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Plans for more affordable housing in Southampton moving forward

A rendering of the Speonk Commons in Speonk,

A rendering of the Speonk Commons in Speonk, a 37-unit affordable housing project that tenants moved into in October 2019. Credit: Speonk Commons

Several affordable housing initiatives are moving forward in Southampton Town, including a proposed 180-unit Quiogue complex that, if approved, could be the biggest project of its kind ever built in the town.

Affordable housing is desperately needed in the Hamptons where many low- and middle-income earners have been priced out of the high-end real estate market particularly east of the Shinnecock Canal. Southampton Town recently agreed to hire VHB Inc., which has an office in Hauppauge, to study how many units are needed to support its workforce and suggest ways to build them. The report is expected to take at least a year to produce.

“We know the need is there,” Southampton Town Board Jay Schneiderman said during a recent town board work session. “Exactly how large it is may be somewhat up for debate, but we know it's large. We know it’s throughout the town.”

The town last year relaxed its code to allow more accessory apartments to be built. Tenants in October moved in at the 28-unit Sandy Hollow Cove Commons in Tuckahoe as well as the 37-unit Speonk Commons, both built by the same developer, Georgica Green Ventures.

Meanwhile, developers are pitching additional projects to meet the affordable housing need. 

Southampton Full Gospel Church and the Medford-based nonprofit Concern for Independent Living in January received town board permission to apply for a zone change, the next procedural step needed to build a 60-unit complex on County Road 39 in Tuckahoe.

Most recently, The NRP Group on March 5 presented to the Southampton Town Board its plans for a 17-acre parcel on Montauk Highway in Quiogue. Jonathan Gertman, vice president of development for the New York City-based group, said the firm envisioned building a complex for teachers, civil service workers, retail workers and others in the service industry.

“Particularly in this region where the income levels are so high, what we’re talking about … is really the people in many ways who make the town run on a day-to-day basis,” Gertman said.

Gertman described his firm as being in the “high-end” affordable housing business and said the buildings would feature gabled roofs and siding consistent with town aesthetics.

The plan calls a mix of one- two- and three-bedroom apartments with monthly rents ranging from $627 for a one-bedroom unit to $2,580 for a three-bedroom depending on a tenant’s income, according to Gertman’s presentation. NRP would be amenable to keeping the availability to those earning up to 80% of the area median income, which is $69,450 for an individual or $99,200 for a family of four. Gertman said NRP would conduct another round of outreach to the community after meeting with the town.

The project density will almost certainly be reduced according to town officials because the developers will need to show the plan doesn’t negatively impact the environment, school district or other community factors before receiving final approval. No official action has been taken.

“The numbers will necessarily have to come down. I’m sure you’ve considered that,” said town councilman John Bouvier. “I’d really like to see that get a little bit down to earth.”

Affordable housing plan

These are among the Southampton Town affordable housing initiatives:

• Town will hire planning firm to create an affordable housing study taking inventory of existing stock and suggesting solutions to create more

• The NRP Group is pitching a 180-unit affordable housing complex in Quiogue

• Concern for Independent Living and Full Gospel Church are proposing a 60-unit complex in Tuckahoe

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