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Developer seeks Southampton Village expansion

Southampton Village Hall is pictured on May 24,

Southampton Village Hall is pictured on May 24, 2012. Credit: Erin Geismar

A developer’s request to have Southampton Village’s boundary expanded to cover his entire development would cost the Town of Southampton about $28,000 a year in lost taxes, the developer’s attorney said during a joint hearing Thursday between the village and town boards.

It’s a dollar amount that David J. Gilmartin, attorney for the Bishops Pond condo development, called “infinitesimal” for the town’s $82 million budget. “It would have almost no impact,” he said.

While town and village board members were mostly silent yesterday, some audience members at the rare joint hearing worried it would set a dangerous precedent.

Susan Stevenson, a town resident, warned against making a change “specific for one developer to help their investment.”

George Benedict is majority owner of the 77-unit project. His son-in-law, Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley, recused himself at the start of the meeting and left the room.

The project, on a former industrial site that drew complaints from neighbors, straddles the town and village.

Gilmartin said it was a “nightmare” to get the permits and go through the building process with the two municipalities. Additionally, he said, village police and ambulance services could provide better service to the development than the town could.

Steven Dubb, project manager for Bishops Pond, said that while the project is under construction and they have necessary permits, “logistically, it would be helpful to us” to only have to deal with one government entity.

Some of the development’s units, valued at $800,000 each, are divided by the invisible line that separates town from village.

Gilmartin said there would be no tax benefit to the owner by being in the village alone. In fact, property taxes paid by some of the residents would likely go up by about $100 a year by being in the village.

Another public hearing was scheduled for next month.

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