The Southampton Town Board is reviving the Housing and Quality of Life Task Force in an effort to clamp down on illegal rentals and substandard housing.
The task force, which was originally started in 2006 before going defunct, will include representatives of the town attorney, police, code enforcement, building and zoning, environment, fire marshal, justice court and Town Council. Councilman Chris Nuzzi and Councilwoman Christine Preston Scalera, the Town Board liaisons for code enforcement, initiated the reboot of the task force, and the board unanimously approved the move Tuesday.
Nuzzi said the task force will examine prosecuting repeat violators more efficiently and expeditiously.
"A more efficient response means a more effective resolution," Scalera added.
While the task force will advise the Town Board on code enforcement, land use, safety and other housing matters, Scalera pointed out that is it constituents themselves who often tip off the town about violators.
"Many times it is a neighbor who suspects a transient rental, or reports excessive vehicles on a property," Scalera said. "Other times it is a tenant living in a substandard apartment, or a parent concerned about teens booking an illegal share house."
In a case just this month, a Water Mill estate in a residential neighborhood that was overtly advertised as having 10 suites available for rent was . It is exactly the kind of situation the task force is designed to confront.
At the time Nuzzi said in a statement, “The owner blatantly disregarded the law for his own personal gain at the expense of his neighbors and legitimate area hotels and businesses. Also of great concern are the potential safety issues related to the rooms that were constructed illegally without the proper inspections.”
After the town search warrant was executed at his estate, the owner did not reply to Patch's inquiries for comment.
The Town Board voted Tuesday to authorize the town attorney to pursue an enforcement action against the estate, located on Rose Hill Road.