Southampton Village officials are slated to appear before the Suffolk County Legislature on Dec. 1 to seek an extension for an affordable housing project that includes three new homes — and to request permission to offer the homes to buyers at three different income levels.
The vacant parcels on Bailey Road, which the county seized for delinquent taxes, were given to the village on the condition that they be . Under the law, the county can take back the parcels and auction them to the highest bidder if the village does not make moves to develop them. But the village has come up with the plan, and has already secured both planning board approval to subdivide the 1.7 acres and a variance from the zoning board of appeals for reduced street frontage.
Mayor Mark Epley said Wednesday that the village has submitted all its paperwork for an extension, and now just needs the formal hearing on Dec. 1. But the second piece is to get permission to raise the income eligibility on two of the proposed houses.
Under the county program for municipal development of affordable housing, the 72-H program, the housing must be offered to families earning 80 percent of the median income for the area, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. But the county Legislature can give the village permission to raise the cap to 120 percent of the median income.
"The county was not going to approve the 120 across the board for all three of them," Epley said. Instead, the village will seek permission to offer one house at 80 percent, one at 100 percent and one at 120 percent. Epley said the village's motivation is that an 80 percent cap could exclude families that include professionals such as cops and teachers, as 80 percent of the HUD-defined median income for the region is just slightly more than $80,000.
Once all permissions are in place from the county, the village will take the project to its architectural review board for the last approval it needs to break ground, Epley said. Architect has been volunteering his services toward the project, and the village is seeking contractors to donate services as well, the mayor said. The will work with banks to secure building loans, he added.