Since 1984, I have owned and have lived in my little four-bedroom house on a shy half acre at 18 South Rosko Drive. My property is part of the certified 67-lot Rosko Place subdivision. Yet, when a new owner of 31 Rosko Drive sent out a notice of a Southampton Village Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation public hearing, at which he will present his application for a new house to replace the ranch he bought, my name was not on his mailing list. The names of some three dozen other owners of properties like mine in this same Rosko Place subdivision also were omitted from that mailing list.
Instead, along with only a half dozen immediate neighbors of 31 Rosko Drive, the mailing list contained the names of another half dozen property owners whose houses on Hill Street are not part of the Rosko Place subdivision.
This highly selective mailing list for the 31 Rosko Drive applicant to the ARB to allow him to build a house more than twice the size of our common plan and scheme is a violation of settled New York State law, which, since the mid-19th century, gives each owner in a legal subdivision the right to defend the common plan and scheme of the subdivision and the terms of our property deeds.
And, no, a local notification law may not be allowed to violate state law. Contrary to what a former village lawyer said to then-Trustee Nancy McGann, a local law never trumps state law.
In our Rosko Place subdivision, more than two dozen “McMansions” that violate terms of our common property deeds have been approved after public ARB or Zoning Board of Appeals hearings, while only a half dozen or so Rosko Place property owners were notified of such hearings. Most of the rightful owners of our subdivision’s middle-class houses have been disenfranchised.
The new big house on 31 Rosko Drive, if approved by the ARB despite the obviously flawed announcement of the public hearing, would also contribute to the increase in my Southampton Town property taxes, based on the real estate sales our village reports to the town. The applications for McMansions granted at such inadequately noticed public ARB and/or ZBA hearings account for some $200 million in property sales increasing our taxes, without our representation.
We hope that our new mayor and the two new elected trustees will restore the protection of private property rights to the legal owners of middle-class housing in our subdivision, as guaranteed by settled New York State law and by our Constitution.
Attorney at law
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