by Michael Daly
1. A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
2. A particular area or place considered together with its inhabitants.
3. The people of a district or country considered collectively, especially in the context of social values and responsibilities; society.
4. A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
After the November 2016 East End election, here’s what The Nature Conservancy had to say about the Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund:
“Nearly 80 percent of the electorate in Long Island’s five East End towns voted for the extension and expansion of the Community Preservation Fund to 2050. This will allow up to 20% of revenues to be used to improve water quality. This could raise nearly $2 billion for land protection work and $700 million for local water quality improvement projects. Since 1999, the Community Preservation Fund (CPF) has raised over $1 billion for land and historic preservation in East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold, which cover 40 percent of Suffolk County’s land.”
According to Suffolk Research Services, Inc., the median prices for single family residences in the five Eastern Long Island towns of Southampton, East Hampton, Riverhead, Southold and Shelter Island rose from approximately $229,000 in 1999 to $670,000 in 2016. That constitutes a nearly 300 percent increase in the median price of a home since not long after the Community Preservation Fund began collecting the 2 percent transfer tax on real estate sales on the East End.
During that same time period, median prices in the United States went from approximately $158,000 to $310,000, nearly 200 percent.
Are you making 300 percent of what you were making in 1999? Are teachers? Police officers? The guy who makes your pizza? The administrative assist at the law office? Are East End Town employees making 300 percent of what they were making in 1999?
I believe in conservation and preservation. I’m a member of the Peconic Land Trust Outreach Committee and volunteer for many PLT events. I applaud what we have done over the last 18 years to preserve farmland and the scenic beauty of our East End.
I also believe in the need for managing and improving our water quality by investing in better water treatment and sanitary systems for homes and businesses.
Bold measures must be taken to end the suffocation of our waterways in highly populated areas of our community by outdated septic systems that leach nitrogen and pollutants into them. That’s why I voted YES to extend the CPF to 2050 and to commit up to 20 percent of those funds to Clean Water.
We’ve done great with vistas and wildlife and are working on the fish. Land is getting scarce and prohibitively expensive. Now it’s time to commit to preserving the PEOPLE in the Community by dedicating at least 20 percent of CPF funds to building affordable workforce and mature adult housing in our community. If we can spend $2 billion on land protection and $700 million on local water quality, we can match that $700 million in providing our people with income-appropriate homes and apartments.
This is not a dream…this is a bold faced need. Young people are leaving the East End in droves because they can’t afford to live here. We have hundreds, perhaps thousands of illegal apartments, many of which do not meet health and safety codes.
A large part of our workforce is imported from other western townships and counties because they can’t afford to live here, so they burn fossil fuels and create traffic jams every morning and every evening all throughout the year.
Don’t we want our child’s teacher to live in the community they teach in? Aren’t public safety and municipal employees more vested in communities if they live in them as well as work in them? And what about your elders? Where can they go when their home doesn’t suit their physical needs any longer? Wouldn’t you prefer your mom, dad or grandparent to stay here with the family, instead of having them shipped off to the south because there’s no place here for them to live?
We will be meeting with like-minded people to move this housing initiative forward. Stand UP and let your voice be heard! Please email me or find me on East End YIMBY on Facebook if you’d like to join in the fun!
Michael Daly is an East Ender and regular contributor to The East End Beacon on community issues that he cares deeply about. He can be reached at 631.525.6000 or by email at email@example.com.