Two town planners will step down

03/02/2011 9:22 PM |

Two Southold Town planners are leaving the department this week after three years on the job.

Kristy Winser and Tamara Arzt are both moving on to jobs offering more opportunities for advancement, town planning director Heather Lanza said Wednesday. Both will leave the town’s employ Friday.

“They’re both career moves. It’s a small department and there’s not a lot of room to move,” said Ms. Lanza. “We’re hiring at the entry level instead of the mid-level, with the hopes that the new applicants will be here longer.”

The town’s planning department comprises just four planners, including Ms. Lanza and principal planner Mark Terry, and two secretarial assistants. Ms. Lanza said the town has a good pool of applicants to choose from for the soon-to-be-vacant positions.

“Our priority is going to be to keep the applications moving. We’re busy, but not super-busy,” she said. “In the springtime, though, things will get enlivened and it will take some time to train them.”

In other planning news, the town Planning Board discussed two applications at a work session on Monday.

The first was a site plan submitted by 133-acre Indian Neck Farm on Indian Neck Lane in Peconic. The plan calls for a change of use for three barns, each with certificates of occupancy as accessory residential structures, to primary agricultural structures, where the owners plan to raise horses. They also plan to create a 1,243-square-foot apartment on the second floor of one barn to be used as groom’s quarters.

The farm has already received Zoning Board approval for the apartment.

The change-of-use request came about because farm labor housing cannot be provided in an accessory residential structure, Ms. Lanza explained. She added that the groom’s quarters will be approved only with a condition that no more than three people can live there.

Indian Neck Farm set a record in residential real estate transfers when it was acquired by its current owners for $19.5 million in 2008.

The property sits on a deepwater creek and has a 20-acre vineyard as well as 14 buildings, including a five-bedroom main house with a media room and attached greenhouse, according to the real estate listing at the time. The property also has a guesthouse, two large barns and numerous workshops.

The site plan currently before the Planning Board would also add six pasture shelters and two 24-foot silos to the property.
The board is also considering granting a 90-day extension for a conditional sketch of a five-lot subdivision on the south side of Colony Road in Southold.



13 Comment

  • Why do we need four planners, The town’s not that big and we do have a planning board. I’d rather have more police or workers, We don’t need more bureacrats

  • I agree the Town could save $115,000 plus the benefits cost per year if these positions were eliminated.

    Kristy Winser $53,827 plus benefits
    Tamara Arzt $61,158 plus benefits

    Again, we as Southold taxpayers need to start demanding that the Town JUSTIFY these positions and salaries.

  • Actually, we do need professinal planners despite -or in spite of- having a planning board. planning board members are appointed and often it’s politically movtivated. talk about bureaucrats! the planning board members don’t have to be trained planners to hold their seat, they just have to be dues paying politicos. i know this isn’t the case for all of them, but look at some of the past – or most recent- appointments and you will see that it can be done on a whim with no regard to acutal experience or credentials. having qualified staffers in the planning dept. at least ensures that the planning board receives bona fide recommendations, data, etc. upon which to act. sure the town’s not big, but as soon as spring/summer hits and this recession ebbs you better believe there are going to be a lot more applications pending in town. You talk about demanding accountability from the town? what about demanding accountability of the planning board members who can vote on a whim?

  • I agree. Heather Lanza’s $100k+ per year salary is enough. She can easy handle all of the planning board work (I can’t imagine they are that busy) herself.

  • Fire Lanza, keep the other two.

  • It is unfortunate that the Suffolk Times is not particularly interested in fact checking as usual. I thought that is what journalists are supposed to do before running a story. This article is only partially true as to why the two planners left their positions. It seems that everyone BUT the Suffolk TImes knows why they are no longer with the Town.

  • Yeah, they should of interviewed a planning board member. Or anyone who works for the town and then you’d know that lanza is the problem. Thats what happens when you hire someone who has no experience or a clue.

  • Everyone on the town board knows. They have been told repeatedly that she is the reason why at least FIVE employees have left since she has been there. They don’t want to listen.

  • Everyone on the town board knows. They have been told repeatedly that she is the reason why at least FIVE employees have left since she has been there. They don’t want to listen.

  • These positions are “justifiable”. If you want the Town to deal with waste there are other positions in the Town where particular employees are paid quite a bit more than the two planners were paid and who do not even come close to doing their job or doing much of anything for that matter. It’s like what the other commenter said, the Town all knows who they are, but they do not do anything about it. I guess the Town likes to waste tax payer money.

  • The Town Board and the Supervisor all know she is a problem. A big problem for the planning department and for the Town overall. Everyone knows her reputation from other towns, but the Town Board and the Supervisor do not want to deal with any personnel issues in the Town. They would rather just turn their heads. Afterall, how would it look after they hired her for over $100k and all knew she was not worth it. not even close.

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