Housing Alternative - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2118441

Housing Alternative

The issue of accommodating housing requirements for our young working families has got me thinking.

Michael Daly [“Housing Pickle,” Letters, March 9] raised some good points in his discussion of the development of a lot for a 10,000-square-foot mansion vs. a development of several modest-sized homes that could serve our working class. The typical issue with multiple units placed in a single-family neighborhood is that it tends to upset the existing homeowners who chose a less densely developed place to live. Rezoning that breaches this established consensus often can be very contentious. Social engineering of this nature tends to imply some grievance that must be addressed and some ownership of guilt by an innocent neighborhood.

I might suggest an alternative I’m familiar with: two-family dwellings.

The lot is still occupied by a single home or structure that can easily comply with setbacks and coverage requirements. It may or may not have two garages and driveways for the transportation needs of separate occupants.

Septic needs will not be significantly more than a large single-family dwelling, and the benign appearance of the housing should help most neighborhoods accept the prospect of new neighbors.

Two-family occupants often are from the same family. It can be a way for longtime residents to accommodate their working children and their families. It can create a path to ownership for working families who use the second income to help pay for the high cost of living on our East End.

Approval of a two-family site should not be a high hurdle for our local government. Many affluent communities enjoy a healthy mix of middle class families sharing the blessings of good schools and safe neighborhoods.

Relaxing zoning restrictions could relieve the dire shortage we all recognize.

Let’s think about this.

Ed Surgan