A REPORT ON THE BRIDGEHAMPTON CAC MEETING NOVEMBER 22, 2010

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Discussion with Trustee Havemeyer concerning access to the Sagaponack Beach from the Eastern end of Surfside Drive. Jeff Mansfield

Mr. Havemeyer related the history of Trustee ownership and governance of the bay and pond properties and beach access. He said that in the latter part of the 20th century responsibility for governance had passed to the Town Board of Southampton. In the case of this particular access, the original owners of property bordering Surfside  Drive had decided not to cede ownership of the road to the Town. Thus access to the beach at the east end remained with the property owners. The most eastern plot on Surfside drive is owned by the Town; however, the access to the beach is not controlld by the town in the opinion of adjacent landowner(s). As a result barriers have been erected and plantings installed which inhibit access to the beach at this location. Legal proceedings that challenge the basis for public access have not been defended by the Town. The CAC suggested that Jeff Mansfield , a CAC member, and Peter Larkin , a longtime Surfside property owner, try to work out  a limited access arrangement among the totality of property owners along this route. Mr. Havemeyer offered his assistance on behalf of the Trustees.

Twin Eagle Nursery Change of Use Application Opposition  Kathi Locovare and Daniel West , neighbors..Attorney Eric Bregman

Twin Eagle Nursery located at 489 Lumber Lane has applied for relief from present regulations limiting outdoor storage of equipment and preventing conducting a compost processing  business on the premises of  the Tree Farm located at this address. The neighbors protest the extended use of this property in that it creates undue disturbance to those residing nearby and is indeed the basis for an illegal use of the property. The CAC is awaiting comment from the neighbors’ attorney, Eric Bragman.

A Resolution and Covering Letter from The Bridgheampton CAC  regarding 2010 budget negotiations and resulting decisions by the Town Board

FROM: The members of the Bridgehampton CAC

TO: The Members of the Southampton Town Board 116 Hampton Road Southampton, NY 11968

November 28, 2010

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen;

The Bridgehampton CAC is fortunate to have three of our members  invited by the Southampton Town Board to be on the Financial Advisory Committee to the Town Board. We have been delighted by the reception and courtesy that all members of the Town Board, as well as those who are members of the Financial Services Department,  have shown the Advisory Committee  in their  interactions with the  Town.  In addition we are grateful for the warm and instructive discussions that we have had with members of the Town Board and Department leaders and their staffs over the past year at our monthly CAC meetings. . It helps us greatly to have these interchanges with all of you, and we hope we are constructive in our reactions.

To that end, we hope that you will accept the enclosed resolution, passed unanimously at our CAC meeting on November 22, 2010. Its content is offered as a plea for  more worthy budget procedures, free from the hasty decisions made during the 2010 process. We all know that “this is the way it has been done in the past,” but it is an awful way to present and consider a budget, and it smacks of partisan considerations that are helpful to nobody. Indeed the process easily leads to potential, costly policy errors

We respect and are understanding of the enormous  strains on all of you; we are aghast at your workloads , and we truly are admiring of each of you. There is no questioning in our minds that you all have the best interests of the citizens of our town at heart; therefore we hope you will accept the criticism we offer in the constructive spirit that  is our intent.

A RESOLUTION FROM THE BRIDGEHAMPTON CITIZENS’ ADVISORY  COMMITTEE   CONCERNING SOUTHAMPTON TOWN BUDGET

AMENDMENT PROCEDURES WHEREAS

JENICE DELANO AND IAN MACPHERSON ARE MEMBERS OF THE TOWN’S BUDGET AND FINANCE COMMITTEE AND MEMBERS OF THE BRIDGEHAMPTON CAC.

WHEREAS

AT A MEETING WITH THE TOWN BOARD ON THURSDAY NOVEMBER 18TH THEY WERE GIVEN A COPY OF PROPOSED NEW RESOLUTIONS CONCERNING THE BUDGET WHICH HAD BEEN ISSUED, FOR THE FIRSTTIME, THE PREVIOUS EVENING.

WHEREAS

THERE WERE 18 NEW RESOLUTIONS RELATING TO THE BUDGET,15 OF WHICH HAD NOT BEEN REVIEWED BY THE COMPTROLLER), WHICH ALSO INVOLVED OVER ONE HUNDRED AMENDMENTS AND CHANGES TO THE TOWN’S ORGANISATION.

WHEREAS

IT WAS NOT IN ANY SENSE REASONABLE THAT THESE RESOLUTIONS, COULD BE GIVEN THE PROPER DISCUSSION AND INVESTIGATION WITHIN THE TIME AVAILABLE BEFORE THE BUDGET HAD TO BE VOTED ON

THE FOLLOWING DAY NOVEMBER 19TH THEREFORE THE BRIDGEHAMPTON CAC AT ITS MEETING ON NOVEMBER 22ND UNANIMOUSLY PASSED THE FOLLOWING MOTION

THE CAC RESPECTFULLY REQUEST THAT ALL BUDGET AMENDMENTS ARE SUBMITTED FOR DISCUSSION AMONG THE MEMBERS OF THE TOWN BOARD NO LATER THAN TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO BEING VOTED ON SO THAT EACH IS GIVEN PROPER CONSIDERATION ON ITS MERITS.

THE CAC ALSO REQUESTS THAT PRELIMINARY BUDGETS AND SUBSEQUENT RECCOMENDED AMENDMENTS TO A  PROPOSED BUDGET BE POSTED ON THE TOWN WEBSITE IN A TIMELY FASHION PRIOR TO A FINAL VOTE ON THE BUDGET TO ENCOURAGE PUBLIC COMMENT.

E. Report by CAC member Peter Wilson on Town of Southampton PDD Task Force Committee Meeting on Nov 17, 2010

The purpose of the meeting was to broaden the base of the Committee to include CAC and other community groups to have input on the PDD law modifications being currently undertaken. There were about (15) persons in attendance and the meeting was chaired by Frank Zappone, Assistant Town Supervisor. Also present of note was Dennis Finnerty of the Planning Board, Jeff Murphree of the Land Management Department, representatives from other Town departments, and various CAC committees.

A copy of the revised law was distributed by Jenifer Garvey of the Supervisor’s office and Frank Zappone opened by stating that the purpose of the meeting was to solicit community comments to a draft document that was prepared by the various “expert”staff people, and to invite input from the lay group. He also stated that the overall conceptual purpose of revising the law itself was to make the process more sensitive to public input in the initial stages of the process, to manage the application time frame more clearly and predictably for the applicants, to examine the implications of development density impact as a planning issue, and to clarify the definition of “community benefit” as it affects each hamlet area of the Town.

Following are a summary of the comments and some responses:

1. Shouldn’t some areas of the Town, where there are particular sensitivities to some particular land-uses (such as low-income housing), be ear-marked as off-limit to the use of PDD’s?

This would presumably be taken care of in the section that restricts PDD applications to hamlet-driven priorities. Perhaps some attention could be given to development of a “community priority threshold”  that would reflect particular hamlet concerns.

2. The use of Pine Barren credits should be restricted in some areas. ( all of the Pine Barrens are located in the west side of the Town and are a preserve area where development is strictly limited- the idea is to permit increased sewage loading density as a trade-off in other less restricted areas, by purchasing these credits )

Pine Barren credits and applications are mandated by State code and are mainly restricted to Board of Health (sanitary loading ) criteria, but the Town  can make their application guidelines more strict than these guidelines if it chooses to.3.  More emphasis should be placed on the public notice section in order to increase public awareness of meetings, etc.

This issue of notification was discussed at some length and appears to be a very sensitive one for the group. The Town Planning Board currently places a meeting announcement  in the Legal Notices section of the newspaper and has the applicant do a certified mailing only to adjacent landowners and neighbors across the street or within 100  feet of the subject  property. This is pretty inadequate, especially given   the scale of  most of the PDD proposals. The staff have suggested a large newspaper  add by the applicant  and the group suggested increasing the notification period (prior to public hearing )to (14) calendar days, as well increasing the radius of the  mailings to 500 feet or  more. It was also suggested that the time of the hearings be  considered (day v.s. night ) when trying to increase participation.

The staff feels that the area CAC’s and other interested community groups should play a more pro-active role in increasing public awareness and participation in the hearing process, particularly at the early stages of these projects. The Town can play an important role by maintaining application info on their website and the CAC should develop and maintain it’s own local email list to alert neighbors about these applications.

5. Some areas of the Town, particularly Hampton Bays and Flanders, are in favor of taking affordable housing off the “community benefit” list entirely, or at least in their hamlets, since they seem to be disproportionately targeted for this type of use. It is felt that this decision should be up to the hamlet, rather than left to the discretion of the Town Board and planners. This seemed to be a lightning rod issue for several membersthe group.

No one seems to want to accommodate  affordable housing, so it is a very tough  issue to deal with. Typically, neighborhoods and planning boards that haverejected projects have found themselves facing tenacious developers in the courtsand  have had a difficult time maintaining their positions. Some ratio of build-outin particular areas should be established in order for neighborhoods to resistgetting more than their share. Rather than develop this issue in detail under thePDD law, it should be cross-referenced to the Town Code sections that deal withaffordable housing.

6. Traffic impact is an issue that developers tend to minimize in their studies bymanipulating data . Can’t something be done to force a more balanced evaluation of this and made a more important criteria for considering these proposals?

7. Developers narrative descriptions seem to be inadequate when presenting proposals. Could staff intervene more or provide interpretations in this part of the application process in order to get more clarity for the public?

The responsibility of  the staff is limited to recommending actions to the Planning Board and applicants. Only the Boards can make“determinations” and they do not always agree with staff. These narratives are frequently limited to one page descriptions of the project. The burden for requesting additional information from applicants is up to the discretion of the Boards, not staff.

8.  If the Town Board declines to take action on a proposal within the required time frame, does this mean the project can proceed to the next review step, or does it  utomatically become a “no” vote. The project cannot proceed forward without a positive decision from the Town Board.

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