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Groundbreaking For Speonk Commons Affordable Housing Project | Southampton, NY Patch

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> https://patch.com/new-york/southampton/groundbreaking-speonk-commons-affordable-housing-project <https://patch.com/new-york/southampton/groundbreaking-speonk-commons-affordable-housing-project>
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> Groundbreaking For Speonk Commons Affordable Housing Project
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> For years, residents have discussed the proposed affordable housing project, to be sited where a dilapidated building stands in Speonk.
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> Jan 15, 2018 1:26 pm ET
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> SPEONK, NY — After years of discussion, an affordable housing project in Speonk is set to become a reality.
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> Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone will kick off a groundbreaking ceremony at Tuesday at 11 a.m. to mark the beginning of construction on the 38-unit affordable housing project on North Phillips Avenue.
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> The development will include a total of 38 apartments, of which 5 units will be reserved for residents earning up to 50% of area median income, 28 units will be available to residents earning up to 60% AMI and 4 units will be available to residents earning up to 90% AMI.
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> Speonk Commons will be located across from the Speonk Long Island Railroad Station and within walking distance to a variety of eateries and stores, making Speonk Commons a "transit-oriented development that will attract residents looking for affordable housing in downtown areas," a release from Bellone's office said.
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> The development is a "welcomed boost" for Bellone's Connect Long Island initiative which lays the groundwork for long-term economic growth across Suffolk County by connecting major roadways, Long Island Rail Road stations and transit-oriented downtowns, the release said.
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> In March, 2017, after years of debate <https://patch.com/new-york/southampton/speonk-commons-affordable-housing-plan-gets-green-light>, one failed proposal, and a change in owners, a dilapidated old building in Speonk was destined to become a memory as Speonk Commons got the green light from the Southampton town board to move forward.
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> The Southampton town board voted unanimously to authorize the change of zone application that opened the door for the development of the project, which calls for the creation of the 38 units of affordable apartments at 41 North Phillips Avenue in Speonk.
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> The change of zoning will allow for the multi-family residential designation. Developer Georgica Green Ventures teamed up with the Southampton Town Housing Authority to work toward creation of workforce housing in the hamlet.
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> The change of zone came after one public hearing and several community meetings that prompted the developers to scale back the original proposal from 51 units to 38, town officials said.
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> "This was a real community effort to create affordable housing for our hardworking residents," Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said.
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> The agreement came after a number of contentious meetings between the community and the developer — some consensus was reach after the developer reduced the number of units and changed the design, the town said.
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> Georgica Green President David Gallo said, at the time, "We're thrilled to move one step closer to delivering desperately needed housing in Southampton. I can't thank the local community, civic associations and the town board enough for their willingness to collaborate and create the best plan for Speonk and Southampton."
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> Executive Director of the Southampton Housing Authority, Curtis Highsmith, Jr. praised the residents of Speonk and Remsenburg. "They demonstrated a willingness to compromise and successfully took a stand for their beloved community."
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> Years of contention
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> The vote was a long time coming.
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> Not only did the property have a change of owners, but there was a sea of opposition in recent years from residents concerned about density in their sleepy hamlet.
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> In July, 2016, wearing buttons <https://patch.com/new-york/southampton/residents-raise-concerns-over-proposed-affordable-housing-project-speonk> that said "No Zone Changing", a crowd of concerned residents turned out for a Southampton Town board work session for a presentation on the proposed project in Speonk they said could bring an excess of density.
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> And while residents who spoke said they fully supported the concept of affordable housing, the project as initially proposed was too much for the quiet street proposed, at the previous number of apartments pitched.
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> The plan involves a parcel located at 41 North Phillips Avenue in Speonk, the site of a dilapidated, faded blue building, once majestic, that's long stood in disrepair, an eyesore on the blighted property.
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> For years, developer Jay Kopf had proposed a plan that called for 68 units on the 4.28 acre parcel, but those plans ultimately fell through.
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> Next, Jericho-based Georgica Green Ventures, LLC came before the town with a workforce housing plan that required the zone change.
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> Gallo has long said the project is aimed at addressing the "deficit" of workforce housing in Southampton.
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> The zone change would not require any variances or special exceptions, he has said.
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> Currently the parcel is split zoned, with a village business zoning designation along 1.45 acres along the streetfront, and the 2.83 acres on the back of the parcel zoned R20, or residential.
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> At present, 7 buildings sit on the land, he said, including the crumbling blue building so well known in Speonk.
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> The hope, Gallo said, has been to convert a portion of the village business, and all of the residential zoning, to MF44, or multi-family, and create affordable housing units on the land.
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> The businesses are slated to have apartments above; the first building would have apartments above and a not-for-profit agency community room.
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> The housing mix would include studios, one-bedroom units, and two-bedroom units, he said.
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> The studios would range from a minimum of 450 to a maximum of 550 square feet, the one bedrooms would range from 660 to 725 square feet, and the two bedrooms would run from 750 to 950 square feet; none would be "overly generous," he said.
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> All of the units, he said, would be rentals. A property manager would be on-site, he said.
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> In July, 2016, Schneiderman asked about rents. Gallo said studios would range from $930 to $1434; one-bedrooms from $1,000 to $1,500, and two bedrooms from $1,195 to $1,1750.
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> The income range would run from $37,000 to $86,000, with $86,000 the income for a family of four, restricted to 90 percent of the area median income.
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> The goal, Gallo said, is to provide housing for the area's teachers, nurses, firefighters, Town Hall and hospital employees, and other young professionals who cannot afford to live in Southampton Town. All would be carefully vetted, with six months of banking information, pay stubs, personal references and other criteria required, Gallo said.
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> The residential mix would be similar to the Sandy Hollow project in Tuckahoe, a project also spearheaded by Georgica Green, Gallo said.
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> The board asked for a yield analysis between what could be developed on the land as of right, compared to the what the project proposes.
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> Gallo said as of right, five, six-bedroom single family homes could be built, and that number could go up to 7 if the units were affordable — as well as apartments above the businesses fronting North Phillips; the units may not be owner occupied and well cared for, he said, and there would be no manager on-site.
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> Schneiderman asked if there was such a thing as an "affordable" 6-bedroom house "in the Hamptons."
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> A lengthy discussion was held in past years on the proposed sewage treatment plant; Gallo promised the best system possible would be given the green light, "whatever the best technology is."
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> As for design, Gallo said the hope would be to incorporate the turret design from the dilapidated old home on the parcel into the new structures.
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> Schneiderman brought up traffic woes on a street already hit hard by congestion once the guard rails go down for Long Island Rail Road trains to the north of the parcel.
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> Joyce Duck, longtime Eastport resident, was livid at the July, 2016, meeting. "I find it hard to believe in this quaint area we are exposed to a zoning change that could mean the deterioration and destruction of our community. This is not progress, and it only fills a few people's pockets."
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> She added that the roads, school system and local community could near handle the influx of people, stating that she opposed the project.
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> Speonk resident Craig Catalanotto, a founder of the Remsenburg Eastport Speonk Communities United, or RESCU, group, said, "We are not opposed to affordable housing. Our issue here is density."
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> With other projects on the horizon nearby slated to bring 70 homes in the small, bucolic area, known for its tree-lined streets and quiet, some residents have said density concerns are escalating, and traffic on North Phillips is already a concern. "Our goal is to find an equitable solution," he said.
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> The once-grand blue building, known to some as the "Castle," has a rich history. Originally a "cottage" owned by the Fordham family, the building was later know as the Kropp house.
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> Patch file photo.
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