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Southampton sued over affordable housing project

Tuckahoe residents are suing Southampton over the town

Tuckahoe residents are suing Southampton over the town board's approval of a 28-unit apartment complex that neighbors said doesn't belong in the area. Southampton Town Hall is shown here in an undated photo. Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

Tuckahoe residents are suing Southampton over the town board's approval of a 28-unit apartment complex that neighbors said doesn't belong in the area.

Five homeowners and a citizen's group, The Friends of Sandy Hollow Association, claim in the suit, which was filed Oct. 10 in state Supreme Court in Riverhead, that the town board approved the Sandy Hollow Cove apartments on 2.6 acres without seriously considering groundwater, wildlife and traffic issues or the town's own guidelines on multifamily housing.

The Southampton Town Board voted 5-0 in June to allow the three-building complex despite the protests and petitions of neighbors, who say the project is poorly sited. The suit states the site isn't within a safe or convenient walking distance of downtown areas or public transportation. It also alleges the town board broke several technical rules governing the approval of high-density zones known as Planned Development Districts.

Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said that the project would provide much-needed affordable housing in the town, where real estate prices are soaring.

A town spokeswoman declined to comment Wednesday.

The lawsuit seeks to reverse the town's approval.

"Everyone agrees that affordable housing is a problem, but the town's comprehensive plan says apartment buildings are not the solution," the residents' Southampton-based attorney, Nica Strunk, said in a phone interview Wednesday.

According to the suit, the town's own comprehensive plan favors accessory apartments over apartment buildings "in order to preserve the rural image of the community."

Strunk said the town board rushed an environmental review of the site, which lies in a wooded area near drinking-water wells and wildlife habitats.

The suit also names as defendants Georgica Green Ventures LLC, the project's developer; Glesir Development LLC, the site's owner; and the Southampton Housing Authority, which partnered with the developer on the project.

David Gallo, president of Georgica Green Ventures, did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

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