Log In   ·   Become A Member
http://www.hamptons.com/gallery/ads/2130.gif

Affordable Housing - An Interview With Town Of Southold Supervisor Scott Russell

John A. Viteritti

The Cottages at Mattituck. (Photo: www.facebook.com)

In our past two articles, we covered efforts to address the need for affordable housing in the Towns of East Hampton and Southampton. According to Judi Desiderio, Chief Executive Officer/President and "Queen of Statistics" for Town & Country Real Estate (who has offices on the North Fork and South Fork), the median price on the North Fork by the end of 2015 was 48.65 percent lower. But the need for affordable housing exists there also.

When I served on the Town of Southold Housing Advisory Commission, our attempts to attract developers to assist in the development of affordable housing was stymied mainly by the fact that Town's zoning requirements did not provide for the density (the number of units that may be constructed on a particular parcel) that would make it profitable for a developer to build, even for those willing to accept a lesser profit than they could otherwise realize from other forms of development. I recently had the opportunity to meet with Town Supervisor Scott Russel at his office in Southold to discuss the affordable housing issue.

The first issue I raised was why, unlike the Towns of East Hampton and Southampton, does Southold not have a Housing Authority that would allow it to own land and develop and maintain it for affordable housing?

SR: If we have opportunities to create affordable housing, then we can revisit the issue. In the meantime, housing authorities do not create more affordable land nor do they promote developers to build on the land. The idea of the Town to be in an ownership position and perform a property management role makes me very uncomfortable. I would rather we go to developers who have a track record of good management and let them provide their expertise with reasonable oversight from the Town rather than assume that responsibility ourselves. I don't think it will provide any more access to funds than currently available, so why take on the work that can be better performed by others.

The next point I raised had to do with the supervision of the Section 8 Housing Voucher Programs supervised by the Towns of East Hampton and Southampton. I asked why the Program in Southold was supervised by the North Fork Housing Alliance, rather than the Town?

SR: The Alliance doesn't just supervise the Section 8 Program. They deal with many housing issues. It's a major undertaking that I think suits them better than if we tried to do it ourselves.

Another issue I raised that distinguishes the Towns of Southampton and East Hampton from Southold are their powers to acquire property through condemnation and then convey ownership to the Housing Authorities.

SR: We really don't have the kinds of run-down properties that are languishing from the real estate bubble of 2008 called "ghost houses." We addressed that by putting legislation in place that allows us to maintain them until we transfer ownership to a new party. Most of that inventory has been cleared out.

Do you have any idea of the total number of units that would be required to meet the need?

SR: No. We have tried to get that information from the community, but have been met with very little response, and quite frankly, that's because we haven't done much to provide affordable housing and the people are getting weary from being asked the question when they don't see any results. I would project that we could easily accept several hundred units.

Tell us about "The Cottages" in Mattituck.

SR: Yes. You're referring to the 22 two-bedroom single family homes that were constructed in 2006 - 2007 to provide home ownership opportunities to qualified applicants, based upon income. The units are made available through a lottery and must remain affordable in perpetuity, so the sale prices are regulated. I believe two of those homes have been resold. Let me point out, the real need is for rental housing for young people just starting out who can't afford to buy, but haven't reached their full earning potential yet, but when they do, will be able to buy in the open market. Those are the people we want to accommodate. Their incomes are too high for Section 8 and not high enough to qualify for a mortgage. Our job is to build a latter for them, one rung at a time.

We know that the density issue has been the major stumbling block to building affordable housing. Please tell us what the Town is attempting to do about it?

SR: We have legislation pending that would allow us to increase the density on 1-acre parcels from 6 to 12 units, with a 24-unit cap on each parcel. That way we could scale the development to fit in with the needs of the community. Alternative treatment systems will also help overcome the Suffolk County Department of Health issues. The Housing Advisory Commission is strongly behind this proposal. They have worked very hard and have been frustrated by the lack of achievement in the development of affordable housing by the Town, and rightly so.

In addition to those you have already mentioned to be in need of affordable housing, what other group stand out?

SR: Senior citizens who have to scale down to less expensive housing or rental situations. East Marion has the greatest density of any hamlet and the highest median age.

How do you counter the perception that a local preference for senior housing may be in opposition to housing for families with children?

SR: You do that by building multi-generational housing, rather than for one target group such as age 55 and older, which is better for condominiums. I am going to be perfectly candid: there are those who believe that we are going to get a rush of minorities rushing out to the North Fork. That's just not true. Nor is it true that we are building housing for undocumented aliens, or that we will over populate our schools. Eligible candidates will have to be residents of Southold Town for at least three years and will be subject to credit checks. I believe the people who will be candidates are already living here.

What's your response to those who say, if you can't afford to live here, you shouldn't?

SR: When the EMT worker, volunteer fireman, or boiler repairman comes to the door, tell them before the fact that if they can't afford to live here, they shouldn't.

You are familiar with Assemblyman Fred Thiele's proposal to allow the five Peconic Bay Region Towns to set aside 20 percent of Community Preservation funds for water quality programs, do you think that Southold will vote in favor of that?

SR: Yes, I see that passing by a 3-1 vote.

When do you anticipate that the Town Board will approve the zoning code change?

SR: I would think before the end of summer, pending another public hearing.


John is a St. John's University graduate, licensed Real Estate broker, lecturer, teaches real estate license classes at LIU, NYU, and Cook Maran Real Estate School, and is a well-respected consultant to the real estate industry. www.johnaviteritti.com




Related Articles:

Be the first to comment on this article. (Just fill out the form below)
 

Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
Location:*
Comments:*
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
Question:*
Please type the word 'water'
(For spam prevention, thanks)
 
 
 
http://www.hamptons.com/gallery/ads/2143.gif
http://www.hamptons.com/gallery/ads/1824.gif
Gary R. DePersia, Corcoran Real Estate
With over $2 billion in transactions on the East End and since 1995, Gary DePersia is consistently ranked among the top producers in the Hamptons. A year-on-year member of The Corcoran Group President’s Council, he has qualified as a national list maker since 2007. In 2008 he was Corcoran's top broker on the East End by sales volume and rental units; and ranked as the nation’s 4th top broker. In the 2017 REAL Trends & The Wall Street Journal list of America’s top real estate professionals, he was designated #26 nationally, #4 in the Hamptons and #3 at Corcoran overall by volume with nearly $200 million of transactions for the past year. His office operates with four licensed assistants allowing him to build a business stretching from Southampton to Montauk and Sagaponack to Shelter Island. gdp@corcoran.com

East End Tick Control
The East End's only New York State licensed dedicated tick and mosquito control specialists!

Bridgehampton National Bank
For over 100 years Bridgehampton National Bank has been the East End's hometown bank. Many success stories...one bank, BNB!

Advertise on Hamptons.com - Have your business be seen by over 2 million viewers including NEW searches
Hamptons.com- Our exclusive online magazine has 2.6 million Page Views YTD for 2015. Contact us to join our elite group of clients that benefit from having a presence on the Hamptons award winning publication www.Hamptons.com

Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home
We pay less,and so do you.With over 1,000 stores in our buying group, we can get the lowest prices from the best flooring manufacturers — and pass the savings on to you.Visit our other locations: Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home, 675 North Sea Road,Southampton, NY 11968

CP Complete- Landscape Design & Construction
Paul Guillo And Chris Hall Two Of The Most Respected Names In The Community Together, they are partners in CP Complete. They bring their years of experience and integrity to creating and renovating luxury backyards.

CP Complete- Landscape Design & Construction
Paul Guillo And Chris Hall Two Of The Most Respected Names In The Community Together, they are partners in CP Complete. They bring their years of experience and integrity to creating and renovating luxury backyards.

D+J Concepts is known for a high-end cutting edge approach to design.
D+J Concepts is known for a high-end cutting edge approach to design with a balance between functionality and imagination. We skillfully and tastefully transform ordinary spaces into classic modern styles, which are understated, and luxe. We’re known for our modern transitional style incorporating antiques and modern elements for an unexpected edge.

Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 33 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field.
Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 33 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field. Trusted, experienced and successful, Andrea has solidified herself as the go-to broker of the Hamptons and a wholehearted advocate for her clients. A pioneer in the real estate industry on the East End of Long Island, she is driven by her passion for the business. Andrea is based in the Bridgehampton office of Brown Harris Stevens as a licensed real estate associate broker and consultant. Formerly, a principal partner and Senior Director at Brown Harris Stevens, Andrea now assists in developing their corporate strategy for the Hamptons region, advising other brokers and sales associates, as well as being one of the top producers and listors.