In EH: Accessory Apartments Eyed

The East Hampton Town Board will hold a hearing June 6 on an amendment to the town code designed to encourage more homeowners to develop affordable apartments in accessory structures on their properties.

Under the proposal, brought by Councilman David Lys, a homeowner with at least 30,000 square feet of property could apply to construct an affordable apartment in an accessory structure, such as a garage. The current law, which has been in place since 2016, requires 40,000 square feet.

Since the law has been on the books, fewer than a half-dozen residents have come forward to create apartments, Lys said.

If adopted, Lys said the change would add 1457 additional properties across the town to those eligible to participate in the program. There are 4460 properties in the town eligible under current law.

The amendment is seeking to add affordable housing “at very little cost to the town,” Lys said.

Apartments would be limited in size to between 300 and 600 square feet, and rents would be set by the East Hampton Town Housing Authority, as they are now.

The total number of such affordable units is limited to 20 in each school district, which roughly conform to the town’s five hamlets, with the total across the entire town that can be developed capped at 100.

Lys said he drew on his experience as a member of the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals, where he served for five years before becoming a town board member, when he put forward the amendment. It is important, Lys said, while encouraging affordable housing, which the town desperately needs, not to change the character of the neighborhoods where such units are built.

The hearing will be held at Town Hall starting at 6:30 PM.

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