Tag Archive | "southampton town board"

Fight to Stop CVS Rages on in Bridgehampton

Tags: , , , ,


By Mara Certic

Although contractors began clearing the proposed site for a CVS Pharmacy in Bridgehampton last week, Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee members donning anti-CVS pins on Monday seemed encouraged by the possibility an alternate site could be found for the store.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst asked to attend the CAC’s monthly meeting on Monday, September 22, in order to discuss some ideas around with residents of the hamlet, she said.

“There are a couple of facts I wanted to make sure to clarify,” Ms. Throne-Holst began on Monday. “We have gotten all of your emails, petitioning us to hold a public hearing,” she said. “We’ve done our best to explain, there is no legal vehicle for us to do that.”

Members of the CAC and the offshoot organization Save Bridgehampton Main Street have been writing to local officials asking them to hold public hearings about a proposed CVS on Bridgehampton’s busiest intersection.

Ms. Throne-Holst explained there is a “separation between church and state” when it comes to the town and its various appointed boards. “That doesn’t mean we don’t take this very seriously,” she added.

The decision to allow or deny CVS to open a store on a busy intersection in Bridgehampton, she repeated, lies solely in the hands of the planning board. “They have to be able to show by the letter of the law why they made the decision,” she said on Monday.

Former town planning director Jeff Murphree reiterated this and reminded the CAC members “the planning board has to focus its decision on facts.” Ms. Throne-Holst explained the appointed boards operate within certain classifications and parameters set by the state.

But what the town can do, she added, is tighten, add and subtract the parameters within that code. The town board held a hearing on Tuesday, September 23, about adding specific special exception permit standards for uses in excess of 5,000 square feet and less than 15,000 square feet.

Quite conveniently, at 9,030 square feet, the proposed CVS would be subject to the additional standards. “This is one that has been in the works for some time,” she said of the legislation.

Lawyers representing BNB Ventures IV and CVS Caremark spoke at the Tuesday’s public hearing opposing the legislation as written. John Bennett, who represents CVS, said this was “an illegal exercise of your powers as town board.”

He mentioned a court ruling from another, similar case, and said, “this administrative procrastination calculated to deny a property owner his right to use his land is supportable neither by law or by ethical practice.”

“I’ll ask you to have more character, more backbone and obey the law,” he told the board on Tuesday.

Wayne Bruyn, who represents BNB Ventures IV said, ““When I looked at this law I was in shock.”

Ms. Throne-Holst reiterated the amendment is a “part of that string of looking and relooking and improving on some of our land use codes.” The supervisor said the town was going to make amendments to the law and would keep the hearing open until the October 14 meeting.

On Monday Ms. Throne-Holst also discussed another planning opportunity she wanted to float by the most concerned Bridgehamptonites. The Konner Development, a 13-acre piece of land across the street from the Bridgehampton Commons, is currently zoned as a highway business, she explained, which restricts possible land uses.

There has, she said, been a lot of work already to have the property designated a Planned Development District or PDD. Ms. Throne-Holst explained the town board oversees PDDs, unlike other matters of planning. The PDD designation would allow the town to require the lots have certain buffering, vegetation, appropriate aesthetics and so on and added there is “A lot of community input to this process.”

“I’d like to think a little out of the box here,” she said. “What could we do that may serve this community in light of some of the activity that’s going on here at the moment?” she asked the group.

Within moments, one member of the group suggested it could be the new home for CVS. Ms. Throne-Holst, who wanted it to be known that the public had brought up this suggestion, told the CAC members she had spoken to Ms. Konner and referred to her as “a willing developer.”

“Because the decision lies with the town board it gives us opportunity for a lot of give and take,” she said.

If the site became a PDD, she said, it would have to have some sort of public benefit to the town. “We have an opportunity here to look at part of this town, part of this hamlet, that warrants a good hard look,” she said.

Leonard Davenport, member of the CAC, said he would draft a resolution that would throw the CAC’s “qualified support” behind the effort to create a PDD at the site. “This is good planning, this is what planning’s really about,” Peter Wilson told Ms. Throne-Holst.

“The PDD is a big potential development,” Mr. Davenport said after the meeting.

The CVS application will be discussed at the planning board meeting on Thursday, October 9.

 

Southampton Town Board To Add New Conditions to Special Exception Permits

Tags: , , , ,


By Mara Certic

The Southampton Town Board is expected to add new standards, safeguards and conditions for retail businesses over 5,000 square feet that apply for special exception permits from the town Planning Board.

The news comes following highly controversial plans to build a 9,030-square-foot CVS pharmacy on the busy corner of Montauk Highway and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton. On July 28 of this year, BNB Ventures IV and CVS Caremark applied for a special exception permit from the planning board to open the two-story pharmacy on the lot previously occupied by a small beer distributor.

The proposal has caused distress for members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee and other residents, who have created an offshoot organization Save Bridgehampton Main Street, hired lawyers, done a traffic study and even held three protests and counting.

Those opposed not only fear that a CVS would negatively affect traffic on an already dangerous intersection, but worry that the pharmacy giant would detract from the rural charm of Bridgehampton’s village business district.

“We all know that one of our key assets is the character of our downtowns,” said Town Planning and Development Administrator Kyle Collins at a town board work session on Thursday, September 4.

He explained the prior town board adopted a special permit exception for uses in the village business district between 5,000 and 15,000 square feet but added, “the code does not provide for safeguards or conditions with that kind of special exception law.”

He explained special permit exceptions exist in the town code for certain land uses such as horse farms and marinas. “A lot of them are things that would be looked at through SEQRA,” or the State Environmental Quality Review Act, he said.

Although the general standards refer to things like traffic impacts, he said, the proposed new standards would require a traffic impact analysis as well. “Traffic is a key issue within all our business districts,” he said. Certain parking characteristics will be taken into account too, he added. The proposed 9,030-square-foot building, complete with basement and elevator, will have 10 parking spots for employees and clients, according to plans.

Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera said the special standards also include taking a deeper look at the surrounding local retail community and also will require a local market analysis. These safeguards would be put in place in order to protect existing businesses in the village business districts.

The town board scheduled a public hearing about the proposed new standards for Tuesday, September 23, at 6:30 p.m. Ms. Scalera said on Tuesday if the public hearing does not attract a huge crowd, “we’d put it on for the next meeting for adoption.”  After that point she said it typically would take two or three weeks for the law to be formally adopted and put on the books.

CVS opponents have said the pharmacy’s attorneys seem to be looking for a swift and speedy approval process, but if adopted by the board soon, the new standards could realistically slow them down.

North Haven Weighs in on Airport

Tags: , ,


In a brief meeting that took all of six minutes, the North Haven Village Board on Tuesday, August 26, added its voice to the growing chorus objecting to the noise of helicopters and jets using East Hampton Airport.

The last-minute meeting was held just a day before a scheduled special hearing before the East Hampton Town Board for residents of all five East End towns to air their grievances about the airport.

The resolution, approved by unanimously by the board members present, had a four-pronged request: That the airport decline further Federal Aviation Administration funding; that it adopt a comprehensive aircraft noise limitation policy to begin as soon as its obligations under FAA grants expire on December 31; that the town board provide the Village of North Haven 60 days notice of any future change in airport policy and that the board include members of the North Haven Village Board in work groups, discussions and meetings on the airport.

The measure came after the Southampton Town Board unanimously adopted an almost identical resolution on Thursday, August 14. “I hope other village boards make this decision,” said the newest member of the North Haven Village Trustees, Thomas J. Schiavoni.

Southampton Town Helps Keep Farmers Farming

Tags: , , , , ,


peconic1

 

Elected officials and local farmers celebrated the protection of 33 acres of farmland in Water Mill on Tuesday. Photo by Mara Certic.

By Mara Certic

In one afternoon on the East End, you can visit rolling estates, beachfront shacks, or thousands of acres of working farms.  Preserving that farmland has been no small feat, but thanks to the work of the Peconic Land Trust, Southampton Town has established a precedent that might make farming easier throughout the state.

The Southampton Town Board voted unanimously in May to impose additional developmental restrictions onto agricultural land that would ensure that it remained productive and affordable, and on Tuesday, local and state elected officials, farmers and conservationists gathered to celebrate this latest success.

“This is farmland preservation 2.0.,” said New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., at a Tuesday morning press conference in Water Mill, where officials gathered to celebrate the purchase of 33 acres from the estate of Charlotte Danilevsky.  “And more than farmland preservation, this is farming preservation,” he said.

For the past few decades, as real estate prices have continued to rise, local farmers and conservationists have struggled to find ways to keep the farms working and in the hands of farmers.

In the 1970s, the town started buying the developmental rights on farmland, which prohibited future owners from building on the land. It did not, however, stop developers from turning the acreage into vast lawns or horse paddocks.

“We were preserving land, but that land was ending up being the front yard or the rear yard of an estate. Or ending up as a horse farm, or for horticulture,” Mr. Thiele continued.

The Peconic Land Trust purchased the Water Mill farmland, on Head of Pond Road, earlier this year for just over $12 million. According to John v.H. Halsey, president of the land trust, if the town had purchased the standard development rights for the parcel of land, it still would have cost a potential buyer approximately $120,000 an acre.

“It is abundantly clear, especially on the South Fork, where we have an overheated real estate market, that this farmland that has been protected can trade for between $100,000 to $200,000 an acre and that really puts it out of reach, particularly of our food production farmers,” Mr. Halsey said.

With the help of the Southampton Town Agricultural Advisory Committee, chaired by Southampton farmer John L. Halsey, the land trust was able to propose some additional restrictions on the land that were unanimously approved by the town board on May 27. The sale went through on July 10.

“This project represents a milestone in the evolution of the purchase of development rights program,” Mr. Halsey said on Tuesday. “And that is that the Town of Southampton has not only purchased standard development rights that have been in place for nearly 40 years, but has enhanced restrictions that will ensure that this farm, this 33 acres, will be available to farmers at its agricultural value—its true agricultural value.”

Mr. Halsey said the land trust would now solicit proposals from qualified farmers who are interested in purchasing the land. According to Mr. Halsey, the land will now be available at approximately $26,000 an acre. Restrictions will ensure that 80 percent of it be used for food production, that it cannot be used for equestrian use, and certain resale restrictions allow the land trust to lease the land out to farmers if it remains fallow for more than two years.

Tim Davis of Corcoran real estate agreed to reduce his commission by 50 percent on the sale, which allowed the land trust to compete in the sealed bid process to purchase the land, according to Mr. Halsey. “I am honored to have played a critical role in the process of the Peconic Land Trust acquiring the Danilevsky parcels,” Mr. Davis said in a press release issued on Tuesday.

“Our goal is to make sure each farm is producing food for the people of our state and our country,” said Senator Kenneth P. LaValle on Tuesday morning. Mr. Thiele announced during Tuesday’s press conference that he and the senator had been working on legislation that would provide additional property tax benefits to landowners with similar restrictions on their farms. Mr. Thiele also announced that they have been working to increase the exemption on estate taxes, which can often force farm owners to sell their land.

“One of the things I’ve learned as county executive is that there are so many Halseys around here, I run into them all the time,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone joked on Tuesday morning.

Tom Halsey, John L. Halsey’s brother, was also at the event on Tuesday with his son Adam and grandson, Eben. Tom Halsey was instrumental in the introduction of the purchase of development rights in the 1970s.

“Please, I urge everybody here to stand here and look there,” he said, pointing toward acres of open fields adjacent to the property. “And then imagine what it would be if we had not had 40 years of preservation.”

 

 

 

Still No Decision on Bridge

Tags: , , ,


The Southampton Town Board on Tuesday again tabled a resolution allowing it to sign a contract with the state Department of Transportation to obtain a $500,000 federal grant to refurbish the Bridge Lane bridge that connects Sagaponack and Bridgehampton.

Work on the project has been put on hold for months because residents have opposed plans to modernize the structure, specifically plans for new guardrails and the removal of curbing along the pedestrian walkway.

The Village of Sagaponack even offered to reimburse the town for the grant money if it would proceed with a design that is more in keeping with its residents’ wishes, but Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor has refused to change the design, saying alternatives would not meet safety standards.

Southampton Town Councilman Brad Bender had planned, at Mr. Gregor’s request, to bring the resolution up for a vote on Tuesday, but was forced to ask the board to put it off for another month, until its August 26 meeting.

“We’re still at an impasse,” he said before Tuesday’s meeting.

Helicopter Noise at an Unbearable All-Time High, According to Sag Harbor CAC

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


By Mara Certic

Helicopter noise dominated the discussion at the Sag Harbor Citizens Advisory Committee meeting last week.

Southampton Town Councilwomen Bridget Fleming and Christine Scalera attracted a small crowd of non-members to the CAC’s monthly meeting on Friday, July 18, in the Pierson High School Library.

Susan Baran, a member of the CAC, announced as she briskly walked into the meeting: “This is the worst day ever.” The helicopter noise over by Long Pond had started at 6 a.m. that morning and hadn’t stopped all day, she said. Those in the room agreed with Ms. Barren that it was “the worst it had ever been.”

Rosemary Caruso added that the “all-white helicopters are the worst,” and that she and her husband see them all the time from their North Haven home.

Bob Malafronte and Barry Holden explained the current situation with helicopter routes and answered questions. Both men are members of the CAC and are the only two Southampton representatives on East Hampton Town’s helicopter noise abatement committee. Mr. Malafronte explained that East Hampton has two airport advisory committees. One of the committees is made up of helicopter and airplane proponents, he said, and is “misleading at best.” The other committee that both Mr. Malafronte and Mr. Holden sit on and which is composed of those concerned with noise issues speaks “nothing but facts and the truth,” he said.

The current problem is exacerbated by the total lack of restrictions at the airport, Mr. Malafronte said. Pilots do not follow the designated routes, he said, adding that 83 percent of the helicopters that flew in and out of East Hampton Airport over July Fourth weekend did not comply with the altitude restrictions.

The two men said that they are in the minority on the committee. “We had to force our way on,” said Mr. Malafronte. He even suggested that airport manager Jim Brundige was “targeting” Southampton Town residents. “This man Brundige has to go,” he said.

Councilwoman Scalera interjected to tell the members of the CAC that they were “very, very, very well represented” by their two Southampton reps. “Without you behind us,” Mr. Malafronte said to her, “we’d be nowhere.”

Mr. Holden said that the new East Hampton Town Board does actually seem to want to solve the problem caused by helicopter noise, unlike the previous administration. He mentioned that East Hampton Town Board member Kathee Burke-Gonzalez sits on both airport advisory committees, and Councilwoman Scalera sits on the noise abatement committee, too.

Recently, the men said, the committees have been working on letter-writing campaigns. They emphasized the importance of documenting complaints about helicopter and aircraft noise, by calling the complaint hotline or writing letters to the editor in local papers.

Their new focus, however, “is to go after the FAA not just to ask for changes but to start demanding answers.” Mr. Malafronte said. “We’re going to focus on Huerta, the man has to produce answers.”

Michael Huerta is the administrator of the FAA, who Mr. Malafronte says “has been hiding.” Mr. Malafronte’s new tactic, he said, is to go after Mr. Huerta “more aggressively.”

A meeting with Congressman Tim Bishop scheduled to take place on August 12 is the next big step, he said. The committee members hope to have at least a representative from the FAA, if not Mr. Huerta himself, present to answer questions.

The meeting will take place at the Bridgehampton Nutrition Center  at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 12.

To register an airport noise complaint call 1-800-376-4817 or visit planenoise.com/khto/

Issues of dumping on Town Line Road continue to trouble members of the Sag Harbor CAC. Several members discussed the problems, mentioning that tires and have piled up and that some people have even gone as far as to dump their mattresses there. “They go out of their way to dump there,” said CAC member Steve Schuman.

“What’s the solution, besides setting up snipers in the woods?” asked CAC member Judah Mahay. He suggested that the CAC look into the feasibility of setting up security cameras, or even looking into getting police to do surveillance at the site once a month.

“If you report it to the public, this could be enough to mitigate it,” he said.

 

Southampton Considers Trails Map

Tags: ,


The Southampton Town Board last Thursday after meeting with Ross Baldwin, the director of its Geographic Information Services, and members of the Southampton Trails Preservation Party, agreed to support a pilot program to print maps of publicly owned trails in the town.

“We have spent so many millions of dollars preserving these trails, it’s a way of highlighting them,” said Councilwoman Bridget Fleming.

“If we had 100, they would go like hotcakes,” said Howard Reisman of the trails society. “We do get a lot of demand.”

The board debated whether it should try to find a contractor to print the maps or do them in house. Councilman Stan Glinka suggested that the trails society might want to work with local chambers of commerce to sponsor the maps and pledged to work with the group to find a way to print a small number of the maps.

Glorian Berk, the president of the trails society, asked the board to handle the distribution “because the trails society is not really a business.”

The maps would be sold at the town clerk’s office and the town Parks Department. A price was not set.

Bridgehampton CVS Foes Take Their Fight to Town Board

Tags: , , , ,


unnamed-7

 

Bridgehampton residents descended on the Southampton Town Board in force to oppose a CVS Pharmacy at the hamlet’s busiest intersection. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz

 

By Stephen J. Kotz

The news that the pharmacy giant CVS wants to build a store on the busiest intersection in Bridgehampton has been the talk of the hamlet in recent months, with volunteers proffering petitions at the Bridgehampton Post Office and even starting a Facebook page, Save Bridgehampton Main Street, in opposition.

On Tuesday night, residents took their fight to the Southampton Town Board, where many of them had worked themselves into an ornery mood after they were forced to wait as part of a standing room audience through more than two hours of public hearings before they got their chance to speak.

Their frustration was only stoked when Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst repeatedly tried to explain to them that the town board had no jurisdiction over the matter and that they would be better off taking their gripes to the planning board when and if it entertains an application for the property on the northwest corner of the Montauk Highway and Bridgehampton Turnpike.

“CVS is a radical proposal, aggravating a saturated situation,” said Nancy Walter-Yvertes, who is also a co-chairwoman of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, which has been voicing its opposition to the project for months. She said the corner would be better suited to a building with small shops or offices, or even a public green, instead of the 9,000-square-foot CVS rumored to be on the way.

A recent poll of 24 Main Street merchants found them all opposed to the idea, and more than 90 percent of the people asked to sign a petition opposing the possible development did so, she added.

Norm Lowe, another CAC member, said he found the town board to be “disingenuous” and charged that town employees were willing to “trash” the comprehensive plan to grease the skids for a CVS. Mr. Lowe said he had been particularly rankled to learn that chief building inspector Michael Benincasa, had met with CVS representatives to discuss their options for the site with them.

“In the end, he was counseling CVS on the shenanigans they could pull to get around the limit,” he said.

Ms. Throne-Holst later stressed that town officials did not deny that Mr.  Benincasa may have spoken to CVS. “That’s part of our job here, that is part of the service we provide,” she said, whether it be a corporation or an individual asking questions about what needs to be done to get a building permit.

At one point, Ms. Throne-Holst called upon Kyle Collins, the town’s director of land management, to provide an overview of the situation. “I think we need to clarify something at this point. I don’t want all of you to waste your time and breath,” she said, as she looked out over the sea of faces filling the meeting room. “First of all, it is not a town board matter, it is a planning matter,” she said, “We have a separation of church and state, for lack of a better term.”

Mr. Collins told the audience that a building permit is in place for the shell of a 9,000-square-foot building, which can have several uses as allowed in the village business zone as long as none of them occupy any more than 5,000 square feet. If that were the case, it would trigger the need to apply for a special exception permit from the planning board, he said.

“We do not currently have an application, even for the buildout of the site,” he said, adding that if an application came in that called for a use of less than 5,000 square feet, it would qualify for a building permit with no further review.

“I find it interesting that a lease has already been signed off on with a company that is not interested in developing a property that is under 5,000 square feet,” said Paul Orenstein, the owner of the Main Street-based Hampton Briggs Antiques. “It’s putting the cart before the horse in that there is already a lease with the hope of getting the exception.”

Mr. Orenstein added that traffic is already a nightmare at the corner and that that there had been recent efforts to save historic buildings like the Rogers House, owned by the Bridgehampton Museum, and the Topping-Rose House, which has been converted into a high-end restaurant and inn.

“The thought of putting a franchise pharmacy and sundries store at the entrance to Bridgehampton, I think, is a travesty,” he said.

Eric Lemonides, the owner of Almond restaurant and a resident of Lumber Lane, echoed that theme, saying the store would bring in heavy traffic and not fit in with the character of Bridgehampton. He said would-be customers would be less likely to frequent his restaurant if it were “across the street from a place that is selling cigarettes, condoms and Red Bull.”

Gloria Berkoski, a Lumber Lane resident, limited her concerns to traffic, saying there was simply not enough space for cars to get in and out of the parking lot. “In my mind things like that shouldn’t be put there just for traffic reasons alone,” she said.  “And that’s not even taking into consideration the trade parade every day.”

Bonnie Lowe, a CAC member, said she had heard rumors that CVS had been “counseled to break up into two corporations, one to sell their junk food, one for their pharmacy.” Mr. Collins replied that even if it did that it would still require a special exception permit.

Fred Cammann, a longtime CAC member, said that people had come to the town board because “they are scared to death” the planning board will approve it.

“In the opinion of 90-percent of Bridgehampton if this exception is granted, it will be politics that dictated it,” he added.

“What I’m hearing is a real lack of confidence in our community,” said Julie Burmeister, another CAC member. “That’s our fear, that somehow we are going to get steamrolled. That’s why we are here.”

But Ms. Throne-Holst repeated that it was not a town board decision and that the BCAC had supported the design of the building, which replaced the old Bridgehampton Beverage store. “The Bridgehampton community actually supported that building. Let’s be clear on that,” she said, repeating that the community’s only line of defense was with the planning board.

“I think it works very well for you that there are two members of the planning board who live in Bridgehampton,” she added.

Goats to Munch Away Invasive Plants in Greenbelt

Tags: , , , ,


5002065_orig

By Gianna Volpe

It’s been nine years since the Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt began their effort to transform Vineyard Field in Bridgehampton back to native grassland after it was overgrown by an invasive plant species. Now goats will join the fight in stemming the tide of the unwanted autumn olive.

Upstate New York’s Rhinebeck-based Green Goats will provide a herd of weed-eating goats next month to the South Fork to aid in the restoration of the field, which lies behind the South Fork Natural History Museum. The property is part of the greenbelt, which runs from Sag Harbor Cove to the Atlantic Ocean.

The autumn olive, a flowering plant with light silver bark, was originally planted for its beauty. It also attracts birds because its fragrant flowers become berries. But the thorny plant is also so invasive it outgrows and shades out native species, ultimately forming a an impenetrable thicket.

The FLPG believes Green Goats is an ideal choice for getting an upper hand on the autumn olive as the invasive plant reasserts itself with a vengeance during the growing season when the Friends refrain from using mowers on the field to protect the its wildlife, including snakes, turtles, and snails.

“We’re losing the battle, so we’re hoping these goats are going to help,” FLPG president Dai Dayton said of the project. “They can graze throughout the summer without hurting any animals, so we’re hoping they will put an end” to the fight against the autumn olive.

Green Goats has been providing the chewing power to eliminate unwanted plant populations throughout the state—its goats chomp up poison ivy, phragmites and other undesirable plants—for seven years now.

Mozart the goat and his band of hungry friends began their work in 2007 when they cleared out invasive plants threatening a Civil War gun battery at New York City’s Fort Wadsworth, according to the Green Goats website.

“Larry brings his goats to the location, and they munch away for the season, and then he takes them home for the winter,” Ms. Dayton said of Green Goats owner, Larry Cihanek. “The goats prefer to browse, so they’ll really go after those autumn olives. They like to eat shrubs.”

Mr. Cihanek’s four-legged weed whackers are not shy and their reputation for browsing aggressively precedes them, according to Ms. Dayton. Though some autumn olives stand 6-feet-tall, she said the animals will gang up on a single plant to get the job done.

“They stand up on their hind legs and Larry said they will actually push the plant right over and they all jump on it and eat it,” she said. “It’ll be fun to watch…. We need those big goats to get up there and defoliate the plants so they finally die.”

Mr. Cihanek’s goats should arrive at Vineyard Field in the beginning of May.

Southampton Town has already contributed $3,500 so that Mr. Cihanek’s goats begin their work on the town-owned land next month, but Ms. Dayton said that will cover only half of the cost for the six-month initiative. She is asking the public to help the cause through donations to the Friends of Long Pond Greenbelt website (longpondgreenbelt.org) and has invited all to see the project in action first-hand during an educational program called “Project Goat,” which will take place at Vineyard Field on August 16.

Southampton Town Pays Off Retirement Debt

Tags: , , , , ,


The Southampton Town Board on March 11 unanimously adopted a resolution that authorized the payment of nearly $2.55 million of the town’s outstanding debt to the New York State pension system.

In recent years, many municipalities have struggled to meet annual pension contributions required by the state Comptroller’s Office. In general, public pension funds, including New York’s, are still struggling to make up for steep investment losses incurred in the 2008 financial crisis, requiring local municipalities to contribute more to keep the system afloat.

In order to mitigate the budgetary impact of higher pension obligations, New York introduced an amortization process that required the prorating of an employer’s required contributions over a period of time.

Since 2010, the town has participated in the amortization program. Of the five cities and towns in Nassau County, and the 10 towns in Suffolk County, only three towns—Smithtown, Riverhead and Shelter Island—did not participate in the program.

Southampton is the first to fully repay its debt. “Because we have budgeted prudently and conservatively over the last few years, we now have the opportunity to finally pay down this costly debt, saving approximately $300,000 in interest payments,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst. “This is very good news for our taxpayers, and reinforces the fact that the stringent budget practices we put in place are indeed working.”