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Feb 8, 2019 5:14 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sixty-Unit Workforce Housing Complex Being Considered On County Road 39 In Southampton

Ralph Fasano of Concern for Independent Living presented plans for a 60-unit apartment complex in Southampton Town, during a town board work session on Thursday. GREG WEHNER
Feb 13, 2019 11:14 AM

A Medford-based nonprofit announced last week that it hopes to build 60 units of affordable and workforce housing off County Road 39 in Southampton, on land it would purchase from the Southampton Full Gospel Church.

Representatives of the organization, Concern for Independent Living, met with the Southampton Town Board on Thursday, February 7, to gauge the board’s interest in the project before filing an official application.

In order for the project to become a reality, the Town Board would have to change the zoning of the 9.4-acre parcel behind the church property, which currently is vacant.

Ralph Fasano, the executive director of the organization, presented conceptual plans for the project, consisting of 6 10-unit buildings on 5 acres of the 9.4-acre parcel, to Town Board members at a work session on Thursday.

Church officials have been in talks to sell the land to the organization, which helps create affordable and workforce housing opportunities, while also providing support services to those in need.

If the board members give the group a green light, the organization would submit a formal application to change the zoning of the property from residential half-acre zoning to multi-family housing.

Under the existing half-acre, or R-20, zoning designation, the developer would only be permitted to construct seven single-family homes on the site. If changed to multi-family zoning, the developer could construct six units per acre, or 30 units. But because the units would be offered as affordable housing, the developer would be permitted to construct 12 units per acre, or 60 units in total.

The meeting on Thursday was intended to gauge the interest of the Town Board members, to see if the developer should submit a change of zone application.

“It allows you to say, ‘We don’t want to consider a formal application,’” Town Planning and Development Administrator Kyle Collins told board members. “The application would die at that point.”

Board members expressed concerns and suggested the developers talk with residents before moving forward with an application, but they did not discourage it.

Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said he was concerned about the potential increase in traffic resulting from the project. But he also said he would like to see the project move forward to a formal application, because it seemed like a viable plan to provide more affordable housing to the East End.

“It’s too important to not allow it to get to that point,” he said.

Under the plan, the developer would offer 36 one-bedroom and 24 two-bedroom units. A one-bedroom unit would rent for anywhere from $550 to $800 per month, according to Mr. Fasano, and a two-bedroom apartment would be between $1,100 and $1,200 per month. “It sounds very cheap for out here,” he said.

All units would be rentals and would be managed by the organization. The developer would set aside 15 of the units specifically for veterans, Mr. Fasano said, and also help veterans with special needs find work and get acclimated to the area.

“It’s really affordable housing with supportive services for those who need it,” he said. “Primarily, though, it’s workforce housing.”

The workforce units would be awarded through a lottery operated by the organization, and local workers would be given preference.

James Havrilla, a senior engineer at the Melville-based H2M Architects and Engineers—who said he was not related to the church’s pastor, the Reverend Donald Havrilla—reviewed alternative routes in and out of the development at the work session.

Development plans show access to the development from County Road 39, with two additional roads—one going into the Hillcrest neighborhood to the south, and another heading west onto Seasons Lane—provided as alternative access roads to the apartment complex.

The idea of additional workforce housing in the town, Mr. Schneiderman suggested, could mean lighter traffic overall for east-west commuters.

“The traffic on County Road 39 is largely workforce—workers commuting from west of the Shinnecock Canal who work east of Shinnecock Canal—so this has the potential to reduce traffic by allowing some of the workforce to live east of the canal,” he said. “Eighty percent of our town employees live west of the Shinnecock Canal, so it is a big problem. The more we can create places for that workforce to live closer to where they work, the less traffic we’ll have.”

In addition to the traffic, the density of the project concerned Town Board member Christine Scalera. She questioned whether Mr. Fasano had an option for fewer units than planned, but he said 60 units would be the minimum number to make the project viable.

Mr. Fasano said his company manages 275 different sites, many of which are in Suffolk County. Fourteen of the sites are multifamily developments, similar to what is being proposed in Southampton. In total, the organization manages 1,300 units.

For the development in Southampton, Mr. Fasano said, he expects to raise $28 million in grants through programs like the New York State Homes and Community Renewal Program to help fund construction of the project.

Grants do not have to be paid back, Mr. Fasano said, so unlike a typical housing project that gets constructed and has a significant loan afterward, the nonprofit is left with little debt.

“Most of the money is grant money,” he said. “So we have little debt service once the projects are developed.”

Many of the grants are competitive, and according to Mr. Fasano, only one out of four applications get funded throughout the state. But out of the 10 applications for grants that the organization has filed, all have been approved.

Projects like the one planned for Southampton are attractive to profit investors like Citibank and Capital One, Mr. Fasano said. Those investors provide capital for the project and in return, he said, the companies get a 10-year tax credit that equates to a 9- or 10-percent return on their money. “They make a pretty good, almost guaranteed, return,” he added.

Although density will be high, Mr. Fasano said the complex would have its own sewage treatment plant.

Tom Dixon of Nelson and Pope said the sewage treatment system would be on the smaller scale, and allow for a flow of 15,000 gallons per day, while also leaving a smaller footprint and being located primarily underground.

The system, he said, would release less than 10 milligrams per liter of nitrogen into the ground, which conforms to the Suffolk County Health Department’s most recent standards.

Town Board member John Bouvier suggested that a development like what was being proposed could be a model for future apartment or condominium complexes becoming more independent. Having a sewage treatment system on site helps, but Mr. Bouvier said he would also like to see solar panels used to provide power. Mr. Fasano said solar had not been considered for this project, but it could be.

Ms. Scalera suggested Mr. Fasano and his team reach out to members of the community for feedback on the proposal before coming back to the board. Specifically, he was told to reach out to members of the Hillcrest community because of the development’s proximity to the neighborhood, as well as to local Citizen Advisory Committees.

Mr. Fasano is expected to return with community feedback on February 28 at a Town Board work session.

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Another ghetto like the one at Sandy Hollow? No thanks
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Feb 8, 19 7:31 PM
This makes no sense. These workforce housing deals are not going to put a dent in the commuter traffic or the need for permanent workforce out here. We are going to turn this town into a Farmingdale really quick if we do this type of development. Dont chase the fast money of new developments for the loss of what little rural character we still have. Set an example by shooting this down immediately so more of the same dont come looking for other ways to over develop what is left.
By Long Pond Rentals (6), sag harbor on Feb 8, 19 7:53 PM
The term "workforce housing" is deceptive. There is no requirement for occupants to work within the town, and for that matter, no requirement to work at all. It is illegal in New York for landlords to discriminate based on source of income. Section 8 recipients are just as eligible as a local worker would be for this housing.
By MoronEliminator (215), Montauk on Feb 8, 19 9:19 PM
This should be a total non-starter for the town. Under no circumstances can this traffic clogging disaster of a project be allowed to go forward. How could the Board even entertain such an ill-conceived proposal?
By BillWillConn3 (180), Southampton on Feb 8, 19 9:33 PM
2 members liked this comment
Pitch folk ready, and sharpened too
By Ditch Bum (929), Water Mill on Feb 10, 19 10:02 AM
This should be a total non-starter for the town. Under no circumstances can this traffic clogging disaster of a project be allowed to go forward. How could the Board even entertain such an ill-conceived proposal?
By BillWillConn3 (180), Southampton on Feb 8, 19 9:35 PM
Sounds like a good project. People need to loose their NIMBY attitude and work together.
By A Great American (103), East Quogue on Feb 8, 19 10:42 PM
Workforce: translation; tons of precious undocumented workers!!
By Moral Dolphin (50), Southampton on Feb 9, 19 5:55 AM
2 members liked this comment
9.4 acres! That’s sound like plenty of room for a decent grocery store!!
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Feb 9, 19 7:23 AM
... where would developers be in this town without their beloved zoning change? Giving certain groups a better chance in a "lottery" seems like discrimination to me.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Feb 9, 19 7:46 AM
Leave it 1/2 acre and give people the opportunity to buy homes also No exit on 39 entrance only.
By Obserever (40), Southnampton on Feb 9, 19 7:51 AM
2 members liked this comment
Stop the building! We will look like western Suffolk in no time if we continue at this rate.
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Feb 9, 19 8:42 AM
2 members liked this comment
Too late GB.
That ship sailed a long time ago.
By bird (829), Sag Harbor on Feb 13, 19 3:17 PM
Southampton will get a whole lot dirtier and all crimes will rapidly increase over a short period of time.
By themarlinspike (542), southampton on Feb 9, 19 11:08 AM
1 member liked this comment
This is not needed here in the east end. We have too much traffic on roads as it is. As for more workers? Nope we have too many. Just look at 7-11. Many legit small company's folded due to so many illegal immigrants coming here under bidding.
By Win sky (58), Southampton on Feb 9, 19 12:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
It much more about preserving our small town feel for the safeguarding of our largest income generator which is the summer crowd. As we chip away from that feeling with these projects we are setting ourselves up for absolutely no incentive or reason for summer folks to come out. I dont like the traffic, congestion and chaos that takes place during the summer months but its really going to suck when its like that year round AND we are all broke!!!
By Long Pond Rentals (6), sag harbor on Feb 9, 19 1:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
I appreciate people taking interest in providing affordable housing opportunities on the East End. I grew up in Southampton and love it for the way it is. Houses have a little land with them, you're not right on top of somebody else. Low taxes, great schools. My husband and I would love to buy a house here but the market has priced us out. There is nothing for sale under $499,000 right now. I believe leaving the zoning the way it is and having a company construct 6 affordable houses to sell ...more
By Tellyourtale (5), Southampton on Feb 9, 19 4:07 PM
I don't think this housing, whether it be for 60 units or 6, will go to anybody that grew up out here. You'll find yourself at the end of a very long line, that they don't want you to be on to begin with.
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Feb 9, 19 4:21 PM
All these problems will go away when the Great Peconic Causeway is built.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Feb 9, 19 5:59 PM
We need this absolutely! The base rent for a 2 bedroom home in Southampton is now over $2,500/mo, which is near out of reach for many working people. A one bedroom apt, if you can find one, is nearly that much. You are living in the past if you think housing prices are going down, so this project should be applauded and welcomed. Those old saws of "looks like western Suffolk", "the traffic", etc, really fail be realistic responses when we are talking about workforce housing. This is one step in ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Feb 9, 19 6:29 PM
Why do you think these apartments will be filled with local workers?
By MoronEliminator (215), Montauk on Feb 10, 19 2:42 PM
HMMMM, you championed the oversized , UTI style supermarket project , now coming out in favor of this one too. Vested interest perhaps? Not everyone can afford to live where they want to live.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Feb 10, 19 3:03 PM
As much as we need afforadable housing for LOCALS, shouldn’t there be a decent grocery store to accommodate all the outside ppl this will bring to the area?? Jays idea of this unit alleviateing traffic on county road 39 in laughable! All these ppl will use County road 39to go to Hampton Bays to do their food shopping, thus putting more ppl on that road.
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Feb 10, 19 8:55 AM
2 members liked this comment
That's silly - The traffic is the same, they either use it to go West for food shopping, or they use it to travel East for work.
By SHResident (59), Southampton on Feb 10, 19 1:12 PM
Please STOP overbuilding this area! Please!
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Feb 10, 19 8:58 AM
1 member liked this comment
East Hampton is finishing a similar project .. available only to citizens and legal residents and with preference given to early responders. The community will have to deal with an influx of trucks with Trump/Pence 2020 bumper stickers but gotta do the right thing? Now you can return to the fetal position.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Feb 10, 19 9:35 AM
Not possible. It's illegal to discriminate against non-residents, even illegal aliens in New York when it comes to housing. Preference can be given to first responders though.
By NateNewtown (99), east on Feb 10, 19 2:47 PM
terrible location for a terrible "project"
By joe hampton (3461), The Hamptons on Feb 10, 19 9:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
In 2016, the most current 990 shows Mr. Fasano received over 350,500 in salary and over 58,000 in "other =" compensation. NYS pays him well to destroy neighborhoods.
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Feb 10, 19 6:57 PM
2 members liked this comment
By Erin 27 E (1281), hampton bays on Feb 10, 19 11:19 PM
As I understand it, they are asking for access though two adjacent residential communities, I wish them good luck with that. Christine Scalera was wise to recognize the difficulty here, and by suggesting that the developer seek the input of the residents, practically assured that this project will go away quietly.
By gusef (53), Southampton on Feb 11, 19 8:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
There will never be affordable housing in the Hamptons. Get real.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Feb 11, 19 10:34 AM
Does this mean the unwashed hoi polloi might have a rental in my 11968 zip code? Does this expand "the valley of ashes" that I often pass through? Wilbur and I don't understand why people don't just buy nicer things and lead better lives. Can't we build something useful there like a private equestrian facility?
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Feb 11, 19 5:53 PM
Looks like a good spot for an assisted living facility. Adjacent to the rehab center, not a lot of drivers, much needed in this community.
By foodwhiner (148), Southampton on Feb 12, 19 2:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
It's so funny that the Town wants to build housing projects within walking/biking distance of Southampton village. They're nuts and we're nitwits for voting for these loons who make $100,000/$200/000 in salaries and healthcare insurance and pension benefits. Maybe they will fill these units with the workers for the new Southampton Hospital that is costing 2x the price per room of new hospital construction elsewhere in our great country. Hopefully the new hospital will not have over 600 cases ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Feb 13, 19 10:17 PM
This should have to go to a full town vote and not be crammed down our throats.
This is another way of creating a high density slum. NO, I don't want this in my town. Not now, not ever.
By jediscuba (71), Suthampton on Feb 15, 19 8:47 AM
JUST SAY NOOOOOOOO. Are you there Mr. Schneiderman?
By rvs (106), sag harbor on Feb 15, 19 12:22 PM
Supervisor Schneiderman started a department with the Town government specifically to champion and build housing projects, hired an executive with a $240,000 per year salary + benefits pay package, and has an interest in promoting these developments, not only for the current kickbacks from contractors who build them but also to establish his credentials at the State government level where public housing is seen as the ultimate goal of politics. Governor Cuomo was head of HUD at the Federal level ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Feb 16, 19 10:55 AM
1 member liked this comment
Right on icecreamman, no DL, no insurance, IMPOUND the vehicle. At least 20% of the drivers in Suffork County don't have a valid DL and/or current insurance. Start with a checkpoint for the landscaping and construction trucks and have Rapid Recovery ready to tow the vehicles to an impound lot.
By P. Revere (152), hampton Bays on Feb 21, 19 2:24 PM
Ditch Bum: Jesse Smollet: Just another democrat doing what dems do best: Lie, rape, steal, sleep late, no job, lazy, blacface, cry and ask for "free" stuff. Jesse you"re gonna do some federal time you moron. No more cushy job, no more money, no more expensive apartment, no more freedom. Good job Jesse.
By P. Revere (152), hampton Bays on Feb 21, 19 2:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
P. Revere, project much?
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Feb 21, 19 2:48 PM
You have got to be kidding... it's not April Fools day. I've watched county road 39 become worse and worse every passing year. Tons of traffic... speeding... no cops for control.. try driving or crossing this road... death trap.... where are the police?????????? I vote NO.
Nothing on 39 makes any sense!

By jrkroll (2), southampton on Mar 5, 19 2:00 PM
Terrific plan. Attainable apartments for vet's, local workers. Be a YIMBY!!
By MichaelDaly (16), Sag Harbor, New York on Mar 7, 19 12:36 PM