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Affordable housing video aims to address misconceptions

A new 12-minute video aims to address misconceptions about affordable housing in Southold Town and change “not-in-my-backyard” attitudes toward efforts to provide additional housing options.

Town liaison officer Denis Noncarrow and Southold Town Housing Advisory Commission chair Rona Smith presented “To Live in Southold” at Tuesday’s Town Board work session.

The video features interviews with town officials, residents and local business owners on the need for affordable housing options, especially for seniors and to retain a young workforce.

“Another name for affordable housing is workforce housing and in the case of Southold Town that’s especially true,” Ms. Smith says in the video.

Home prices have risen sharply in the last 15 or 20 years, she said. What Southold really needs, she added, is rental housing.

The town’s last successful affordable housing effort was the Cottages at Mattituck, according to Mr. Noncarrow. The video points to East Hampton as example of consistent housing success stories, with 500 units.

The town has attempted code changes to address the issue, which has generated some interest from developers because they need density to make housing programs work, Supervisor Scott Russell notes in the video. He has also discussed the need and challenge for infrastructure that supports updated septic systems.

“In order to get people to be pro-affordable housing, I think our big challenge is to make sure they know who we’re helping,” the supervisor, adding that creating options that keep young people and retirees around is good for the entire community.

“I think for many of the people, they say they support affordable housing, but when you go and put your finger on a map and you say that’s where that’s going to go, that’s where the reaction comes,” he continues.

“To Live in Southold” will be available on the town’s website and Channel 22.

Photo caption: Southold Town government liaison officer Denis Noncarrow (right) and Southold Town Housing Advisory Commission chair Rona Smith address the Southold Town Board earlier this month. (Credit: Kelly Zegers, file)

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