Town may change code to allow existing buildings to be converted to affordable housing

As a frenzied real estate market creates a deeper divide for affordable and workforce housing, Southold Town may take steps to further ease its creation.

Town attorney Bill Duffy presented a draft code amendment at Tuesday’s work session that could allow existing buildings to be converted and expanded if they are to be developed as affordable housing — something not currently allowed under town code.

Working with officials from the building and planning departments and the Zoning Board of Appeals, Mr. Duffy drafted  code to support that mission.

“We thought that made sense because it’s going to be limited by the number of apartments and sanitary flow anyway,” Mr. Duffy said Tuesday.

A condition of the proposed code would require the housing units to be affordable. Officials are also considering a requirement that  such expansions  be located within hamlet centers — or what’s known as HALO zones —  identified as areas for growth.

The board may also eliminate the need for such applications to obtain a special exception from the ZBA and instead go directly through the planning process.

Officials are expected to discuss the issue again in two weeks.

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