Hearing, Homes, And Hessel’s Hairstreak

Independent/Kitty Merrill

“Unsafe, dangerous, and improperly maintained” conditions at a Robinson Road, North Sea, property prompted a public hearing before the Southampton Town Board. Rescheduled from yesterday to tomorrow due to a predicted storm, the hearing is designed to allow the public to comment on the property conditions in advance of the town jumping in to make it safe — secure the main structure, demolish a partially collapsed portion of it, and remove debris — and bring it into compliance with town code. All expenses incurred by the town will be passed on to the landowner.

Also during deliberations tomorrow, the board plans to consider a resolution asking the state to review the speed limit on Montauk Highway along the Water Mill–Bridgehampton corridor. It’s been over 10 years since the state Department of Transportation last reviewed the data. Since then, according to the resolution, there’s been a 32-percent increase in traffic, and crashes, and development. Against the backdrop of the three contributing factors, town officials are asking the state DOT to consider lowering the speed limit in the area. Limits in the vicinity range from 30 to 45 mph currently.

Thursday’s agenda also includes the setting of a public hearing to consider the acquisition of a .49-acre tract on Cedar Lane in North Sea. Community Preservation Fund monies will be used for the purchase of the land as open space. Located within the watershed of Little Fresh Pond, it’s one of the only remaining fragments of coastal Atlantic white cedar swamp on Long Island’s East End. “Cedar bogs” are a key habitat for rare species such as the Hessel’s hairstreak, a green butterfly whose larvae feeds solely on the Atlantic white cedar, according to the resolution.

“These towering evergreen stands also offer unique outdoor research and educational opportunities,” the resolution continues. They provide a “striking contrast” to neighboring developed land.

Development and pollution are the greatest threat to the North Sea swamps, the hearing notice notes.

In other business, two lucky winners will soon have the chance of obtaining the American Dream in a new housing lottery offered by the Town of Southampton. Letters were sent to 252 applicants to notify them that they have qualified for a lottery for two newly constructed three bedroom/two bath homes in Southampton. The lottery will be held at town hall today at 2 PM.

Qualified first-time homebuyers were required to submit applications to the Long Island Housing Partnership by the February 28 deadline. The homes, located on Moses Lane and Magee Street, will sell for $332,400.00. The Town of Southampton donated the land. The homes were constructed under the direction of the Southampton Business Alliance Housing Initiative Corporation and the Southampton Business Alliance.

Finally, discussion points at last week’s town board work session included updates about the recent storms, the opioid task force, and the community center in Westhampton Beach:

• Supervisor Jay Schneiderman pointed out to colleagues that there were “two nor’easters since we last met.” Seven roads were closed during the storms, but he said, “On the whole, things held up pretty well.”

• The opioid task force will hold its next forum, one designed for youth, on March 24, with a community forum planned for April 11, and a candlelight vigil slated for Mother’s Day weekend in Good Ground Park in Hampton Bays. At the vigil, candles will be lighted for each life lost to overdose in Southampton Town in 2017. So far, Schneiderman reported, “We don’t have to light a candle for 2018.”

• Councilman John Bouvier reported community members in Westhampton are “quite excited” about the prospect of having their own community center. The councilman and the supervisor recently met with the developers of the complex at Gabreski Airport to see if they might consider building a 4000 to 5000-square-foot center, then leasing it to the town. Stakeholders will provide input and the developers are willing to explore the idea. “We’ll tell them what we want and they’ll tell us what the rent would be,” Schneiderman said. If the numbers jibe, the community center would be designed along the lines of the Crohan center in Flanders.

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