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Sep 30, 2009 4:12 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Town housing officials walk out of civics meeting in East Quogue

Sep 30, 2009 4:12 PM

Three Southampton Town Housing Authority officials walked out of Tuesday night’s East Quogue Civic Association meeting in frustration after facing overwhelming opposition to their plan to build a pair of affordable rental homes in the hamlet.

“This is going to endanger the neighborhood,” said East Quogue Civic Association President Al Algieri during the nearly two-hour meeting that attracted approximately 50 people to the East Quogue Elementary School.

He was referring to a plan presented by the town to build two renter-occupied affordable homes on a 1-acre lot located off Jones Road. Suffolk County gave the town the land several years ago, stipulating that it must be used for the construction of affordable homes.

Louise Stalzer, the chairwoman of the Southampton Town Housing Authority, said Tuesday that she initially thought that the project, which she and other officials had spent a lot of time and effort on, would work in the hamlet.

“We really feel we can manage it well,” she said before exiting the meeting about 20 minutes early.

Bonnie Cannon, the volunteer chairwoman of the town’s Housing Authority Board, also appeared flustered by the vocal opposition of residents.

“I am not happy, because people have worked very hard,” Ms. Cannon said just prior to exiting the meeting. “We’ve gone with the direction we were given by the Town Board.”

The proposal, which calls for the construction of two rental houses, each with an accessory rental apartment, was originally scheduled to go before the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday, October 1. After Tuesday’s meeting, housing authority members decided to postpone the presentation of the application to allow further discussion.

The property was originally seized by Suffolk County due to non-payment of taxes before being deeded to the town in 2003. The Southampton Town Planning Board had already approved plans to subdivide the land into two half-acre lots, and build a 1,500-square-foot rental home on each property. The affordable housing project also requires a variance from the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals to build the two 700-square-foot accessory apartments.

Many of those in attendance Tuesday night said they were against the proposal, adding that they would rather see the town build owner-occupied affordable homes in that section of East Quogue. Many said they were not against affordable housing per se; rather, they said that rental housing does not work when it is built on scattered sites. Some said such construction might work better in downtown areas, namely in apartments that are attached to or built above commercial buildings.

Those who spoke cited fears that renters would not be as invested in maintaining the homes, while others argued that the town would have little oversight over its tenants.

“We have more than our share of rental properties,” said Brad Bender, the president of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association. “I don’t believe that the town should be in the business of renting houses.”

Mr. Bender, who lives in Flanders, also opposes the town’s plans to build about a dozen rental homes, also slated for affordable housing, in his hometown.

Another complaint expressed at Tuesday’s meeting was that the collective interests of certain communities, namely Flanders and East Quogue, were not adequately represented in town government.

“I would like to see communities west of the canal added,” said East Quogue resident Bob Kandell.

Of those in attendance Tuesday night, about a half dozen said they were particularly concerned about the project because they live on Jones Road.

“In my view, it’s unlike anything in the neighborhood,” said Jones Road resident Kurt Heino.

Mr. Algieri argued that the proposal was never opened for discussion, even though it has already been signed off by the Planning Board. Ms. Stalzer said that was an inaccurate statement, noting that three public hearings were held on the proposal and her department had gone through all of the appropriate channels.

Ms. Stalzer, Ms. Cannon and Housing Authority Development Committee Chairman Vince Taldone repeatedly defended their actions and explained that they had been working within the parameters that they were given by the Town Board. Ms. Cannon’s and Mr. Taldone’s positions are volunteer, while Ms. Stalzer is a paid town employee.

On Tuesday, Ms. Stalzer said the town has the tools necessary to manage tenants of rental homes and apartments. “We really do have a lot of ways we can manage that apartment,” she said.

Town Board member Anna Throne-Holst, who is running for town supervisor, defended the housing authority employees, explaining that they were all hard-working individuals who believe that they were doing what is best for the community.

“They were handed these properties and it was said ‘Do something with them,’” Ms. Throne-Holst said.

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LK vs. ATH campaign move IMO.

Time will tell.

PBR
By PBR (4863), Southampton on Sep 30, 09 4:15 PM
The Housing Authority has been in existence since 2002 and has received neither money nor direction from the town board. Several volunteer chairs have quit in disgust since then. There is one section 8 apartment complex in Hampton Bays, managed by the Housing Authority.
Here it is 2009. Little discussion about affordable housing (owner occupied or rental) has taken place, except during election season. The citizens need to have a discussion about affordable housing and be able to provide ideas.
The ...more
By Bob Whyte (48), Hampton Bays on Sep 30, 09 4:31 PM
2 members liked this comment
Tell LTH to build rental homes in her hometown
By eastquogueguy (22), East Quogue on Sep 30, 09 4:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
Screaming and shouting down Town officials who are trying to actually solve a problem ain't the way to go ... hopefully, the housing officials will hold firm and have the courage to go forward and not be bullied by these prejudice, bigoted loud-mouths who opposed anything and everything .... leave the electeds out of this or they will put tail between legs and run ....
By JimmyKBond (152), Hampton Bays on Oct 1, 09 2:40 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By kheino (1), east quogue on Oct 2, 09 8:08 PM
NIMBY-ism.

Bob Whyte, please explain how the Town ZBA has anything to do with this.
By Frank Wheeler (1795), Northampton on Sep 30, 09 5:03 PM
Why do people keep fighting affordable housing? These are not skyscraper housing projects with barbed wire fences, they are meant to be homes for people who live and work here, homes for people who contribute in many ways. What happens when working people cannot find affordable housing? They leave. What happens when they leave? Businesses close. We have shortages of firemen, police, nurses, teachers, low wage and manual laborers (the housing is for citizens so don't starts screaming about ...more
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Sep 30, 09 5:11 PM
The town built 11 "affordable" units in Bridgehampton and had a lottery to see who would get them. Only one Bridgehampton resident qualified, the rest of the units were given to outsiders - people form outside the town.

This didn't help Bridgehampton at all and only increased its density, traffic, and demand for services, both public and private. Real affordable housing would assist people who already live here and struggle to survive.

The ZBA is necessary because the town has ...more
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Sep 30, 09 5:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
Can you provide actual proof of your accusation? And those people who live there, they are nothing more than bodies that increase density, traffic and demand for services? They don't work? They don't shop at the local grocery store? They don't pay mortgages? (affordable housing is not FREE you have to pay) They don't coach little league? They don't do volunteer work? They don't pick up litter? They don't eat at local restaurants? They don't put gas in their cars? They don't join the PTO? ...more
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 1, 09 9:40 AM
3 members liked this comment
Nice rant. You completely avoided the issue of overstressed infrastructure - traffic, fire, police, and so on. In the meantime there are far too many people already living in Bridgehampton who could use real assistance but either make too little (or too much!) to qualify for "affordable" housing in their own community.
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Oct 1, 09 6:05 PM
You are completely misrepresenting the issue. Take a look at Tuffy's rebuttal to your assertions. The housing is for people who live in the community first.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Oct 2, 09 9:09 AM
We have a huge need for affordable rental housing all over this town. If it is possible to build a few fresh, new and well insulated apartments in Flanders - go for it! Ignore the NIMBY's.

Decent, hardworking people are having a rough time finding safe housing they can afford on their paychecks. They are forced to jump from house to house each year as the affordable ones always seem to have problems such as poor insulation and leaky windows that cause sky high heating bills.

I ...more
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Sep 30, 09 5:15 PM
2 members liked this comment
When was the last time Algieri was actually "for" something?
By William Rodney (490), southampton on Sep 30, 09 9:05 PM
Affordable housing or workforce housing??? The town can call it whatever they want...it is not what they say it is! It is slum landlord rentals and this town council and the task force and the people working on these projects (get the pun--"PROJECTS")....are nothing more than busy work for those elected...
When I voted for the town board I NEVER Voted for them or anyone associtated with the town to become LANDLORDS!
They can cry all they want on how "hard they worked"...but, the fact remains...they ...more
By UNITED states CITIZEN (207), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 1, 09 6:03 AM
The nurse is here. It's time for your medication.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 1, 09 9:35 AM
I am not for it at all. No one helped my wife and I who worked two jobs eah for years to save for our house. It falls on deaf ears when people say they cant afford to live here, you can, you just have to work for it. I dont think that the town should be wasting its resources in this area except for those who are disabled or handicapped in some way. You have to decide what is a priority in your life and work for it no more subsidies.
By North Sea Citizen (482), North Sea on Oct 1, 09 6:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
Think about what you're saying, "no one helped me so to hell with everyone else!" Is that really the message you want to send? Think about it. Seriously. Real estate prices are completely out of reach. It is no longer a matter of "working for it" We are talking about working people. In order to qualify for affordable housing you have to have a job. You have to be able to qualify for a mortgage. This is not a "government give away" The complete and total lack of caring of people like you ...more
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Oct 1, 09 9:34 AM
3 members liked this comment
This is nonsense -- of course the cost of housing is prohibitively high and many hard-working, two and three job families still can't save enough money nor afford the cost of mortgages needed to buy these Hampton homes -- so it ain't all about 'pulling yourself up' by the bootstraps, friend.

Affordable housing is needed for volunteer firefighters, our public safety workers and most of the folks who are taking care of your yard, shoveling your snow, cleaning your streets. It's time we understood ...more
By JimmyKBond (152), Hampton Bays on Oct 1, 09 2:36 PM
2 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By kheino (1), east quogue on Oct 2, 09 8:10 PM
I don't understand why people are so against this! Affordable housing is desperately needed ot here. I am 21 and grew up in East Quogue my whole life. I have always worked and always paid for everything myself. I've been living on my own since last summer, but affording a decent appartment out here is impossible. Thank god a friend found me a really nice place in East Moriches, but had it not been for him I would've been screwed.

It's not fair that young people around my age who work ...more
By Jessica713 (20), Easy Quogue on Oct 1, 09 7:47 AM
4 members liked this comment
Jessica, you are completely correct. What you have to remember is that there are a lot of bitter, fearful, people out here who do not think of the world beyond their own front yards. Put quite simply, they don't care about you.

So what caring residents need to do is go to Town Board meetings, write the trustees and speak up as eloquently as you have done here. Don't let the ignorant win simply because they can yell louder.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Oct 1, 09 9:46 AM
2 members liked this comment
Come to Hampton West Estates near Gabreski. 161 housing units, 70% owner occupied, 30% rentals. Of those rentals, about 12 are Section 8 - of those 12, there are 8 that are well run by their owners and 4 that are poorly maintained. They stand out like sore thumbs. There are a handfull of non-Section 8 rentals that are margainally maintaned, you'll also spot them right away. these are absentee owners making a lot of money and not putting a dime back into the neighborhood. Affordable Owner Occupied ...more
By North of Highway (279), Westhampton Beach on Oct 1, 09 9:27 AM
1 member liked this comment
to Noah Way - the bridgehampton affordables went to town residents (Sag Harbor, North Sea, Bridgehampton, Hampton Bays), except for one unit that was open to out of southampton town (but was still purchased by a rsident i believe). 1 unit was specifically set aside for bridgehampton residents, but only 2 applications were put in from BH. only about 150 even applied for the program in the first place, and the lottery was held with about 75 names that qualified (income, credit, residency etc.) Perhaps ...more
By tuffy (4), Bridgehampton on Oct 1, 09 9:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
Empty desks at the school are not a reason to build housing. That is only a reason to do something about the quality of educational at the school.

Once again, the infrastructure issues I raised are ignored. As is the issue of people in BH who could really use the help but for one reason or another did not qualify.
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Oct 1, 09 6:09 PM
You asked for it, so here's a point-by-point rebuttal:

Demand for Public Services (Police, Fire, Schools): These services are paid for by property taxes, and the Town receives property taxes for the properties on which the rental units sit. So these renters are just as entitled to these services as you or anyone else.

Increased Traffic: The REAL overcrowding issue is not year-round residents like the low-income renters; instead, it's the summer residents who overwhelm the area ...more
By CoweeDewey (110), East Quogue on Oct 2, 09 11:36 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well put, Cowee. Well put.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Oct 2, 09 11:42 AM
Ooooh, a point by point rebuttal of points never mentioned! And touchy, too. Blame those summer people – they did it. Its not rapacious developers and their town hall cronies (locals, I might add) who are responsible.

This is not about who is entitled to public services, who is to blame for traffic or the difference between rental and owner-occupied housing. It is about the simple truth: we are already overcrowded, and adding population will not help our infrastructure problems, it will ...more
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Oct 7, 09 6:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
Affordable housing is important. I dont think that is really debatable. But what seems noteworthy to me is that politicians like ATH always want to put affordable housing projects West of the canal, and definitely NOT in their own neighborhoods. At the meeting ATH tried to get folks to relate to her by saying she cant afford to own a home in town, and that she is a "renter". Really? She failed to mention she rents a house on one of the best beaches EAST of the canal, at a rental cost that is probably ...more
By foxnfowl (17), Southampton on Oct 1, 09 10:09 AM
I do agree that it is ludicrous of Ms. Throne Holst to try and make an example of herself giving the truth of her finances, but this is not about her. This is about people who truly need the ehlp.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Oct 1, 09 10:30 AM
Agree with dagdavid, fcmcmann, tuffy, jessica713, yearrounder. It's good to hear from caring people like you. You'd think we're were building high rise apts for christmas sake. These units are not outside community norms.
By number19 (107), Westhampton on Oct 1, 09 11:46 AM
Two affordable rental homes? Two, everyone not 22. I knew there was opposition to "affordable housing" but I never realized that it was at this level.
By rabbit (65), watermill on Oct 1, 09 2:14 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By kheino (1), east quogue on Oct 2, 09 8:11 PM
You can drive down most streest in Flanders and you can tell which houses are rentals and which are not - Try it, you'll see what I mean. And it looks to me like they want to put these Flanders rentals in the Pine Barrens. Where's Bambi going to live?
By darwin (47), southampton on Oct 1, 09 3:33 PM
peoplefirst
You said the affordable house issue is not about Throne-Holst, but she was the one who brought herself into the mix when she said "she is renter and cannot afford to buy a house in SH Town.
As foxnfowl pointed out ATH cannot relate to low income people not when she rents a house on the beach east of the canal and has almost a quarter million dollars in the bank.
ATH wants affordable housing but not in her backyard.
By golfbuddy (180), hampton bays on Oct 1, 09 7:31 PM
As I said, I agreed that her analogy to her own life was ludicrous, but hat does not mean that this issue is about her. It is not. It is about providing housing for teachers, policemen, firemen, restaurant workers, newlyweds, etc.

I have read a number of your comments and the fact is that you will use any topic as a way to attack Democrats. It is just a distraction from real issues facing every day people.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Oct 2, 09 8:50 AM
I agree real estate prices are out of whack as you are competing with New York City salaries, where they make more and buy vacation homes. This is what drives the prices out here. At the moment there is a break in the action with price declines. Yes its expensive, but you have a choice. If you work hard enough there are many homes for sale in the Hamptons Bays area. FHA allows 5% down all you have to do is save for the down payment then essentially for a little more than current rents, you own something. ...more
By North Sea Citizen (482), North Sea on Oct 2, 09 7:15 AM
My parents bought their first home in the early sixties for about $14,000.00 - they needed a mortgage to do it, but it was still within the realm of reality. A $500,000.00 home is NOT affordable for middle class workers. Putting down $65,000.00 is not within reach. The prices simply do not equate.

Many people try to make this about "working hard". As if people who qualify for affordable housing are just lazy. This anti-government sentiment running through this country and this county ...more
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Oct 2, 09 8:57 AM
The people I know who need affordable housing are the office workers, salespeople, receptionists and tradespeople who each of us encounter numerous times every day. They go to work each day looking neat and professional, so to look at them, no one would guess how close to the line some of them are living. Many are single parents after a marriage went sour and need decent housing for the kids they are responsible for, or to be able to pay child support as well as rent.

Saving to buy something ...more
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Oct 2, 09 12:15 PM
3 members liked this comment
I agree, Goldenrod. It is not charity. It is not welfare. It is not a government handout. This is about community and helping those who need a hand.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Oct 2, 09 1:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
Cut the way too high Section 8 giveaway of up to $2,000+ a month;
All it has done is drive up the cost of rental properties and has established an artificial floor. Once you do that there will be either suitable good rentals around at affordable prices or lower priced housing stock for sale. Section 8 is a landlord subsidy, not so much a renters subsidy.
By North of Highway (279), Westhampton Beach on Oct 2, 09 2:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
I like this idea. North of the Highway. I would love to see it discussed more. Unfortunately, many politically "privelaged" residents are absentee landlords (and some of them you might consider slumlords.) Plus, I haven't toiled this idea enough to come up with the downside of lowering the maximum monthly allowance to landlords, but I'm sure someone will point it out to us.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Oct 2, 09 8:10 PM
Wow, talk about a neighborhood of snobs. "There's no *whisper*.. POOR people in The Hamptons! We don't want any of thooooose people living near us!"

The average, blue collar hard working family can't afford to buy a house out here, no way. Even an average 2 bedroom rental is 2,500 a month. Just because you can't afford to shell out 650 thousand and more on a home doesn't mean you some poor dirt trash who will deplete the value of any neighborhood you move into. East Quogue Civic Association ...more
By RubyBaby (28), East Hampton on Oct 2, 09 4:04 PM
1 member liked this comment
You should do some investigation before you open your mouth. That may be what it costs you in your neighborhood that isn't here. I live on this block we bought our house originally for $272,000.00 the two neighboring houses were sold for around the mid $300,000.00 about 6 years ago. Non of us said anything against affordable housing!. It is about how the town went about this. They have lied to us on every step of this process and have subverted their own rules to push this project through. You couldn't ...more
By kheino (1), east quogue on Oct 2, 09 8:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well stated kheino.
By UNITED states CITIZEN (207), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 3, 09 5:38 PM
Let me know if you ever plan on moving so I can make sure your new home is not in my backyard
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Oct 4, 09 5:31 PM
Well, at least you've got the support of united states citizen. HAH!
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 4, 09 5:32 PM
There are in my neck of the woods Section 8 recipients who are very hard working and take pride in their homes and either maintain them themselves or have good landlords who do the right thing. There are also some landlords, a few big local real estate names, who do not. The Section 8 program is not administered in a proper manner by Southampton Town as they cannot even tell you how many Section 8 recipients there are in the Town - and by law they don't have to. The whole program hides behind a ...more
By North of Highway (279), Westhampton Beach on Oct 5, 09 10:57 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By MaryMac (43), Riverhead on Oct 9, 09 11:22 AM
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