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Mar 14, 2018 7:20 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Could Tap Federal Program To Attract New Investors To Flanders, Riverside

Director of Housing and Community Development Diana Weir during Thursday's work session. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Mar 14, 2018 10:50 AM

Southampton Town officials are pushing for Flanders and Riverside to be included in a program under a new federal tax plan that would offer financial incentives to business owners looking to invest in the hamlets.

The federal tax law, signed by President Donald Trump in December, has a provision that’s designed to spur private investment in distressed communities, Diana Weir, the town’s director of Housing and Community Development, explained during a recent Town Board work session.

At the March 8 meeting, Ms. Weir urged the board to pen a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo asking him to designate Flanders and Riverside as “opportunity zones” and include them in the program.

“I did a lot of research on this,” she said.

She noted that the governor can designate up to 25 percent of communities in the state for the program. Based on her research and recent census data, Ms. Weir suspects that Riverhead Town will be selected “off the bat.”

But because Riverside and Flanders are just south of Riverhead, and also distressed, Ms. Weir stated that the hamlets should be good candidates for the program. The extent of financial incentives offered to potential investors has not yet been laid out by the federal government.

Even so, the deadline for Mr. Cuomo to designate communities is nearing—he has until March 21 to do so—which is why Ms. Weir is pushing the town to pen a letter as soon as possible.

The Town Board is expected to pass a resolution at a work session on Thursday, March 15, that allows Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer to forward the town’s request to Mr. Cuomo, with copies also being sent to State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., State Senator Kenneth LaValle and Long Island Regional Development Council Co-Chairman Kevin Law.

While it was not clear as of this week exactly how much the tax break would offer investors, Ms. Weir said she thinks it would help with the ongoing revitalization initiatives in Riverside. “I think the tax incentive is enough to entice investment into the area,” she said.

The members of the Town Board in attendance during last week’s meeting—Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni was absent—appeared to support writing the letter, agreeing that it sounds like such a program would help with ongoing revitalization efforts in Riverside.

“It will be interesting to see what happens,” Councilman John Bouvier said.

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When will the junk car lot on Flanders Rd be brought into compliance.This is an eyesore at the Gateway to Flanders.If this operation is in compliance with Town Code so be it.
By watchdog1 (490), Southampton on Mar 14, 18 11:15 AM
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