Workforce Housing Included

Posted on 23 January 2009

Workforce Housing Bundled into New Code
By Marissa Maier

If the new Sag Harbor Village zoning code is enacted, the village’s comprehensive plan for affordable housing will also be implemented. The affordable housing measures found in the code will supersede the Long Island Workforce Housing Act (LIWHA), which was put into effect earlier this month.

The LIWHA and the new village zoning code share many of the same stipulations. Both pieces of legislation allow a developer to meet the affordable housing provision by providing on-site housing or allowing a developer to put money into an affordable housing trust.

However, the new zoning code stipulates that any developer seeking to build five or more units would receive a density bonus of 20 percent, compared to LIWHA’s 10 percent with all units created through the bonus being affordable workforce units.
By way of an example, if a developer was building a 10 unit project, he could either dedicate two of them to workforce housing, provide two additional workforce housing units off site, or opt to put a designated amount of money into the Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust Fund. That amount is based on a formula that has yet to be finalized by the village.

According to Sag Harbor Village Mayor Greg Ferraris, these provisions will only be applicable for new construction or buildings where the use will change. Ferraris also believes that any renovation to the recently purchased Barons Cove Inn will not require the addition of affordable housing because it will remain a resort.

The Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust Fund has drawn criticism at previous board of trustee meetings, where some complained that the trust allowed developers to shirk their responsibility for creating affordable housing.

“In Sag Harbor, we are built out. We want to have flexibility and [The Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust Fund] provides that flexibility,” said Ferraris.
In the new code it is also recommended that all accessory apartments in the residential district and all new apartments in the Village Business district be rented to low to moderate-income residents. The code asks that preference also be given to ambulance corps volunteers, civil servants, and those who are employed by a local business.

An Accessory Apartment Review board will be created by the village to administer accessory apartment permits. The board will consist of three members, who will not be paid. Anyone currently operating an apartment will be given a year after the code is enacted to bring it up to building regulations.

“Our plan in the next year is to review how this apartment board worked. Were they able to monitor [these apartments]? We want to find out how this program works for the village,” said Sag Harbor Village Trustee Tiffany Scarlato.

The village is also proposing that owners of an approved accessory apartment in the residential district be granted a low interest loan from the Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust Fund for improvements to the apartment.

Scarlato said, however, that the number of accessory apartments in the village will be capped at 50.

Overall the code is meant to address the issue of affordable housing for those who provide housing and those who need housing.

“When we drafted the housing plan, we tried to address the needs of our community specifically,” said Scarlato.

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