East Hampton Town leads Suffolk County in three notable realms, said Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc in his Jan. 3 State of the Town address: by its high cost of living, with the highest poverty rate in Suffolk County, and, on the bright side, with the highest number of affordable housing units per capita on Long Island.
But that number of housing units, now over 600, is not enough, said Mr. Van Scoyoc.
“I see the housing problem as one of the most serious and immediate threats to the well-being and sustainability of our community,” he said. “Beginning immediately, I am announcing All Hands on Housing, an initiative to advance solutions to address the housing crisis as fast as possible. Each board member will be working on a specific aspect of this problem: development of the Community Housing Fund Plan, zoning changes, land acquisition, and project development.”
On Jan. 10, Mr. Van Scoyoc provided more details of individual board members’ roles in the All Hands on Housing effort.
Councilman David Lys will take the lead on a planned affordable housing project on 12 acres that the town has purchased at 395 Pantigo Road in East Hampton, where the town plans to build single family homes.
Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez will work on affordable rental housing, including development of a project at the former Triune Baptist Church on Route 114 in the Northwest Woods, just southeast of Sag Harbor, where the town has purchased 8.5 acres and is in the process of establishing an Affordable Housing Overlay zoning district.
As liaison to the East Hampton Housing Authority, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez will also coordinate with the Housing Authority on their affordable housing project on Three Mile Harbor Road in East Hampton.
Newly elected Councilwoman Cate Rogers will take the lead on long-range planning for future affordable housing, working to identify suitable sites for new projects.
Councilwoman Sylvia Overby will work on long-term housing goals and strategies, including assessing possible town code changes to support new affordable housing efforts and revisions to the town’s Community Housing Opportunity Fund Plan, and will oversee the town Office of Housing and Community Development.
voters, Mr. Van Scoyoc will oversee preparations for the Community Housing Fund, which would be funded by a 1/2 percent real estate transfer tax if passed in a public referendum this November. He will also be in charge of the local legislation and housing plan to be implemented after passage of the referendum.
“This will be the town’s most significant housing effort to date and crucial to ensuring that we have people to police our streets, educate our youth, respond to emergencies, and provide services and continuity to the community,” said Mr. Van Scoyoc.