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Could these code changes lead to more affordable housing?


While Southold Town considers an overhaul of its housing code to encourage developers to build more affordable housing on the North Fork, the town’s Housing Advisory Committee brought a few, smaller code recommendations to the Town Board’s attention Tuesday, including easing restrictions on housing next to farmland and lowering the minimum floor space required.

According to a memo handed to the board at its work session Tuesday morning, the committee suggested removing zoning rules that prevent affordable housing zoning on land “adjoining farm and open fields.” The minimum size of an apartment would be dropped from 750 to 450 square feet as well, if the suggestions are implemented.

Denis Noncarrow, the town’s government liaison officer, said the changes would lead to “putting out a wider net” for property owners to create more affordable housing apartments in their homes or on their land.

The committee also recommended giving another option to developers who need to create affordable housing as part of a new development.

Under the existing code, any development of five housing lots or more must set aside 20 percent as affordable housing. Developers can build that affordable housing on site, or at another location in town. The Housing Advisory Committee suggests allowing developers to also purchase vacant or derelict homes, renovate them, and then designate them as affordable housing to fulfill the requirement.

The code changes will need to go before the town’s code committee and then back to the Town Board for formal approval.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell has previously recommended doubling the allowable density of affordable housing projects to entice more developers to come to the North Fork.

Photo credit: Martin Pettitt via Visualhunt.com / CC BY