Town Hall Notes: Sale of affordable home gives cause for concern

The first of the affordable houses at the Cottages at Mattituck to change hands is set to be sold in August, according to deputy Southold town supervisor Phillip Beltz. The buyer will acquire the house at 480 Cottage Way for $212,200, a cost that’s in line with covenants limiting sales prices in order to keep the cottages, completed in 2009, affordable.

At the same time, Mr. Beltz told board members that with this first sale, he’s realized the nature of the town’s involvement with the development needs to change so he doesn’t function as a real estate broker in future transactions.

Despite Supervisor Scott Russell’s joke that he’d ordered signs saying “Beltz Realty,” he and board members agreed at last week’s meeting that the town’s involvement should be limited to vetting potential buyers for income eligibility and that it shouldn’t play a role in brokering deals between sellers and buyers.

The board hasn’t taken action yet, but it did hear Mr. Beltz’ recommendations for sale prices, which get adjusted annually, for affordable houses and rental rates for affordable apartments.

The price guideline for 2011 represents 2.5 times 80 percent of the median income in Suffolk County — or $212,250. For those whose income is calculated at 100 percent of the median Suffolk County income, the price would be $265,250.

Rentals would go for $929 per month for an efficiency apartment; $995 for a one-bedroom; $1,195 for two bedrooms; $1,379 for three bedrooms; and $1,539 for a four-bedroom unit.

The aim is to keep rents affordable, but not so low that they’ll discourage homeowners from creating accessory apartments, Mr. Russell said.


Board members reviewed potential changes to the wetlands code that were advocated by Southold Trustees, but ultimately decided that before a public hearing is scheduled, the code committee needs to bring more clarity to the proposals. Accordingly, a code committee meeting is to be scheduled sometime next week and will be advertised, Mr. Russell said.

East Marion resident Anne Murray told board members that she is concerned about her reading of a change that appears to do away with the ban on installing septic systems within 100 feet of wetlands.


Town Board watcher Benja Schwartz of Cutchogue took board members to task for what he said was their failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Law by responding to FOIL requests in a timely and appropriate manner.

He reminded them that if they’re unable to respond to requests in a timely manner, they need to inform the person requesting the information, explain the delay and indicate when the information would be made available.

“You’re breaking the law and I want you to stop breaking the law,” he said.

He also questioned the board going into executive session, noting that discussing potential litigation isn’t a reason for an executive session. Only when the board is discussing strategy for handling such litigation is it acceptable to have an executive session.

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