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Feb 28, 2018 10:56 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Fate Of Old Caretaker's House In Hampton Bays Still Unknown

The old caretaker's house in Squiretown Park.
Mar 6, 2018 5:52 PM

The fate of the old caretaker’s house at the former Girl Scouts camp property on the corner of West Landing Road and Red Creek Road in Hampton Bays, is still up in the air.

Ecological Culture Initiative, or ECI, a nonprofit based in Hampton Bays, has been eying the boarded-up, single-story vacant building, where an old Girl Scout camp, known as Camp Tekakwitha, once operated. While the nonprofit—which encourages residents, homeowners and business owners to incorporate traditional, pesticide-free agricultural practices into their landscaping—has the support of the Hampton Bays community, its mission to take stewardship of the house has been an uphill battle with the town.

The main hurdle: The house was purchased with more than $500,000 in affordable housing funds about a decade earlier. ECI officials would not be providing affordable housing, so in order for the town to grant it stewardship of the property, the town would have to reimburse the affordable housing fund, according to Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.

During a meeting on February 27, the Southampton Town Board withdrew a resolution that would have granted ECI stewardship of the old caretaker’s house.

The town also needs to finish subdividing the property to separate the half acre that the caretaker’s house is on from the rest of the approximately 65-acre camp property, which was bought and preserved by the town using Community Preservation Fund revenues.

The town is waiting for Suffolk County Health Department approvals to finish the subdivision, according to Town Attorney James Burke.

Mr. Schneiderman said he suspects the town will reimburse the fund—though no actions to do so have been completed yet—so it can consider ECI as a potential steward for the property.

“We have a group that is obviously energetic about using this property in a beneficial way,” Mr. Schneiderman said of organization.

Marc Fasanella, ECI’s founder, said he is growing frustrated with the wait, noting that the town has been pushing off the resolution to grant his nonprofit stewardship for a year already. “It’s a question of political will,” he said.

Shannon Stimpson, managing director of ECI, pushed the Town Board for a concrete timeline for granting ECI stewardship of the property, explaining that the house would be great for teaching classes. “ECI is doing some really great things for the town,” he said.

While the Town Board still unanimously voted last week to withdraw the resolution, which has been tabled six times in the past year—and failed to give Mr. Stimpson a timeline, citing Health Department delays—Councilwoman Julie Lofstad, who lives in Hampton Bays, left him with a promise: ECI will not be forgotten.

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Does this look like a $500K property to anyone? Maybe in Wainscott, but not in Hampton Bays.

The CPF is doing some very, very dodgy deals.
By Funbeer (254), Southampton on Mar 1, 18 1:19 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well, it looked much better years ago when it was purchased. Before it was allowed to fall down into a shambles.
By bb (856), Hampton Bays on Mar 1, 18 4:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yes and from what I remember, the Town kicked out a nice family that lived there and let it fall into disrepair. What a Town - who is in charge of this place? $99 million Town budget???? You really can't make this stuff up.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 1, 18 6:54 PM
3 members liked this comment
I completely agree. It's a disgrace. They buy this place and then have no clue what to do with it so it rots. Look at Ellis Squires House, still sitting and rotting while they figure it out. CPF needs to have a plan as well as a back up plan!
By bb (856), Hampton Bays on Mar 2, 18 12:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
Maybe the head of code enforcement can file a violation against the Town Board and the head of CPF
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 2, 18 4:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
Tear. It. Down.
By CaptainSig (702), Dutch Harbor on Mar 4, 18 6:57 AM
If you look back the town had the perfect answer to this problem when they purchased the camp property. They were in the process of selling it to the family that lived there for over 20 years and cared for all of it very well. At the last minute the town said they couldn't separate it and left the family scrambling. The house would have been an asset to the community and the property would not have had vandals and the problems it's had since they vacated the property. Truly screwed the family ...more
By Cercis (4), hampton bays on Mar 8, 18 4:31 PM
1 member liked this comment