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Southampton amends housing regulations

In a change that could have a significant impact on future affordable housing projects in Southampton, the town board this week voted to amend its regulations governing such housing in Planned Development Districts — major projects that are exempted from local zoning code restrictions.

In the past, supplying affordable housing, even if more homes were built than local zoning would otherwise permit, was considered to meet the required public benefit of a PDD project because of a townwide need for such housing.

Under the change, the benefit must be shown to meet the needs of a specific hamlet rather than the entire town, and the increased density must be shown not to have an adverse impact on a specific school district.

For years, some communities in Southampton, such as Flanders and Hampton Bays, have complained that they already have more than their fair share of affordable housing projects and the higher school costs that go with them, while communities in the eastern part of the town have few, if any, homes that are affordable for lower-income families.

The town board approved the change by a 4-0 vote at its meeting Tuesday night.

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