We Live Here - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2058738

We Live Here

Two weeks ago, I, along with Pamela Harwood of Bridgehampton, spoke at the Southampton Town Board public hearing regarding the proposed workforce housing project at the site of the old senior center in Bridgehampton.

Since I had little information, I went not to object but to ask questions. What will happen to the senior center? Will some of the units be set aside for seniors? Will there be additional projects on this site?

There were three speakers from Sagaponack, Sag Harbor and North Haven. The recurring question they asked was: “How could anyone possibly be opposed or ask questions about this?”

The obvious answer is, because we live here.

I found it interesting that the three individuals who spoke in support of the project had two things in common. They live in incorporated villages and as such have control over their own land use issues, unlike Bridgehampton. Also, none of these people live in Bridgehampton.

To my knowledge, Sagaponack has no affordable housing plans, Sag Harbor’s affordable housing project is in litigation, and North Haven has no workforce housing proposals. Who are these people to lecture us? They should be pressuring their own village boards. So who are the NIMBYs now?

Once again, Bridgehampton becomes the location to solve everyone else’s problems. This was the case with Sag Harbor’s old firetrucks and police impound lot.

It was wrong for the Town Board to schedule an item this controversial two days before Thanksgiving, during the busiest travel week of the year. Clearly, they were looking to pass this with the least awareness from the community, which is exactly what happened. Supervisor Jay Schneiderman stated that since the town owned the land they could simply proceed with the project without further public hearings.

Why will taxpayer money be used to fund affordable rental apartments in Bridgehampton, but the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals gives variances to private businesses, in their oversized office buildings, not to build the affordable apartments that are required in hamlet office zoning on Main Street? We’ve lost nine apartments because of this.

Further, what is the town’s record on maintaining the properties it already owns in Bridgehampton? The town certainly allowed the Bridgehampton Senior Center, where this property is located, to deteriorate. What assurances do we have that the town will be better stewards of this property in the future?

Peter Feder


Bridgehampton Civic Association