Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said sewer infrastructure is among the...

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said sewer infrastructure is among the challenges to offering more affordable housing options for residents.   Credit: Randee Daddona

Creating more affordable housing options, road improvements and expanding code enforcement were among the goals Southold Supervisor Scott Russell set for 2019 in his State of the Town address on Wednesday at Town Hall.

Russell said he is seeking  to create 50 additional affordable apartments or units in Southold in the next three years.  That would be in addition to the 50 affordable apartments — a goal Russell set in 2016 — expected to be created with the Vineyard View complex, on which construction is to start this year.

 He said those units were “only a small portion of addressing the critical need that is affordable housing. It is a crisis in Southold Town.”

Russell said challenges  to affordable housing include the lack of infrastructure such as sewer systems, which the supervisor said makes it difficult for developers to achieve the density needed to make affordable housing developments economically viable.

 In one way to tackle that problem, Russell said Southold would continue participating with the  state Department of Health to expand the use of alternative waste treatment systems.

 He added that Suffolk County’s reluctance to expand the scope of its approval for sewers beyond onsite use for homes to commercial properties and others “discourages businesses to invest and grow and doesn’t allow the town to achieve density levels needed to address affordable housing.” That, Russell said, must change.

Improvement of local roads was also highlighted in Russell’s speech. He said he would again propose establishing weight limits this year for Peconic Bay Boulevard in Mattituck. The idea  was suggested in years past, but was not well received by Southold’s Transportation Commission.

Russell said the town would also be working with several businesses to get them to adopt business plans that discourage party buses and limousines. He said the effort will be geared toward limiting such vehicles that “impact our roads and our quality of life by reducing the number of venues where they are welcomed.”

The supervisor also said the town would look to acquire land through the creation of a $5 million flexible farmland bond, which Russell said would allow Southold to work with landowners to acquire key parcels. The development rights of the property would be retained by the town, and the property would be resold to farmers or agricultural operations seeking land to farm on.

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