Controversial Senior Housing Proposal To Be Presented To Village Board On Tuesday - 27 East

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Controversial Senior Housing Proposal To Be Presented To Village Board On Tuesday

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author on Apr 21, 2014

An application for a 56-unit senior housing complex in Southampton Village will make its second appearance before the Village Board this week, with the property owners hoping it will move on to the Planning Board for further scrutiny.

The proposal, which was first submitted to the village in December 2013, calls for a 56-unit multifamily senior housing development on Moses Lane south of County Road 39 in Southampton. The applicants—Jim Tsunis, on behalf of property owners Helen and Edward Corrigan and Beach Plum Meadows LLC—are asking the Village Board for a special zoning designation to clear the way for the project on approximately 11 acres, currently zoned for half-acre residential, by creating special zoning, a multifamily planned residential district.

The 56-unit development would be on a property currently zoned for 22 residential building lots.

The proposal will go back before the Village Board on Tuesday, April 22. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. at Village Hall on Main Street.

Although the application is still in the early phases, and as of last week still was not complete, according to village officials, the proposal has drawn some criticism from local residents who feel such a large subdivision would have a negative impact on the surrounding area. At Village Board meetings over the past few months, several residents have said they might take the issue to the courts if it is approved.

“Every aspect of Beach Plum Meadows—from the architecture to the landscaping—has been crafted in the rich tradition of the local heritage,” the website dedicated to the proposal, Beachplummeadows.com, said.

Neither the owner of Beach Plum Meadows, The Northwind Group, or its attorney, Gilbert Flanagan of Southampton, returned calls seeking comment this week.

The application filed on December 20 calls for 14 two-story buildings with four units each. Each unit would include a two-car garage and a full basement. A clubhouse, 112 parking spaces and a large swimming pool also are proposed to accompany the 2,000-square-foot units.

In order to make the application a reality, the owners would need a special overlay zoning designation, multifamily planned residential district, that supersedes the existing zoning. The property is eligible for the distinction, the owners have said, because it lies within a half mile of the village business district, measured with a straight line. The statement has drawn criticism from neighbors who say the distance should be determined by a path along the village streets that a car or pedestrian would use.

“What does not make sense to me is the determination of the half mile using a straight line, or ‘as the crow flies,’” resident Jim Kennedy said at the April 10 Village Board meeting. “Someone may just sneak by ‘as the crow flies,’ but if you follow the same path, it would include bushwacking through trees, walking on the Long Island Rail Road tracks, only to end up in a relatively obscure point in the village.”

Donna DeLeo, also a village resident, said she is most concerned about the increased density, saying that a highly populated condominium cluster will alter the surrounding area, and is an uncharacteristic change for the village. She noted that all other homes in the area were built in accordance with the village regulations.

“This project does not answer a community need,” she said. “Certainly not the need of many. It will result in hyper-density, which will overburden the local infrastructure, increase auto traffic on that entire grid of streets in the area, and the waste treatment plant being proposed borders a major water supply tower.”

This week, Ms. DeLeo said the problem with the proposal is not that the owner wants to develop the property, but she said the developer should be forced to stick with the current half-acre, single-family zoning followed by the rest of the village.

“We understand that there is change coming, and no one is opposing that,” she said. “They are opposing this over-density, which does not serve the character of the Village of Southampton.”

Since the initial presentation to the board in January, the owners of the property have made the rounds to several local civic groups and public meetings to pitch the development. At the Tuckahoe Board of Education meeting earlier this month, Mr. Tsunis said he hopes to be able to move forward soon.

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