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Amagansett workforce housing project draws support and concerns

A completed, 3-D model, shown on Dec. 28,

A completed, 3-D model, shown on Dec. 28, 2015, of a cottage-style rental apartment complex being planned for affluent Amagansett by the East Hampton Housing Authority with the goal of providing affordable housing to people who work in the hamlet. Construction on the $18 million project is expected to begin in 18 months and be completed by 2019. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Opposition has surfaced to an $18 million, 40-unit workforce housing project planned for Amagansett.

A petition was started on April 5 on the website challenging the project due to the adverse impact petition organizers say it will have on the hamlet, including its school system, traffic and emergency services.

In response to that effort, an East Hampton Housing Authority petition was launched two days later for project supporters, urging them to attend a school board meeting on the morning of April 12. However, the matter was not on the agenda or discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.

The housing, planned for workers in East Hampton Town who cannot afford to live there and to give struggling residents an opportunity to remain in town, is planned for completion in 2019 and is awaiting various approvals.

“We are opposed to the Town of East Hampton’s plan to build a 40 unit apartment complex at 531 Montauk Hwy., Amagansett,” states the petition from the Concerned Residents of Amagansett.

It adds: “We believe that this project will have a negative impact on our water quality, traffic, emergency services, property taxes, the Amagansett School, our public utilities and natural resources.”

However, Housing Authority executive director Katy Casey said in an interview that the objections are unfounded.

Casey said the complex will be a “walkable transit oriented community.” She said that local school enrollment is declining, and that with the district’s projections of 36 to 72 additional students if the project is completed, “The actual dollar increase to the total tax bill on a $1 million property would range between $138 and $315 per year.”

The Housing Authority has also secured funding for a state-of-the-art waste water treatment system, Casey added.

The Housing Authority petition said that opponents of the project “are few.” As of April 4, there were 20 Concerned Residents of Amagansett petition signers and 61 on the Housing Authority’s document.

“Please express your support for a much needed community development proposal that would provide 40 opportunities of affordable housing for East Hampton residents earning up to 120 percent of area median income plus entrepreneurial opportunities for small business owners to live and work locally,” the Housing Authority’s petition says.

It adds: “Let the decision makers know the small group of vocal opponents do not accurately represent community opinion.”

Project opponent Lisa Iddings, of Manhattan, said in her petition comment: “The main concern with a large commercial building in Amagansett is the effect on the currently balanced water and farming environment.”

Iddings added, “Placing such a large building on a small plot of land can have detrimental effects on surrounding water sources and come summer, with the already heightened crowd, cause even more delays and traffic congestion, leading to higher pollution of gas emissions in a large farming community with delicate water and ground soil maintenance.”

Amagansett resident Kristen Petersen said on the same petition: “I think it’s important we know all the facts on how this development will impact our community.”

Features of the $18 million workforce housing project in Amagansett proposed by the East Hampton Housing Authority:

-40 cottage-style units

-affordable housing for residents earning up to 120 percent of area median income

- 4 commercial suites

-transit oriented and walkable

-on-site waste water treatment

-rain gardens

-bike kiosk and trail

-common green area and playground

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