The Southampton Town Board is planning to open and close a public hearing on the proposed affordable Sandy Hollow Cove rental apartment complex in Tuckahoe scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 24, without comment, said Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst at Thursday’s special meeting, Sept. 19.
She said the town has put together a group of affordable housing experts from Suffolk County and neighboring towns to “look at the plan and get back to us on whether the model is the only sustainable one or whether there are other ways to approach this.”
Councilwoman Bridget Fleming said the town’s housing authority is still making the rounds of community meetings with a PowerPoint presentation about the project.
“They’re talking to folks who are concerned about it,” she said, adding that the housing authority is helping clear up misunderstandings about the project.
“They can certainly do that,” said Ms. Throne-Holst.
As of Oct. 1, Southampton Town will again have a juvenile aid officer in its police department, after three years without an officer who deals directly with at-risk youth, due to budget cuts.
The Southampton Town Board discussed the duties of the new officer, who will be charged with rebuilding a department that at one point had a Sergeant and three police officers, at a work session Sept. 19.
The town’s Juvenile Aid Bureau used to run the Drug Abuse Resistance Program in schools throughout Southampton, assist with the youth court, with sex offender cases and in developing relationships with kids who get into trouble in an attempt to nip their behavior in the bud before it becomes dangerous, Police Chief Robert Pearce told the Town Board.
“They used to do so much. We wanted to get a sense what the priorities should be,” Councilwoman Bridget Fleming told the board. “Particularly after [the school shooting in] Newtown, we learned the schools were really missing this officer.
Chief Pearce said he would like the officer to begin by interacting with kids who are already beginning to have brush-ins with the law.
“We don’t want it to end up where they’ll be in criminal court. We want to nip it in the bud,” he said. “This is one of the few proactive things that we can do with this department.”
Southampton Youth Bureau Director Nancy Lynott told the board she’d like to expand on that role.
“We are very much about a multidisciplinary approach,” she said, adding that she hopes the officer will become involved with the youth court.
“It’s about building familiarity between young people and law enforcement, and it’s also preventative,” she said. “Juvenile aid allows the police force to be proactive.”
East Hampton Town
Councilman Dominick Stanzione briefly floated a proposal to create a town manager for East Hampton at the town board’s Sept.17 meeting, but his idea was roundly ridiculed by other members of the board.
Councilwoman Sylvia Overby said his proposal seemed to be a slap in the face to the one official candidate in the running for town supervisor this fall — Larry Cantwell — who served as East Hampton’s village administrator, a role very similar to that of a town manager, for decades.
“I didn’t mention Larry Cantwell,” said Mr. Stanzione.
“You didn’t have to. I find that to say you’re undercutting Larry Cantwell right away. That’s a salvo,” she said.
“I have the highest regard for Larry,” said Mr. Stanzione.
“Certainly as a village administrator, Larry was second to none,” said Ms. Overby. “I’m a little taken aback by that opening comment.”
“This is something that will clearly be left to next generation of leadership,” said Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson. “It certainly wouldn’t be right for me to burden a new supervisor with something of this nature.”
Councilwoman Theresa Quigley likened the position of town manager to a dictatorship, because the public doesn’t vote on the manager’s appointment.
“As difficult as democracy is, I’ll take democracy over dictatorship,” she said. “I think we should have town manager. I just think it should be the supervisor.”
East Hampton board members also discussed the budget for the town airport with Town Comptroller Charlene Kagel. They were anticipating Airport Manager Jim Brundige would attend the meeting, but he was nowhere to be found. The airport is expected to need to use $300,000 of its $1.4 million surplus this year due to the cost of an environmental impact statement prepared to federal standards for the seasonal air traffic control tower put in place at the beginning of the summer. Board members were upset because they were never asked to authorize the payment to consultants who prepared the study.
“The fault lies in the fact that nobody came back to the town board and said ‘we’ve gotta spend this money,'” said Ms. Quigley, who added that she also doesn’t want to see consultants submitting invoices for potato chips and cappuccino that they buy en route to meetings in East Hampton.
The East Hampton board is also debating whether to create a new rental registry, which could be done using an online form, said Mr. Stanzione, who has been discussing the registry with the town’s IT department.
Ms. Quigley said she thought it would be more helpful if the town first put its building permit forms online, and added that she thought the registry was burdensome for town workers and for law-abiding residents who may exceed the occupancy of their houses when they have company over.
Riverhead’s town board denied Steve Mezynieski’s request for a permit to excavate $1 million worth of sand from land his son plans to farm on Sound Avenue, in order to make the land easier to farm. The Mezynieskis say that New York State’s Right to Farm law permits them to regrade their land.
Southold Town meets tomorrow, Sept. 24. The agenda is available online here.