Southold Town officials said they may vote again this month on a proposed parcel rezoning to build affordable housing that some residents and legislators said comes down to a choice between creating a more inclusive community or protecting Southold’s rural character.
The town board voted 6-0 at its July 5 meeting to table a vote to rezone a 5.66-acre parcel of land on the south side of County Road 48 in Cutchogue from agricultural conservation to affordable housing district. Approving the property’s rezoning would clear the way for a proposed 24-unit rental housing project on Middle Road.
The development, according to the proposal from Jericho-based developer Georgica Green Ventures, would include 48 parking spaces for the 600- to 725-square-foot one-bedroom units, 750- to 950-square-foot two-bedroom units and 900- to 1,150-square-foot three-bedroom townhomes.
Chris Larken, of Greenport, said at a June 21 hearing that the project offers an “extremely viable opportunity to increase housing stock for eligible applicants.”
Paul Romanelli, a Cutchogue business owner, said at the same hearing that he also supports the project.
“It’s what we can use in this town, and frankly, if we can find more places for this in Southold Town and other hamlets, I would endorse this again,” Romanelli said.
However, Suffolk Legis. Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) said he opposes the project and suggests preserving the land instead.
“I support the development of affordable housing in Southold Town…but the signing of the proposed project would be contrary to smart-growth principles, the use of town planning initiatives and is antithetical to the town’s stated goal of protecting Southold’s environment and maintaining its sense of rural character,” Krupski said at the hearing.
Several town board members said a revote is expected to be discussed again within the next two weeks.
Supervisor Scott Russell told Newsday that usually for public hearings that are “of such a significant nature,” the board wants time to consider all public commentary and any submitted documents.
“We usually table the vote, then vote at the meeting two weeks later,” Russell said. “I honestly don’t know how this one is going to go. There are good points to be made both for and against the application. We’ll see how it shakes out.”
The board held hearings on the project June 21 and July 5.
Rona Smith, a partner with Georgica Green Ventures on the project, said Friday that while she acknowledges that the project will likely face a tight vote from the board, she hopes people can see how having more affordable housing units will make the town a viable option for its residents.
“It’s a project that’s about what kind of future Southold wants to have,” Smith said. “Does it want more McMansions where people are only here part time, or does it want to have a community that has always thrived here?”
DEVELOPER: Georgica Green Ventures
LOCATION: Middle Road in Cutchogue
UNITS: 24 rentals ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms measuring 600 to 1,150 square feet