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Southampton rallies against sex offender trailers

Parents, educators and the Southampton supervisor are rallying this morning against housing homeless sex offenders on county land in Westhampton Beach.

The town has brought action against the county, trying to get the trailers removed, but the county recently replaced them with ones that have air conditioners and working toilets.

The trailers house 20 to 30 sex offenders at any given time and are on industrial land that also has a rifle range and a warehouse.

Jennifer Garvey, a Southampton spokeswoman, said the town would seek a restraining order later Tuesday to prevent the new trailers from being hooked up.

Here's the town's full new release from Monday:

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst is calling for a temporary restraining order to halt the placement of upgraded trailers for homeless sex offenders at the Westhampton Beach site. The Town learned today that Suffolk County will replace the existing trailer with a larger one outfitted with running water, toilets and showers.

"To replace the existing trailers with larger, upgraded trailers complete with running water, toilers and showers certainly suggests a more permanent arrangement – which completely disregards the pleas of this community," she said.

The Town, along with local officials, has been imploring Suffolk County officials to relocate the temporary shelter site for more than 3 years. Under the current arrangement, Southampton Town houses the homeless sex offenders for all of Suffolk County at locations in Westhampton Beach and Riverside.

Under the County’s original plan, the trailer location would be moved periodically in order to share the burden amongst the different towns, but the trailers have never been moved.

"This is a plan that is taking place under the dark of night. The County did not even have the courtesy to call us directly to let us know this would be happening," she said.

Greg Blass, the Suffolk County Department of Social Services commissioner, responded in a written statement by saying the county understands the town's concerns, but efforts to "phase out" the trailers have been hampered by the county legislature.

He added:

"The new trailer on site is not increasing capacity; it is providing for showers and hot water as mandated by a New York State Administrative Judge.

The county is not subject to the Town’s zoning jurisdiction while carrying out governmental functions on county-owned land. The County Attorney’s office will argue this afternoon against the request for a Temporary Restraining Order, based upon the mandate of New York State.

We provided the courtesy of notice before installation to the area's County Legislator, who then agreed to notify the Town Supervisor.”

--Carl Corry contributed to this story

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