Editorial: Stories to watch in 2016

01/15/2016 12:00 PM |

Development in Mattituck

He spent most of last year facing opposition to a commercial and residential project he proposed on Main Road in Mattituck — so much so that Paul Pawlowski eventually dropped his proposal for a mixed-use project across the street from the vacant Capital One building.

Now, the Mattituck resident — along with two partners — is proposing a “state-of-the-art” sports complex with indoor and outdoor turf fields and tennis courts, an indoor pool, an indoor running track and more.

The project just needs a special exception from the Zoning Board of Appeals to move forward.

Will it happen? Won’t it?

The North Fork may have a next-generation sports facility sometime next year. Or it may not.

Justice Court audit

Remember when a clerk stole more than $230,000 from the Southold Town Justice Court and the town set out to determine what happened?

After being arrested in the spring of 2014, former clerk Christine Stulsky spent six months in jail last year for stealing bail funds. Upon hearing of the theft, Southold Town leaders approved an audit in March 2014 — though the $36,000 taxpayer-funded study has not been released.

The town has since taken steps to improve oversight at the court, including hiring a court director. While the study was never expected to be quick, hopefully Southold can complete it and get to the bottom of whatever malfeasance occurred by the end of 2016.

Short-term rental fallout?

Renting a room, an apartment or an entire house is not a new concept, but regulating home rentals for short periods of time — at least in Southold and Greenport — is. Southold passed regulations last year that require homeowners who wish to rent out their properties to do so for a minimum of 14 days. Many locals had complained that out-of-towners who rented for short periods stayed for the fun and left little but quality-of-life issues behind. Regulations proposed for Greenport Village call for a 30-day minimum rental period.

Spawned largely by websites such as Airbnb and Homeaway, short-term rentals have been hailed by some as an economic generator, with families coming for long weekends to enjoy all the North Fork has to offer.

Will those families find other places to go? Will the laws go ignored or unenforced?

There’s a lot to look out for in 2016.

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