Problems With Rezoning - 27 East

Letters

Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1837003

Problems With Rezoning

Advocates of rezoning to alleviate the affordable housing problem in the Town of Southampton either ignore or don’t understand the problems with their proposals.

Their proposals will urbanize areas of the town by increasing density. These areas will need the accompanying physical and human infrastructure to serve the increase in population.

This is an ever-growing problem in the environmentally sensitive area in which we live. We live on top of our water supply and dispose of our sewage waste into the ground. This waste ultimately ends up in our groundwater and surrounding bays.

We must approach further development always being cognizant of these facts. Many people feel that we are at the threshold of over-development. The Hampton Bays Water District is not able to meet New York State Sanitary Law requirements for water systems in the state. This summer, the district asked for voluntary rationing to meet the increased water demand.

We just can’t justify an increase in density without serious consideration of the water supply and wastewater disposal issues.

The lack of an uniform town zoning policy is another problem. There are seven incorporated villages in the Town of Southampton, each of which have their own zoning policies. The villages are, in a sense, immune from a townwide rezoning initiative. This leaves the unincorporated areas of the town at the mercy of the rezoning advocates. These areas already pay much higher tax rates than the villages.

The villages, with their restrictive zoning, have prevented construction of more dense and affordable housing developments. The villages have become citadels of exclusion, except for the wealthy.

The Village of Westhampton Beach recently rebuilt its downtown. This project could have incorporated an affordable housing component with the construction of multiple dwelling units. The villages are extremely wealthy areas that can and must do more in the way of affordable housing development. These projects cannot be planned and constructed only in the unincorporated working- and middle-class areas of the town, such as Hampton Bays, East Quogue, Tuckahoe and Flanders.

Finally, rezoning to increase affordable housing does not guarantee that this housing will go to Southampton Town residents. It does make sense to make affordable housing available especially to residents that are vital to the well-being of our community. Residents who are first responders, nurses, teachers, police officers and other critical workers should be helped to live in the communities that they serve. Maybe the town can help these individuals with grants or loans for down payments, a major problem for many would-be first-time homeowners.

Opening the floodgates of development by rezoning only will create more environmental problems in the future.

Ray D’Angelo

Hampton Bays

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