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Jun 11, 2019 12:31 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Town Looks To Do A Property Swap In Tuckahoe

Southampton Town Board members are looking to preserve a 14-acre piece of land acquired in 1989 for affordable housing. GREG WEHNER
Jun 12, 2019 10:10 AM

Southampton Town officials are looking to swap the use of two town-owned properties in Tuckahoe, allowing one that is currently preserved as open space to be used for affordable housing instead, and the other, which was set aside for affordable housing, to be preserved as open space.

State legislation is required to do the swap because it involves the alienation of parkland—the state government must approve any move to deem parkland as eligible for another use.

The town acquired one property, consisting of 344 and 338 Magee Street, and known as the former Independent Group Home Living property, in 2017 using Community Preservation Fund money, with the intent of leaving the 6.3-acre parcel as open space. Now, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman is looking at the property as a site for affordable housing.

To allow for affordable housing on the property, the town needs to get rid of the parkland designation and switch it to the other town-owned property—a 14-acre property at 67 Sebonac Road.

“Through the years, people thought it was a nature preserve, and we’ve been trying to reconcile the fact that we took it to create affordable housing,” Mr. Schneiderman said of the Sebonac Road property at a work session on Thursday, June 6. “Basically, we’re swapping the IGHL piece for the Tuckahoe Woods piece—one is bigger than the other and may be worth more.”

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Senator Kenneth P. LaValle have introduced legislation in Albany to allow for the alienation of parkland along Magee Street. But before it can move forward, the Town Board needs to sign off with a home rule resolution—basically, a non-binding bill that demonstrates the board’s approval to Albany lawmakers.

If the 14-acre Sebonac Road property is not equal to or greater than the combined value of the 6.3 acres of properties along Magee Street, the legislation requires the town to put the difference toward acquiring additional parkland or toward capital improvement projects at parks and recreation facilities.

Town Board member Christine Scalera questioned the mechanics of the bill, along with whether it was necessary. In a text on Monday, she said properties designated as parkland are designated that way for a reason, although there are situations in which it makes sense to do a swap.

But for the Tuckahoe parcels, she is not convinced of the necessity.

“We would arguably be getting a property that has to meet or exceed the value of the parkland,” she said. “[I’m] not certain, yet, of the environmental considerations of this swap or potential effects on the surrounding property owners, and I’m not seeing the necessity of having to do this yet.”

Still, Mr. Schneiderman said on Tuesday he was confident that it was a good solution.

Many people were opposed in 2016 to a shopping center being placed at the Magee Street property. The property adjoins with another 8-acre property that the town owns and is planning to put homes on. Combined, both properties would equal approximately 15 acres.

Mr. Schneiderman suggested that 15 single-family homes could be put on the 15 acres, with accessory apartments. On the other hand, he said, he was not interested in trying to build an apartment complex there.

“I wouldn’t put it forward if I didn’t think it was a good idea,” he said. “It makes a lot of sense.”

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Why would you want to build next to a police shooting range? Sounds like a JAY deal???
By knitter (1759), Southampton on Jun 12, 19 2:20 PM
It just does not make sense. The proposed land intended to be used for housing is made up of multipule standing bodies of water 365 days a year and is an undisturbed wooded area and the IGHL site is a previously developed open area site, hmm and why would we swap these two lands? If housing is needed than just build on the existing developed site, less clearing, already had an occupied use, No legislation needed in Albany AND you are not destroying a natural wooded area which was at least the original ...more
By Common Scense (24), Southampton on Jun 13, 19 1:53 PM
a map of the proposed location would be a great addition to this article.........
By toes in the water (861), southampton on Jun 14, 19 6:53 AM
Drive-in movies,Coopers Beach, Southampton village