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Oct 5, 2016 11:22 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Supervisor Pitches New Housing Division

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman with his proposed 2017 budget.  JEN NEWMAN
Oct 5, 2016 11:42 AM

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman has proposed creating a new division within the Department of Land Management—and taking many affordable housing responsibilities away from the Southampton Housing Authority.

The 2017 budget proposes to establish an Office of Housing and Community Development, and to create a new position: a director of housing to oversee the new division.

“It was never clear what responsibilities the Housing Authority was supposed to have,” Mr. Schneiderman said this week. “Basically, [the new office] is our liaison for the Town Board and Planning Department to the Housing Authority. We’ll get involved with the creation of new housing as well.”

Mr. Schneiderman said the new Office of Housing and Community Development would oversee applications for affordable housing, manage the community housing opportunities fund, administer grants for community housing, maintain a housing registry, enforce the eligibility requirements for sales and rentals of affordable units, and manage the lottery programs that award affordable housing opportunities to residents—as well as helping to develop and administer an accessory apartment program, which would allow property owners more ability to create apartments to rent.

“Young people, tradesmen, school and hospital employees, service personnel, and in many cases town employees, can no longer afford to live in the community in which they work,” Mr. Schneiderman wrote in his budget proposal. “This situation places an unfair burden on more affordable communities in the town and increases traffic congestion as employees commute farther distances to work.”

Mr. Schneiderman said another reason for creating the new office was his dissatisfaction with the Housing Authority’s handling of past lottery drawings—the selection process used for affordable units and homes.

“I was pretty critical of the last lottery they did,” the supervisor said, referring to three affordable homes recently built on Bailey Road in Southampton Village. For the three affordable houses priced at $306,000, a $50,000 grant from the town Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund was attached to each house—lowering the cost to $256,000 per applicant. However, Mr. Schneiderman said he was unhappy with the number of applicants for the properties.

“How do you only have [a handful] of people competing for three houses that are worth a million and a half dollars each being sold for, like, $300,000?” he said. “There should have been hundreds of people lining up for that. That’s one of the reasons why I felt it needed more oversight and I wanted to bring it in-house.”

Curtis Highsmith, executive director of the Housing Authority, said there were originally approximately 15 applicants for the Bailey Road houses, which were winnowed down by eligibility requirements and, in some cases, a lack of interest, because the homes cannot be resold at market value.

“For a lot of people, you’re buying an investment of that value, so you want to tap into the equity of that home,” Mr. Highsmith said. “It concerned a lot of people. Mr. Schneiderman wasn’t that happy with the number and felt it should have been a larger number of people in the process—and that’s what we’re trying to do moving forward.

“If he wants to make sure the lottery is done in-house, that’s fine—I want to be concerned about building,” Mr. Highsmith said.

“We have an administrative contract to administer certain programs on behalf of the town, so whatever they want to do internally is their discretion,” he added. “We’re focused on affordable housing in the township. I don’t think of it as a slap in a face.”

Mr. Highsmith added that the Housing Authority hopes to extend its contract with the town for another three years, and that he is looking forward to working with the new office.

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What the Town needs is quality RENTAL communities! Enough with the condo developments that have a designated "affordable" portion with expiring restrictions. There is no avenue for young people to have the ability to stay in the area and save. Use some foresight!
By Mouthampton (419), Southampton on Oct 5, 16 2:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
This is complete over reach. There are plenty of $300,000 houses in Riverhead and RIverside. Run more busses from there to Easthampton if you're so concerned that the rich folk in Easthampton will need to cut their own hedges.
By dfree (743), hampton bays on Oct 5, 16 3:22 PM
Town-wide equitable distribution per hamlet. Reinforce the ownership model by utilizing the Fannie Mae HomeReady program that yields 2 for 1 in affordables (owner + accessory).
Apartments over Village Business areas. Identify and refurbish "zombie" homes.
This can be done.
By Craigcat (250), Speonk on Oct 5, 16 3:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
Oh, look. Jays picture is in the paper again!
By Draggerman (907), Southampton on Oct 5, 16 4:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
A new director to report to the reporter to the supervisor. Just realign the housing authority. Please no more political appointees with a do nothing job.
Jay, just fix the dam problem, afraid to hurt feelings???
Nice picture...
By knitter (1725), Southampton on Oct 5, 16 4:39 PM
Oh no could Curtis Highsmith and the non paying goverment medical insurance recipient Bonnie Cannon have their jobs on the chopping block? I hope so their arrogance is over the top.
By chief1 (2725), southampton on Oct 5, 16 5:10 PM
4 members liked this comment
what is the status of the paying back the insurance premiums paid on her behalf by the village. somehow these newsworthy items just disappear from the front lines
By xtiego (696), bridgehampton on Oct 5, 16 7:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
so what happened to the reimbursement plan for Cannon? know the village paid mucho bucks out but again this newsworthy item is ignored until another issue comes up. Has any monies been paid (except for the $100) toward this debt??
By xtiego (696), bridgehampton on Oct 5, 16 7:32 PM
The Town should not be in the Real Estate business !
By bigfresh (4381), north sea on Oct 5, 16 7:42 PM
Housing Authority getting eliminated - long overdue. Enough with this "affordable housing" nonsense. Affordable Housing is important but not when the initiatives effect the other values that are essential to east-end living.
By Sleeping Giant (20), Southampton on Oct 5, 16 7:53 PM
I believe the article said this will be a new position in addition to the already in place and rather abusive Housing Authority. It is an expansion of unnecessary government, not a realignment.
By bird (784), Sag Harbor on Oct 7, 16 11:49 AM
What political crony will be the head of this new department?
By HB90 (160), southampton on Oct 5, 16 8:19 PM
3 members liked this comment
IMO, the Town can't manage the projects they have now. This is totally a waste of taxpayer monies. Maybe if the Town Officials focused on getting rid of the greedy landlords that overcrowd their houses at the expense of the law-abiding resident, there would be more affordable housing. THE PUBLIC HEARING FOR THE BUDGET IS OCTOBER 25TH AT THE HAMPTON BAYS SENIOR CENTER. GO TO THE HEARING OR SEND EMAILS, LETTERS IN LIEU OF GOING.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Oct 6, 16 7:44 AM
2 members liked this comment
Mortgage payments would be more "affordable" if the taxes were under control. How about merge some east end school districts (why pay 3 superintendents and administrators that work within 10 miles of each other?) so the first 500-1000 dollars per month doesn't have to go to taxes. How about making it easier for someone to build a home rather than go through the expensive planning and building permit process.... just a thought.
By The Real World (363), southampton on Oct 6, 16 12:01 PM
The Hampton Bays school system is seriously underperforming Westhampton and Southampton academically. Why would anyone accept a merger? First fix the schools in Hampton Bays.
By dfree (743), hampton bays on Oct 6, 16 12:28 PM
Wow, 3 houses in how many years? The entire thing is a waste of taxpayer money. IIRC Mr. Highsmith was selling mortgages at HSBC before he somehow landed this job. No disrespect to Mr Highsmith, I wish I were so lucky. But it does call into question the qualifications to run such an undertaking. It has worked so well that the Southampton Business Alliance Housing Initiative had to start providing affordable housing on their own. They are also out there inspecting Section 8 in the Town.. a service ...more
By diy_guy (101), Southampton on Oct 6, 16 3:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
Where would Curtis work? Bonnie Cannon is being given a pass whil you idiots reading this are being gouged by Obama care. Me being included as one of the idiots.
By chief1 (2725), southampton on Oct 7, 16 12:02 AM
I dont understand why government feels the need to get into the building , rental and real estate business. If they want to help put laws in place that give incentive to landlords to rent to year rounders that show proof of residence and local jobs. Putting up more houses is the LAST thing anyone who lives here wants to see. Use your brain man!!!! You will never put up enough houses for all the people that need affordable housing..... Take a drive around.....The houses are already there!!!!! And ...more
By Hank1 (20), Sag Harbor on Oct 13, 16 8:41 PM
BTW the pic is BS and you know it. Youre staring at some lame ass map. Now put that down and start thinking for real.
By Hank1 (20), Sag Harbor on Oct 13, 16 8:42 PM
8k run & 3 mile walk, Agawam Park, Southampton Rotary Club fundraiser