After working strenuously (and with the assistance of many members of the Association) over the past 5 months to have a building moratorium approved, we were disappointed that 4 projects were granted waivers from the new law by mid-January. The moratorium restricted for just 6 months the granting of building permits where the height of the house is greater than 35 feet above the original grade in the FEMA Flood zone. Three of the four waivers were opposed by neighbors, and hardship (other than a 3 to 4 month delay for the applicant) was not demonstrated as required by the law. In the interim, the Planning Commission is studying the FEMA regulations and will be making recommendations to the Trustees soon. Most other East End communities restrict houses in the flood zone to a maximum height of between 40 to 42 feet above sea level. The house at 40 Meadow Lane that sparked this issue will top out at approximately 53 feet above sea level! We are urging the Trustees and the Planning Commission to change our laws in line with surrounding communities. Please note: the next Planning Commission meeting is Friday, February 27th, Village Hall, 5:00 pm.
Trustee Hattrick proposed adopting the East Hampton Village Code (including their sections on FEMA regulations) rather than a piecemeal review of the Southampton Village Code. In most zoning categories, our Village is significantly more generous than surrounding communities. Bill is even more concerned by what is going on outside of the FEMA flood zones, for example along Moses Lane, Corrigan, Lewis and Wooley Streets (among many others) where oversized houses are changing the character of the Village. Ann Pyne has also spoken at many meetings, highlighting how the Village’s code is not being enforced by the boards. We strongly agree. Our boards do not have a cross section of residents as members – far too many have close (or direct) ties with the real estate industry. This creates a conflict of interest, which needs to be addressed by the Trustees. We are seeking Association and community members who have an interest in being considered for one of the Village’s boards (especially the ARB and ZBA.) 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 crucial. Along those lines, we would like to thank Alan McFarland for recently accepting a position on the Planning Board. The entire Association Board is most grateful!
In late December, the proposed Tuckahoe Mall resurfaced as a new change of zone application. On a number of levels, we oppose this project in its current location. The traffic on CR39 between the Sunoco station and P.C. Richards is already dangerous. A retail complex on the south side of the highway would increase traffic and funnel more cars and trucks onto residential Village side streets. Business would be drawn away from walkable village center and the precedent would be set to create a County Road 58 (Riverhead) shopping area adjacent to Southampton Village. The next meeting of the Southampton Town Board will be held at Town Hall (Hampton Road) on March 3, 2015 at 6:00 pm. Please try and attend if you are in Southampton. If you are unable to attend, let your opinion on this be known by sending an email to Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst email@example.com and copy Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer, firstname.lastname@example.org, noting that your comments should be put on the record.
In the interim, enjoy the snow!
February 18, 2015