The developers of a massive affordable housing proposal, called the Preserve at South Country, presented their plans at a virtual Southampton Town Board public hearing on January 11. Seeing the drawings on my screen of eight two-story buildings, with 104 apartment units and 148 parking spaces, I felt physically ill.
I live down the road from the location of this proposal. In the last five years, traffic and noise have substantially increased due to two new developments built here. The second, larger development, which would sit next door to this proposal, is not even fully occupied yet.
While I would rather see affordable housing than these monstrously large homes, the addition of more development is terrifying.
The developers claimed that the project “fits the character of the community” and would have “no substantial negative impact.” Given that there are no multi-family dwellings in this area — they need a change of zone to allow this project — the first statement is false, and since a full environmental impact review has not yet been conducted, the second is an attempt to gaslight the public and the Town Board.
I would prefer to see no further development on South Country. We have yet to contend with the density increase from the development now in progress. For those of us west of the canal, overdevelopment is beginning to diminish our quality of life by urbanizing our portion of the East End.
But given the housing crisis, if an affordable housing proposal is going to be considered, this is not it. There is a better model in Southampton Township. Two recent examples are Speonk Commons (38 units), built in 2019 in Speonk, and Sandy Hollow Cove (28 units), built in 2021 in Southampton. Why would anyone believe that a development dramatically larger than these two projects combined could be appropriate for one small neighborhood?
I implore the Town Board to consider these key issues:
The town has a goal of spreading out affordable units, not concentrating them west of the canal; 104 units is unprecedented and unacceptable. Any affordable housing project should be closer in size to Speonk Commons or Sandy Hollow Cove.
With 40-plus two-bedroom and 16 three-bedroom units, yielding around 230 to 250 people, this project would increase the population of Quiogue, a small hamlet of approximately 800 people, by 25 to 30 percent.
The impact on the school district would be significant. The developers’ estimate of the number of children was laughably low.
There should be no further discussions until the completion of a full environmental impact review.
We need Community Preservation Fund revenues to purchase open space before the woods and wildlife of South Country are forever lost to development.
One fine body…