Reality Check - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2042726

Reality Check

Hats off to Councilwoman Cyndi McNamara, who is actually reading what is put before her before voting, unlike her glassy-eyed colleagues, who can’t be bothered until caught out [“Concerning Data About Affordable Housing Development’s Potential To Strain Services in Southampton,”, September 28].

Councilwoman McNamara, upon learning about Concern for Independent Living’s (now redubbed “Concern Housing”) proposal to build 60 units of “subsidized” housing (“affordable” is subjective, as is “income restrained” — who isn’t?), became concerned about traffic on County Road 39 and the potential drain on services.

Like the public deprived of a “work session” (these severely cutback by Jay Schneiderman) to hammer out the problems of an anomalous housing development of this magnitude and consequence, and, like the public, confronted by a Nelson Pope Voorhis (yes, them again) boilerplate draft environmental impact statement, she has to plow through 200-plus pages of extraneous opinions, technical verbiage, omissions and dissembling to get to specious conclusions.

However, unlike the public, allotted three minutes, she has more latitude. So we ask that she add to her concerns:

The subdivision of the Full Gospel Church property, 9.4 acres, into two lots (one keeping the church, for the time being). If approved, this density will set a precedent. The church lot will morph into a duplicate development, with potential for another 60-plus units, totaling 120.

John Bouvier has already trumpeted that this development should be “the model” of those to come. How will that impact limited municipal services?

Ralph Fassano, representing Concern Housing, is facile, ducking answers and posing pompous rhetorical questions. Ms. McNamara shrewdly saw through his invitations for people to just “visit” his other developments. Neither is the public reassured by his assertions that people who originally opposed them fell to their knees in wonder at how great they were.

Some are rightly celebrated, in the problem-ridden urban places where they are located, where they provide subsidized “independent living” for special needs populations, per his mission statement.

The location of “Liberty Gardens” in this community, on a gridlocked, heavily traveled road with frequent accidents, near a dangerous intersection, with safety issues about how to enter and leave, is out of place and wrong.

Despite the glib insistence — “workforce housing,” “local traffic reduction(?),” “most applications from Suffolk County,” “veterans housing” — to gloss over the legal restraints, everyone in the United States is eligible to apply, and many organizations servicing groups with special needs have already done so. See the letters on file in the town. They far outnumber the veterans.

Reality check: Is this housing for a mythical workforce, or is the town importing people who can’t work?

Given time, Councilwoman, look into the proposed 6,800-square-foot ancillary building with myriad uses, the 24/7 security guards, the gated entry.

And thank you for your due diligence.

Frances Genovese