Illegal Code - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1793547

Illegal Code

At the first public meeting of our reconstituted Southampton Village Board on July 8, I will recommend a review of our local laws for announcing public hearings by our three regulatory boards, starting with public hearings to listen to our citizens’ views as to whether the current notice laws make it harder for them to oppose Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review, Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board applications.

The new Board of Trustees and the new village attorney also will be informed, based on the village’s own documents, that the present zoning code of the village, still enforced by the Southampton Village Building Department, ARB, ZBA and Planning Board, was voted into existence on November 10, 2005, in violation of New York State laws that every zoning code has to comply with if it is to become the legal law of Southampton Village.

A preview:

1. Our 2005 zoning code was voted into existence at the November 10, 2005, trustees meeting, which was never memorialized with the required minutes, in violation of New York State Public Officer Law, Article 7, Open Meetings Law, §106: Minutes.

2. This 2005 Epley zoning code violates the May 2000 Comprehensive Plan it was mandated to implement; according to New York State Village Law §7-722, zoning laws must be adopted in accordance with a comprehensive plan.

3. This 2005 Epley zoning code violates the State Environmental Quality Review Act, which requires that all new zoning codes must be submitted for a full SEQRA review to become law: 6CRR-NY 617.4 (b)(1) “comprehensive zoning regulations.”

4. Zoning votes cannot be cast by anyone with a “conflict of interest,” according to state law and a U.S. Supreme Court decision, regarding the fiduciary responsibility of trustees. Also, a warning letter by Attorney John Shea demanding recusal of Paul Robinson, developer, whose eight village properties were enhanced in value by his decisive vote for the 2005 code (John Shea letter of October 5, 2005, cites conflict of interest laws and court decisions). Southampton Village Ethics Law prohibited zoning vote by developers.

5. On November 11, 2005, Village Attorney Richard DePetris, in order to turn the village code into law, filed with State Department of State a copy of the 2005 zoning code and his own affidavit swearing that he knew of no local law violated by this code, despite our ethics code.

Thus, then-Mayor Mark Epley steamrolled through an illegal zoning code, and had it illegally applied. That illegal zoning code is responsible, since 2005, for more than $200 billion in real estate sales and therefore responsible for the unfair Southampton Town property taxes levied on Southampton Village property owners, based on reported village real estate sales.

Evelyn Konrad