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East Hampton to guarantee $250G town housing authority loan

A 3-D model of a cottage-style rental apartment

A 3-D model of a cottage-style rental apartment complex being planned for Amagansett is shown on Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

East Hampton Town board members have voted to guarantee a $250,000 loan for a down payment on land for affordable cottage-style rental apartments to be constructed in Amagansett.

The $18 million East Hampton Housing Authority project is to include a cluster of about 15 small wood-frame structures on a vacant 4.7-acre tract at 531 Montauk Hwy.

Plans are from 30 to 40 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments to be priced from $1,000 to $2,200 per month, with about 20 percent of the units being available to Section 8 applicants.

Housing Authority executive director Katy Casey said in a telephone interview Monday that the goal of the project is to provide affordable housing to people who work in Amagansett but cannot afford to live in the pricey hamlet, and to provide an alternative to Amagansett residents struggling to afford to stay there. Land in Amagansett averages about $600,000 an acre, and about 65 percent of houses in the hamlet are second homes.

“By guaranteeing the loan, the town is publicly stating they are in favor of this project at this location,” Casey said. “We can’t build without their authorization.”

She said prospective residents are so excited about the project they have begun inquiring directly to the housing authority.

“People want to get on the [waiting] list,” which would not be compiled until construction begins in about 18 months, Casey said.

“For now, we’re focusing on the infrastructure, engineering, the architectural design, utilities . . . then we’ll start the other side,” Casey said. “I know we won’t have any problem finding tenants. A lot of people are cost-burdened and can’t afford housing in East Hampton.”

No objections have been raised at public meetings on the project.

Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said there is a “tremendous need” for affordable housing in East Hampton and that the project is “a major step in the right direction.”

He said employers “can’t retain employees because the market has priced out low, moderate income and working families throughout the town.”

He added town officials will “aggressively” look for more opportunities to provide local affordable housing.

Casey said the $250,000 loan guarantee board members approved at their Dec. 15 work session will be used to begin the purchase of the site, which Puerto Rico-based Putnam Farm Holdings LLC is selling for about $3.4 million. She said the money will be used for a deposit on the property and to pay for the services of “outside professionals” such as architects, engineers and attorneys.

Other funding for the project — expected to be completed by 2019 — would come from the state Division of Homes and Community Renewal, Casey said.

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