The main topics of conversation throughout the Village during the First Quarter of 2017 primarily concerned the public hearings regarding the Tuckahoe Mall and the continued discussion (including delay and watering down) of enacting any additional residential zoning restrictions. The 24 condo development at the Village Latch continues to move forward while more details regarding the use of community preservation funds to purchase the Pyrrhus Concer site on Pond Lane have come to light.
On Tuesday, January 24th at 6pm, the Southampton Town Board held an open public comment session on the Tuckahoe shopping mall. There was overwhelming community opposition, citing concerns of safety, environmental impact and lack of real need for the project. The Southampton Town Board could not ignore the arguments or the numbers any longer. They signaled at the meeting and afterwards in the press that the project did not have support. In response, the applicant withdrew the application earlier this month. The Association has communicated with the town board a desire to work with all parties to come up with an alternative use for the site.
Discussions continued regarding zoning revisions in the village, with disappointing progress. The recommendations made by the village’s independent consultants, including minimal reductions in GFA, increasing side yard set-backs and requirements for more green space, were vehemently opposed by development interests. Even with these changes, Southampton would continue to be significantly more generous on size and build out than East Hampton Village. At the March trustees meeting, development interests ambushed the board, presenting one-sided statistics to show that the proposed changes would unfairly harm a large number of lots. Without discussing the matter with the Village’s independent consultants or verifying the information presented, the proposed law was significantly narrowed – then subsequently approved. Sadly, residents of the village clearly do not get the protections that spec builders and developers do. We will continue to fight for zoning that helps maintain both the charm of our village and its ecological health.
At our local schools, the Association provided financial support for a lawsuit filed by the Southampton Press against the Southampton School District for rejecting a FOIL request. We are seeking information concerning the termination of the district’s previous superintendent (with a $300K package)! The judge in the case has determined that he will now read the requested FOIL information and determine if it should be released to the public in some form. We continue to believe that the public has a right to know how district funds are being spent (or wasted)!
On a sad note, the Association lost 2 board members in the past month. Jody Donohue (our Executive Vice President) and Todd Goodwin (long time board member) passed away. Their wisdom and generosity will be greatly missed by the entire Southampton Community. School and Village Elections coming up. E-mails to follow!
April 30, 2017