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Supervisor: Affordable housing registry should prioritize volunteer firefighters

Supervisor Scott Russell wants to see local volunteer firefighters get priority on the town’s affordable housing registry.

At a work session Tuesday, Mr. Russell floated the idea to Town Board members, who support the idea. “Their functions, their volunteerism, is too important to this community. There needs to be a focus on keeping volunteer firemen in Southold Town so the fire departments can maintain their census,” he said.

The supervisor noted that many younger volunteers who are joining local departments struggle to find housing locally.

With pending projects like Vineyard View, a 50-unit affordable housing complex that recently broke ground in Greenport, Mr. Russell said it’s important to explore the option.

There are approximately 150 people on the town’s affordable housing registry, he estimated Tuesday, adding that there’s been an uptick in applications with the new project underway.

He asked the town attorney’s office and building department to look into the legality of the idea. “There are a lot of federal laws that govern affordable housing programs,” Mr. Russell said, adding that the topic will be discussed in further detail at a later date.

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