Board considers sidewalks for Mattituck, changes to rental codes

FILE PHOTO | Southold Town Hall.

Members of Southold Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals are requesting the Town Board review and possibly amend its code on accessory apartments.Prompted by a number of applications the from home and business owners for variances to construct rental units, ZBA members met with the Town Board on Tuesday morning to discuss the potential for two changes to the existing code.

The first proposed change would allow accessory apartments in business districts to be equal or even slightly larger than the principal use of the building. Currently, the apartment must occupy less than 40 percent of the space of the storefront, the code states. However, many business don’t need 60 percent of the building to operate, ZBA chair Leslie Weisman said. By allowing for more residential rental space within commercial businesses, the town could potentially increase the number of apartments in the housing stock.

Supervisor Scott Russell said the intent of the local law is to avoid residential space from overwhelming commercial space and he would likely not support an amendment that would drastically change the character of the code.

However, splitting residential and commercial space equally is a consideration, he said.

The second requested change would permit accessory apartments in accessory structures, such as detached garages, Ms. Weisman said.  Since 2010, the ZBA received about 12 requests from homeowners to construct apartments that are separate from a primary home — mostly to be used by family members, she said.

The board agreed to review the existing law and both proposed changes would go before the town’s code committee later this year.

The Town Board is weighing its options when it comes to installing sidewalks on Factory Street in Mattituck near Mattituck Shopping Plaza.

On Tuesday morning, Southold Councilman William Ruland presented the idea during the board’s work session.  He said sidewalks on the east side of the street were needed to enhance safety for pedestrians walking from The Cottages, an affordable housing complex on the north side of the road, to the shopping center.

Planning department director Heather Lanza said it would cost about $80,000 for about 600 feet of walkway. That would exempt the project from receiving funding from a state infrastructure grant that requires a project to cost a minimum of $250,000 to qualify, she said.

Before committing to a plan, members asked that town engineer Jamie Richter review the site and present a proposal at the board’s next work session on Tuesday, March 11.

“In the end it may not be feasibility but I thought it was worth a strong look,” Mr. Ruland said.

Simultaneously, the town is also working with the state Metropolitan Transit Authority to install a concrete pathway on the west side of Factory Avenue to provide safer passage near the railroad tracks, Mr. Russell said.

Southold Town is will be upgrading and replacing two trucks in its fleet.

During Tuesday morning’s public work session, both department heads requested board members to approve money to fix and replace trucks that have fallen into disrepair. Jeff Standish, the town’s director of the department of public works, requested the town allocate roughly $92,000 to replace an 18-year-old bucket truck that is no longer fit for daily use.

Southold Town’s solid waste coordinator Jim Bunchuck also asked members to designate no more than $10,000 toward repair work on a truck that is used on a sporadic basis to haul recyclables and perform other maintenance operations at the town’s landfill. The $10,000 would cover the price of replacing deteriorated cylinder linings that has cause antifreeze to seep into the engine, Mr. Bunchuck said.

Town Board members said the requests were within budget and would likely be approved.

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