these incompatible structures (which they have the power to do) as they will loom over their neighbors. The Trustees should enact the proposed 6 month moratorium ASAP to enable the Planning Commission to design a solution that respects both property rights of owners and their neighbors.
The ARB will be considering the applications for 40 Meadow Lane and 450 Gin Lane on Monday, September 22nd at 7:00pm. The following night (September 23rd), the Trustees will meet at 5:00pm to discuss the proposed moratorium, among other issues. According to the Village Trustees, the growing volume of building applications received in Southampton Village over the past 24 months has created a situation where the spirit (and terms) of our code are not being followed or enforced in all situations. Many Association members have been working with the Planning Commission to identify the lapses and consider improvements. We urge Association and community members to attend the Trustees meeting and request that they enact the moratorium as quickly as possible.
We have also requested the Trustees to ensure that our boards represent a broader section of our community. Currently, most of the boards have a heavy weighting of members involved in the real estate industry. While this segment should be represented for their expertise, diversity of viewpoint and impartiality is also important. If any Association or community members have an interest in being considered for the one of the Village’s boards in the future, please let us know so that we can pass it along to the Trustees. Our Village has many challenges facing it, and it is unfortunate that the Association is being forced to spend much of its efforts ensuring that our zoning codes and the intent of our Master Plan are being followed. In August, the Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance Corp. presented its plan for a new facility on Windmill Lane next to the Police Department. The cost is expected to be in the $5 million range; however, a new facility is clearly overdue. Residents will likely be asked to vote on the project and a bond proposal later this year.
The Trustees will also be considering a recommendation to select engineering and law firms to draft a formal proposal for a village business district septic system. We strongly support steps to protect our lakes, ponds, bays and water supply. We will continue to work with the village, and other groups including the Peconic Baykeeper, on this project and other initiatives to reduce nitrogen pollutants in our waters. Lastly, Tuckahoe and Southampton school districts have begun to prepare for a revote in November of the merger of the two districts. In the original proposal, the Board estimated savings of approximately $7 million. Under the revised merger budget, cost savings are expected to be slightly less than $4 million. We will report to you on further details as soon as they become available.
With so many upcoming issues, now is a great time to make sure you are registered to vote in Southampton. Go to our Website for more information.
September 15, 2014