As you may know from our e-mails, September and October were very busy months for Southampton Village boards and I again thank the many members of the Association who came out in support of our activities. A 53 foot high modern glass home was approved by the Village’s Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation at 40 Meadow Lane. From the outset, this project has been another poster-child (unfortunately, there have been many throughout the Village) for a process that is no longer protecting neighboring properties nor applying the Village code in the manner intended. We are working to rectify the process as our number one priority. With our initiative and prodding (and after significant interference and delays) the Trustees enacted a 6 month moratorium on designs rising more than 35 feet in the FEMA flood zone. Furthermore, they requested the Village Planning Commission and Nelson, Pope and Voorhis (the Village’s engineering consultants) to review certain zoning issues in our Village. While we are disappointed with the many incompatible and oversized homes which have sprung up throughout our Village, we will continue to working strenuously to rectify the process as quickly as possible. We ask any member who is interested in participating in the process to attend the upcoming Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, December 4 at 5 pm in Village Hall. The Commission will be considering initial feedback from the consultants and requesting comments from residents.
As a result of the Moratorium (which outlined a method for applicants to gain a waiver), several projects are slated to come in front of the Trustees during November and December. We hope they will take seriously the potential damage that approving an application could have prior to receiving zoning recommendations from the Planning Commission. The moratorium specifically states that each applicant for exemption shall meet three conditions; show undue hardship to the applicant which is substantially greater than any harm to the general public; clearly show that the exemption if approved will have no adverse effect on the goals or objectives in adopting the moratorium; and show that the project is “in harmony with the existing character of the Village as a whole and the area of the Village in which the lot is located. . . ”
We have also requested the Trustees ensure that our boards represent a broader cross-section of our community. Currently, most of our zoning boards have a heavy weighting of members involved in the real estate industry. While this segment should be represented for their expertise, greater diversity of viewpoint is needed. We are seeking Association and community members who have an interest in being considered for the one of the Village’s boards. Please contact us if you would be willing to serve your Village in this capacity. We are facing many challenges, and your help could be critical.
In October, Village voters approved a bond issue for a new ambulance facility on Windmill Lane, next to the Police Department. The cost is expected to be in the $5.5 million range, although plans have yet to be finalized. This is an important service for our community, as they respond to over 700 calls a year at an average response time of just 4 minutes. The new facility will enable them to continue to provide this community service in a professional manner.
Finally, just last week, Southampton school district voters narrowly defeated a second straw poll to merge with the Tuckahoe school district. The Association reached out to the Southampton School Board to discuss the merger. At a meeting with school officials on September 20th, we provided numerous suggestions to help gain support from the broader community. Unfortunately, the board chose not to consider any revisions. We will continue to report to you on further developments.
November 28, 2014