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Hampton Bays weighs incorporation at meeting
More than a hundred Hampton Bays residents gathered Monday night to talk about forming a village, and listened to officials from Mastic Beach — Long Island’s newest village — talk about the process and what happened after their village was created in 2010.
The Mastic Beach officials said it costs a lot of money to create a village — $40,000 in their case, for attorney fees, petition gathering, engineering studies and maps showing proposed village boundaries, and checking lists of eligible voters — and requires talking to a lot of people about what kind of services the new village should provide and what that would cost.
But they said the benefits outweighed the costs. Before Mastic Beach was created, there were 500 rental permits issued in the community; afterward, village officials learned 1,600 houses were being rented and many failed to meet village or town codes.
Several people at the Hampton Bays meeting were concerned about increased code enforcement and quality of life issues. Some complained that Southampton Town does not respond quickly to their problems, others worried a new village would increase their taxes.
Bruce King, president of the Hampton Bays Civic Association, said a new village could set its priorities, but cautioned that the more people want, the more that would cost them. “Everything costs money,” he said.
One of the first priorities is to figure out where the new village lines should be drawn.
State law limits new villages to no more than five square miles, unless the village follows an existing government boundary, such as a school district or a fire district.
The hamlet is about 18 square miles — including 5 square miles of water.
“I feel we should take in all of Hampton Bays,” said Mike Dunn, co-chair of the Hampton Bays Citizens Advisory Committee, a group formed by the Southampton Town board to make recommendations about issues important to the community.
The civic association is requesting comments be sent to its website or Facebook page — facebook.com/HamptonBaysCivicAssociation.