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Tuckahoe Affordable Housing Project Back on the Table

Thirty two units planned on Sandy Hollow Road.

An affordable housing project planned for Tuckahoe that was stalled by the Great Recession is back on the table, with revisions to reflect the current state of the housing market.

The new plan calls for 32 rental units, a mix of one-bedrooms and studio apartments, spread among four buildings. The original proposal, which received unanimous Town Board approval as a planned development district in February 2009, called for 16 two-bedrooms condos, in four buildings.

Jon Sirkin, of Vesta Development, based in Manhattan and Bridgehampton, said Monday that he purchased a 2.6-acre lot at 161 Sandy Hollow Rd. about six years ago with affordable housing in mind. “We thought that this was something that the community could really use,” he said.

The project was dubbed Sandy Hollow Cove. “We were prepared to build it, but at the time it got approved the economy changed," Sirkin said.

Now, he said he is working with the Southampton Housing Authority and David Gallo, of the Jericho-based firm Georgica Green Ventures, to get approval on revisions to the planned development district. One-bedrooms and studios are in line with current demands of the market, according to Sirkin, and he said that the units will make less of an impact on Tuckahoe School District enrollment than two-bedrooms would.

“The next step is to see how receptive the Town Board is, and we’ll make the changes that are necessary," Sirkin said.

The lot is located in the R-80 zone, which permits one residence per 80,000 square feet. However, the Town Board-approved planned development district allowed multifamily housing in exchange for a community benefit, i.e. affordable housing.

Gallo said the plan is to make the four buildings appear as though they have always been part of the community, and to that end, Southampton Village architect John David Rose was brought in. “Our goal here is that it's something the community can be proud of,” Gallo said.

The buildings will look like any of the big houses that would typically be seen while driving around Southampton, Sirkin said. The plan calls for 24 one-bedrooms and eight studios, with a sewage treatment plant to serve the units.

“The biggest component of the financing will come from the tax credits that will hopefully be awarded to the project,” Gallo said.

A bank will finance the development just like any other housing project, Gallo said. But, the more tax credits awarded will equal lower rents to service the debt.

“The federal government issues tax credits to every state, and the state disseminates these credits through their allocating agencies, and there’s a few allocating agencies in New York," Gallo said.

The program was created in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan and is “purported to be the most successful public-private partnership in real estate development,” Gallo said. He later added, “The reality is, there really is no other way to do this… there’s no other programs that are offered that will create 32 affordable housing units over the long term.”

By regulatory agreement, the housing will need to stay affordable for at least 50 years, But Gallo said that the Housing Authority is working to make it affordable for perpetuity.

A one-bedroom would cost around $900 monthly, and a studio apartment would be less, according to Gallo.

"We're working to put all the parts together to make it financially viable, low rent, well-maintained and self-sufficient," Southampton Housing Authority Executive Director Richard Blowes said.

A $900 monthly rate is considered affordable for a worker making approximately $30,000 per year, and someone making less could be eligible for aid, Blowes said. “If somebody comes in and they need assistance for some reason, there are assistance programs available to lower their rent if they couldn’t afford to pay."

However, Blowes added that subsidy programs are not meant to be entitlements, which people stay on for the rest of their lives. “Those programs are over,” he said.

Blowes said the Housing Authority has been meeting with groups such as the school district, the North Sea and Southampton-Tuckahoe-Shinnecock Hills citizens advisory committees, local fire departments and hospital officials. Eventually, he said, those organizations will be part of a committee to establish the needs of the community and how they can me met by this affordable housing project.

Blowes said the revisions will be presented to the Town Board later this month.

Jerry Can March 13, 2013 at 01:58 AM
Sounds to me someone is proposing to build a small ghetto. Have they contacted the police to find out how much it will cost to patrol the area? I'm sure Suffolk county could fill up the place with tenants. Ridiculous.
Pat March 13, 2013 at 03:20 AM
We're going to put a sewage treatment plant in an area that has the water aquifier for all the homes in this area that have wells??Is the developer and town providing public water for all taxpayers who own homes in the area? Follow my lead--after the last proposal--sources from suffolk county health department & suffolk county water authority advised me of how UNSAFE these water treatment plants really are--leaching into ground water and polluting not only private wells but the pumping stations located in the area for public water-frm 16 units to 32-INTERESTING
Mary Beth March 13, 2013 at 11:52 AM
What a nonsensical and extremist leap of nonsense. Affordable housing is a necessity if our community is to prosper. The same people that complain about immigrant labor argue that we should not help locals afford to live here, which would mean a young workforce of professionals that could stay instead of leave. Ridiculous? No. Not by a long shot.
john smith March 19, 2013 at 02:34 AM
The history of government subsidized housing has been written many times in every "progressive "city in America---instant slums; center for drugs and crime to inflict upon the larger community. Oh, but this time it will be different under the firm control of Southampton. Right?
Jennifer March 27, 2013 at 06:26 PM
I can't afford to live and work here. My solution: move, just like the rest of my generation. I'm tired of working my butt off to just get by. Goodbye Southampton.
Tim Corwin April 08, 2013 at 11:55 PM
34 units on 2 1/2 acres??? It is unbelievable that our town board would even consider that. This is not Nassau County. The traffic will be much more than the road can handle and the effect on the wildlife and the drinking water could be very deleterious. Show me the environmental impact statement.
Pat April 09, 2013 at 05:49 PM
I'm curious---since these plans are really quite different than the original affordable housing condos that were first passed--shouldn't the developer have to re-apply for permits?--last development was for affordable condos--not an apartment complex--wouldn't they have to change their permits & new studies done for water contamination---they have increased the size and population in this development--also-new traffic and environmental studies
jennifer Wilkins August 26, 2013 at 08:58 PM
So I take it that being a college educated young local Southampton Professional with student loans, credit card payments and a car payment is the new poor and deserves no affordable housing opportunity. Wow the world has really changed. Unbelievable. I truly feel for our generation.
Judy Pepenella September 15, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Since the scope of the project has changed from the original plans, the Town should order the developer should get a new set of permits AND approvals. With the increase in units, a NEW traffic and environmental study must be performed to make sure the scope of the project is not going to destroy the environment of the community. Pat made reference to the sewage and water issues. This revision includes more units and that means more sewage ...where is it going to go? And what about our atrifiers? Is the area zoned for the change in residential types? that is a huge density change from one home per acre to 13.6 per acre (34 divided by 2.5 acres). Are the developers getting tax abatements. Developers often get 30 year tax abatements to help cover the risk they are taking to build; leaving the current residents holding the bill for the residents 34 units. That means higher school taxes, library, fire, garbage and all the other special district taxes you are paying will be added to YOUR property tax bill.
Judy Pepenella September 15, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Mary Beth - A person is not an extremist when they expect their elected officials to make sure the scope of a proposed project is being put though proper scrutiny before giving full approval. Nor is it extreme to ask that all environmental studies are performed to protect the ground water. Nor is it extreme to perform a traffic study when the scope has increase from 16 to 34 units. Nor is it extreme to ensure the best interests of the entire community is taken into consideration. Nor is it extreme to make sure the plans will comply to maintain the beauty of the community. However, it is extreme to allow the developers and the elected to pass what ever they want without proper studies, discussion and input from the general public.

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