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Southampton Village, Town mull land annexation for condo project

Southampton Village Hall is pictured on May 24,

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

The owner of a 78-unit condominium complex that straddles the border between Southampton Village and Southampton Town wants the property to be completely within the village, in what would be a rare annexation for the area.

A joint meeting between the village and town boards will be held Thursday to consider redrawing boundaries around Bishop's Pond, a development under construction on the site of a former industrial site known as Rambo pit. It is the first annexation being discussed in Southampton in recent memory, Village Mayor Mark Epley said.

George Benedict, majority owner of the project and Epley's father-in-law, said the intent of the annexation is to improve public safety.

"It's common sense," he said. "We have two police departments [serving the project]. We have two ambulance companies."

Currently, about 5.2 acres of the development are in the village, while 7.8 acres are in the town.

Epley said he would abstain from the vote because of his relationship with Benedict.

Town officials have expressed concern this could set a precedent and cost the town money in property taxes. But Epley downplayed the potential for future annexations. "I don't know how many other opportunities are out there at this time that fit under the same category," he said.

The project, which will start accepting occupants in November, has been fully approved by town and village planning and zoning boards, Benedict said.

He does not know whether annexation would affect the development's taxes. "It's not paramount in my mind," he said, adding that he's not sure whether attorneys have done the analysis.

Police departments from both the village and town have written letters supporting the annexation, Benedict said.

Town officials Monday were still analyzing the fiscal impact of giving up the acreage.

"It's an interesting request and discussion from a civic perspective, so I'm looking forward to it," Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said in an email.

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