The North Fork Civics, a coalition of civic associations from throughout Southold Town, has been working with the Southold Town Board and its Code Committee for more than a year on a proposal to limit the size of houses that can be built in Southold Town.

The public will have its first chance to weigh in on the proposal at a public hearing at the Southold Town Board’s meeting on Tuesday, June 21, which is at 4:30 p.m. 

Development has run rampant in Southold Town in recent years, and developers are replacing modest homes on small lots in neighborhoods throughout the town with large homes on a scale that has historically been more typical of the South Fork than the North Fork. 

Many other East End towns and villages have restricted this type of development, and the North Fork Civics have modeled their request for this zoning change in Southold after codes that have been effective in neighboring towns. 

The proposed local law limits the maximum gross floor area in residential and agricultural-conservation zoning districts and limits the height of residential buildings to 35 feet for buildings with sloping roofs and 25 feet for buildings with flat or mansard roofs, and a “pyramid law” which further limits roof heights near property lines.

The limits to maximum gross floor area would be on a sliding scale based on the size of the building lot. For example, on a quarter-acre lot, the maximum house size would be 2,100 square feet, while the maximum house size on lots between one and two acres would be 5,100 square feet, plus five percent of the area in excess of one acre, with a maximum of 7,100 square feet.

The maximum for lots larger than five acres would be 10,100 square feet plus one percent of any additional lot area in excess of five acres.

The proposed law does not apply to farm labor housing.

The full text of the proposal can be viewed at

To view an updated version of the Civic Association presentation from May of 2021 go to the North Fork Civic Association’s website at

The North Fork Civics are urging members of the public to weigh in on this proposal, which they believe is a vital part of implementing Southold’s Comprehensive Plan, which calls for future planning to be consistent with existing community character. They are also hoping to partner with the town on implementation of more measures outlined in the Comprehensive Plan to protect the tranquility and rural nature of Southold, and are urging the public to continue to stay engaged and make their voices heard on these issues.

They’re also asking residents to answer a survey to determine their most pressing concerns about the future of the town. Here’s the survey.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

2 thoughts on “North Fork Civics Urge Public to Weigh in on House Size Code

  1. Check the Princeton New Jersey Zoning code. They developed a good limit on height of homes based on setbacks from property line.

  2. I strongly support the development modification of the gla allowance for homes in the town of Southold. As a owner in the Fleets Neck section of Cutchogue we have seen monstrosities built on small lots that disrupt the beauty and scenic views. The people that build these homes have no regard for their neighbors , only their self satisfaction. There needs to be parameters to prevent the destruction of these neighborhoods. Limitations on the size of a home to be built is paramount. I hope the town hears the voices of the people and takes action in limiting the allowable gross living area for new homes.

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