Tag Archive | "David Betts"

Anna Throne-Holst Wins Southampton Town Supervisor Race; Town Council Still Too Close to Call

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Heller_Dems 2013 Campaign Reception 11-5-13_1172_LR

Incumbent Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst watches the election results with, from left to right, sons Sebastian and Max and daughter Karess on November 5.

By Tessa Raebeck; photography by Michael Heller

It appears Independence and Democratic Party candidate Anna Throne-Holst has secured a third term as Southampton Town Supervisor, beating Republican challenger Linda Kabot.

Alex Gregor also had a strong showing Tuesday night in the race to keep his position as Superintendent of Highways, coming out ahead of challenger David Betts.

Several races remain undecided, with 879 absentee ballots yet to be counted, town council candidate Brad Bender said Wednesday.

According to the Suffolk County Board of Elections unofficial results, with 42 of 42 districts reported, Throne-Holst secured 7,081 votes, or 58.63 percent of ballots cast. Kabot earned 4,985 votes, or 41.27 percent.

“This was a hard fought campaign and I think what I would like to say is we are now the poster child for running a clean, above board, above the issues [campaign], talking about what really matters to people and not going down in the mud,” Throne-Holst said in her acceptance speech late Tuesday night at the Democratic Party gathering at 230 Elm in Southampton. “I think people recognize that we genuinely have been there to help, we genuinely have been there to make a difference.”

Kabot conceded the race late Tuesday and said Wednesday that she was unsure whether she would seek public office again.

“I’m very proud of my grassroots campaign, we focused on the truth,” said Kabot. “We’re dealing with a well-funded incumbent who has manipulated the facts to her advantage and ultimately, the voters have made their choice, so we move forward.”

Newly reelected County Legislator Jay Schneiderman called the night “a historic moment in the Town of Southampton,” reminding the crowd that no non-Republican supervisor has had a majority on the town board since Thiele was supervisor in the early 1990s. If either Brad Bender or Frank Zappone is elected, Throne-Holst will have a Democratic majority on the board.

Heller_Dems 2013 Campaign Reception 11-5-13_1134_LR

In the highway superintendent contest, according to the unofficial results, as of Wednesday morning Gregor had secured 7,259 votes, or 61.87 percent of the vote, earning him another term while 4,470 votes were cast for David Betts, giving him 38.1 percent of the vote

In uncontested races, Sandy Schermeyer was elected town clerk and Deborah Kooperstein and Barbara Wilson were appointed to the two open town justice positions.

With the remaining districts and absentee ballots yet to be counted, the races for two seats on the town board and five trustee positions are too close to call.

As of Wednesday morning, the unofficial results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections places Republican Stan Glinka in the lead in the town council race with 5,857 votes, or 25.85 percent of votes cast. Bender, an Independence party member cross-endorsed by the Democratic party, is in second place with 5,746 votes, or 25.36 percent. Trailing Bender by just 143 votes, Republican Jeff Mansfield has so far earned 5,603 votes, or 24.73 percent of ballots cast. With 5,445 votes and 24.03 percent, Democrat Frank Zappone trails Mansfield by 158 votes.

“I think the indications are things are in a state of flux,” Zappone said Wednesday morning. “It appears as if there’s a significant number of uncounted votes — that could shift the standing significantly or not at all. It’s very difficult to tell at this point, so one has to be patient, sit back and see what evolves.”

Early Wednesday, Mansfield said he was busy driving around town picking up lawn signs and taking down billboards.

“It could be a lengthy process,” he said, “So we will respect the process and see what happens, but I think at this time it’s premature to say one way or another.”

Bender was likewise committed to removing campaign signs Wednesday morning.

“We’re going to let those people have their voice and let those ballots be looked at,” he said of the absentee ballots. “We’ll let the board of elections sort it out and we’ll celebrate when we have an actual result.”

Stan Glinka could not be reached for comment.

The race for Southampton Town Trustee, in which eight candidates vied for five available seats, also cannot be determined at this time. The candidates leading thus far are the three incumbents running; Bill Pell leads the pack with 8,933 votes, or 17.64 percent of votes cast. Eric Shultz has earned 8,746 votes, or 17.27 percent and Ed Warner, Jr. is in third place with 7,161 votes, or 14.14 percent.

Trailing the incumbents are: Scott Horowitz with 6,399 votes, or 12.63 percent; Raymond Overton with 5,436 votes or 10.73 percent; Howard Pickerell, Jr. with 5,163 votes or 10.19 percent; John Bouvier with 4,953 votes or 9.78 percent; and Bill Brauninger with 3,812 votes, or 7.52 percent.

All elected officials will take office on January 1, 2014.

Task Force to Crack Down on Building Violations, Like Rose Hill Estate

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Rose Hill Estate adjusted

By Claire Walla

The Rose Hill Estate is a sprawling mansion with 10 luxurious rooms, a swimming pool and spa, separate pool house, basketball and tennis courts, billiard room, theatre… the list goes on. At monthly rates ranging from $140,000 to $375,000, it bills itself as “the ultimate luxury rental in the Hamptons.”

But it is now also facing numerous zoning code violations brought on by Southampton Town Code Enforcement.

The estate is just one example of such residential problems here on the East End, according to Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi and Councilwoman Christine Preston Scalera.

Last Tuesday, February 14 the two town council members — who both serve as liaisons for code enforcement issues — co-sponsored a resolution to reinstate the town’s Housing and Quality of Life Task Force. The task force had been created in 2006 to address problems of overcrowding, but its activities have since decreased — until now.

“It’s been a consistent issue in the town,” Preston Scalera stated.

She added the town receives many complaints from residents regarding unmaintained or illegal residences, and the newly created task force is a way to address those issues in a more timely and effective manner.

“These are very real issues, and people make repeated attempts to try to fix things,” she continued.

Sometimes, though, however diligently the town may be working, it takes months, even years to begin prosecuting some of these cases.

“It gets frustrating for people, and I can understand that,” she added.

The task force will bring a collection of department heads to the same table to streamline the process of investigating these zoning and building code violations, like the case with Rose Hill Estate.

After executing a search warrant earlier this month, Southampton Town Investigations and Enforcement Unit found that portions of the residence — which has a certificate of occupancy for 10 bedrooms, a pool house, a swimming pool and spa — were being converted into an additional two-bedroom apartment “for concierge staff.”

Southampton Town Code Enforcement Officer David Betts said the town itself had been aware of the estate, which was built in 2010. But, the town had also received complaints about the property from neighbors.

The complex, run by Michael D’Alessio, was ultimately slapped with a plethora of violations. They include: no rental permit, transient rental (multiple counts), no building permits (multiple counts), no plumbing or electrical permit for pool house conversion, change of use converting two rooms in the basement to bedrooms and violation of the certificate of occupancy. Concierge staff, Megan Kemper and Matthew Ardley, were also charged for not having a rental permit and issued transient rental violations. All parties are due in Southampton Town Justice Court on March 2.

Employees from Rose Hill Estate didn’t return calls for comment.

“As far as whether they’re still operating, I’m not aware that they are,” Betts continued. “But they’re certainly aware that they’re in violation of the law.”

Betts added that in order for the house to have run the way it had been operating for the past two years, it would require a change of zoning.

“The owner [of Rose Hill Estate] blatantly disregarded the law for his own personal gain at the expense of his neighbors and legitimate area hotels and businesses,” Councilman Nuzzi said in a statement. “Also of great concern are the potential safety issues related to the rooms that were constructed illegally without the proper inspections.”

According to the text of the newly adopted resolution, it is a “priority” for the town to recreate the task force in order to efficiently respond to and prosecute “quality of life violations” in the town.

The organization will meet once a month — or more if needed at the discretion of the town attorney — and will be composed of representatives from several key departments in the town. They include: the attorney’s office, police department, code enforcement, land management (building, zoning and environment), fire marshal, town board and representatives from the town justice court.

“A priority of the task force,” Nuzzi continued, “will be to look at how to prosecute violators, particularly repeat violators, in a more efficient and expeditious manner.”

Party’s Over: Town Shuts House

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2210 Noyac Rd. adjusted

By Claire Walla

The house had been on the town’s radar since last summer, said Southampton Town Chief Investigator David Betts. He had received numerous noise complaints and several reports of overcrowding at the Noyac Road home, just south of the fork where Noyac and Deerfield Roads meet.

To get to the bottom of the issue, last Sunday, July 24 Betts executed a search warrant and discovered 25 people had been staying in the house — all on a short-term basis. Both circumstances violate Southampton Town code.

According to investigators, the house has a certificate of occupancy for six legal bedrooms.

“So, you’re probably talking about [a maximum occupancy] of eight to 10 people,” Betts explained.

However, upon inspection, investigators discovered that the basement had been illegally converted into four bedroom spaces and a separate living area had been fashioned above the garage. That space was discovered to have been used by two people who were not part of the larger group leasing the house this past weekend.

The homeowners, Muhammad and Anessa Raham of New York City, have been charged with several town code violations in the wake of this weekend’s investigation. They include: no rental permit, operation of a transient rental, excessive vehicles, no building permit, no smoke detectors (two counts), no carbon monoxide detectors (three counts) and change of use (two counts).

Betts said this weekend’s investigation comes after 12 complaints were recorded in 2010 and eight so far reported this year. The complaints range from excessive noise and overcrowding, to the construction of a sand volleyball court built on the property without a permit, as well as reports of the Noyac facility being used to host a prom after-party.

The property at 2210 Noyac Road is currently listed on several real estate sites as a seven-bedroom rental. According to Corcoran, it has “a spectacular great room and a finished lower level with a separate apartment.” (The listing also indicates that the location is currently rented.)

On streeteasy.com, the same property is priced at $20,000 for the month of June and $45,000 for the month of July, although short-term rental (for an unspecified period of time) is also available for $4,000. (This website also indicates the property is “no longer available as of four months ago.”)

Even though short-term rentals have become relatively commonplace on the East End, as it is a popular waterfront vacation destination, leasing property for less than 30 days is illegal in Southampton Town. Betts explained that homeowners can lawfully lease property for 30 days or more, but only after having received a permit from the town.

All 25 guests this past weekend were reportedly leaving the facility that day. But, authorities say the property had been booked solid for the entire summer.

Now that charges have been pressed against the homeowners, Betts said the house is permitted to be occupied by the family or even by renters, but can only be made available for the “shortest term lease” (30 days). And in that case, the Rahmans would need a permit.