Tag Archive | "Water Mill"

Southampton School District Earns Safe Routes to School Funding

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New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. announced Friday that the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) has agreed to amend the State Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) to include intersection improvements near Southampton Elementary and Intermediate schools. The proposed project will cost $498,374.

The project would be funded by the federal Safe Routes to School program. The intent of the Safe Routes to School program is to enable and encourage children to walk or bicycle to school; help children adopt a more healthy and active lifestyle by making bicycling and walking a safer and more appealing transportation alternative; and facilitate the planning, development and implementation of transportation project that will improve safety while reducing traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.

Brandenburg Executive Director of Choral Society of the Hamptons

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Brandenburg Photo

The Choral Society of the Hamptons has named David M. Brandenburg its executive director. He is a composer, co-founder of the Hamptons Shakespeare Festival, and music director of the Sag Harbor Community Band.

Mr. Brandenburg will help produce the Society’s June 29 performance of Handel’s dramatic oratorio “Israel in Egypt” Part II (Exodus) and Bach’s cantata 79, “Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild.”

The concert, a collaboration with the Greenwich Village Singers and the South Fork Chamber Orchestra, will take place in the Parish Hall of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton. It will be followed by a benefit dinner at The Palm restaurant with Mark Mangini, the Society’s music director and conductor, and soloists from the performance.

Interested singers can still arrange auditions by calling Brandenburg at 204-9402. More information is available at the society’s website, www.choralsocietyofthehamptons.org.

“David Brandenburg is an accomplished administrator who knows a wide variety of music and a respected member of the East End cultural community. His skills will contribute strongly to the progressively higher standards of performance we have achieved under Mr. Mangini,” said Daniel McKeever, the Choral Society’s president.

Brandenburg’s administrative experience began shortly after he graduated from Yale with a major in music and earned a master’s degree in music and music education from Columbia. He became program manager and director of information systems for Meet the Composer, a national organization based in New York City, and for 11 years was music director of the Yale Jazz Ensemble. In 1996, with the actor Josh Gladstone, he co-founded the Hamptons Shakespeare Festival, of which he remains the artistic director.

In addition to bringing productions to the South Fork, Brandenburg has contributed to the community as M.C. of the Teeny Awards, a high school theater recognition program of the East End Arts Council. For three years, he was a panelist for the “capacity building initiative” of the East End Arts Council and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Voters Approve $24 Million Beach Renourishment Plan for Sagaponack and Bridgehampton

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Oceanfront property owners in Sagaponack, Bridgehampton and Water Mill approved a referendum on Saturday night that will allow homeowners and the Town of Southampton to spend $24 million to replenish eroded beachfront. A beachfront only made worse by Hurricane Sandy’s impact this October.

According to Southampton Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer, Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato and Deputy Town Attorney Kathleen Murray between two erosion control districts in Bridgehampton and Sagaponack 75 ballots were cast in favor of the project and 49 against.

Only residents within the two erosion control districts were allowed to vote in the referendum.

According to Jennifer Garvey, with Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst’s office, 202 homeowners were eligible to cast votes in the referendum which will allow voters to pay for the beach renourishment through special taxing districts. One hundred and twenty four residents turned out to cast ballots in the referendum vote Saturday.

The project will encompass six miles of contiguous shoreline, including 141 properties, five of which are beaches owned by Southampton Town. The town will foot $1.5 million of the project to cover the cost of renourishment on its beaches.

“Today’s referendum marks the culmination of two and a half years of collaboration with our ocean front property owners — a group of constituents who first approached the town with an interest in forming a special taxing district in order to jointly pursue more efficient and cost-effective measures for protecting their properties,” said Throne-Holst.

The Southampton Town Board will serve as commissioners of both erosion control districts and will have to issue a $24 million bond to finance the project, which will be repaid by homeowners and the town over a 10-year period.

According to the town, properties within the two districts have an assessed value of $1.8 billion.

The project will entail dredging 2.5 million tons of sand from two areas one-mile offshore and replenishing the beach with that sand. It is expected to start in late spring or early summer, and will take about two months to complete.

“As individual property owners, many of us have been investing tens of thousands of dollars on an annual basis to rebuild our dunes and protect our homes from the impacts of erosion,” said Alan Stillman, a long-time Sagaponack property owner and member of the Sagaponack Beach Erosion Control District Advisory Board. “A systematic solution offers much greater protection and value. That is what we proposed — and have now approved.”

“From the start, we approached this undertaking like a business,” said Jeff Lignelli, a Bridgehampton property owner. “We researched numerous erosion protection measures and costs, and ultimately chose an award-winning coastal expert to design a renourishment project — the option we felt was the best fit for the area because it matches the look and feel of the existing beach, which was critically important to us. When the project is finished, the beaches will basically look like they did 30 years ago — much wider.”

The South Carolina-based firm of Coastal Science and Engineering led by Dr. Tim Kana designed the project.

First Coastal Corporation of Westhampton is the local permitting partner.

“Votes like this are always nerve wracking, but we are just thrilled the residents felt it was important enough to spend their own money on this,” said Aram Terchunian, with First Coastal Corporation, on Tuesday. “This is historic, particularly in the wake of what happened during Hurricane Sandy.”

Terchunian and Garvey said that now the project will move into the permitting phase, which was already pursued while awaiting the results of Saturday’s referendum.

Terchunian said both the New York State Office of Coastal Management and the New York State Office of General Services have already signed off on the project. It still needs approved from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corp of Engineers.

While Terchunian praised homeowners for being willing to take on such a project, he added he believes the state and federal government will need to take a bigger role in beach renourishment in the future.

“These are levels of government getting huge benefits in the form of sales and incomes taxes in the regional and national economy tied to our beaches,” he said. “Beaches produce so much income on so many different levels we need to see they are protected.”

Whether or not this project will benefit from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy remains unclear. Beaches in both Bridgehampton and Sagaponack, having already contended with significant beach erosion, were hammered by the fall storm, whole stretches of beach literally washed away.

“We are pursuing that and the town is pursuing that very aggressively,” said Terchunian.

In fact, after Hurricane Sandy, the town board fast tracked this proposal after seeing the coastline and structural damage caused in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The board voted unanimously to approve the proposal and a referendum on the project on November 27.

“I think this plan would have won the support it needed even before Superstorm Sandy, but what was initially a more proactive project became urgently needed following the storm,” said Throne-Holst. “Fortunately, these property owners were already well into the process of securing the needed support and permissions for their proposal, so it’s likely they’ll have a wide, protective beach within the year.”

“The beaches are a crucial part of our local economy and way of life, and the properties within these BECDs [Beach Erosion Control District] also comprise a major portion of our tax base. I think this is a remarkable public/private partnership that will greatly benefit both the property owners and all of our town residents, and I’m proud to have been a part of making it happen,” she said.

Update: Kidd Regrets “Disruption” Water Mill Accident May Have Caused; Thanks Friends and Family for Support

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Kidd Photo



Through his Twitter page, this week NBA guard Jason Kidd, who was recently signed to New York’s own Knicks franchise, said he regretted any disruption his Water Mill car accident has caused and thanked his family and friends for their support.

“I regret any disruption my accident last weekend may have caused members of the community and want to thank the local authorities,” wrote Kidd late this week on his Twitter account. “I’d also like to thank my family and friends for their support.”

Kidd, 39, was arrested by Southampton Town Police for a misdemeanor charge of Driving While Intoxicated by Alcohol (DWI) just 10 days after signing a contract with the famed basketball franchise.

Kidd was charged in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 15. Later that morning, Kidd pled not guilty to the charges in Southampton Town Justice Court.

According to Southampton Town Police, around 1:56 a.m. on July 15 they received a 911 call reporting a motor vehicle accident at Cobb and Little Cobb Road in Water Mill.

“We were there within five minutes,” said Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson during a press conference on Monday.

According to Wilson, a preliminary investigation revealed that Kidd was driving southwest on Cobb Road and proceeded through an intersection before hitting a telephone poll, snapping it at its base before his 2010 Cadillac Escalade came to a stop in a wooded area.

Kidd, of Dallas, Texas, was the sole occupant of the vehicle, said Wilson at Monday’s press conference. He was brought to Southampton Hospital for “minor injuries,” said Wilson and released into police custody before his appearance at Southampton Town Justice Court later that morning.

According to the arrest report, police said Kidd “smelled strongly of an alcoholic beverage,” and also slurred his speech, was unsteady on his feet and had “bloodshot, watery and glassy eyes.”

“I want to clear up any rumors or misconceptions,” said Wilson on Mondays, noting the case has drawn significant media attention because of Kidd’s status with the NBA. “He was cooperative during the arrest process.”

The 2011 NBA Champion played for the Dallas Mavricks from 2007 through 2011 before signing a three-year contract with the New York Knicks just two weeks ago.

Police Continue Search for Hit & Run Driver

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This week, Southampton Town Police urged a 30-year-old Latino believed to have been the driver of a car that hit and killed Roman Catholic Sister Jacqueline Walsh in Water Mill last week to come forward and turn himself into police.

According to Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson, the man — whose name police are withholding at this time — is purposefully evading police at this point.

“We are not going to stop until this suspect is taken into custody,” said Wilson during a Monday morning press conference on a different matter. “We are working with the county, the state and U.S. Marshalls. I am putting every investigative resource into this case.”

Wilson said the department, working with other agencies, has followed up on a number of tips from community members about the location of the man in question, but that he appears to be moving around, evading arrest so far.

Wilson declined to say when the department would release the name or a photograph of the suspect, but added he would do so when his investigative team believes that is the best course of action.

Police have described the individual as a “white, Hispanic male,” about 5’7” with short spiked hair. Police believe he was wearing dark shorts and a white shirt at the time of the incident.

Sister Walsh, 59, of Syosset was struck and killed during the hit-and-run accident on Rose Hill Road in Water Mill on Monday, July 9 around 8:30 p.m. Sister Walsh was on a religious retreat at the Sisters of Mercy house and was taking a walk when she was hit by a 2009 Volkswagen Touareg.

Police responded to the scene after receiving reports of a woman lying on the roadway, “bleeding and unresponsive.”

According to police, it appears the driver of the vehicle was an employee of the car’s owner — Rose Hill Road resident Andrew Zaro. The SUV was abandoned on a street nearby the scene of the hit and run.

Sister Walsh was a pastoral associate of St. Edward the Confessor Church in Syosset. Over the weekend, she was laid to rest at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury, reportedly drawing hundreds to the burial on Saturday, thousands attending her wake on Friday night.

On Monday, Chief Wilson was adamant that justice would be served on behalf of Sister “Jackie,” as she was affectionately known by family and friends.

“We have investigators working very hard on this,” he said. “We will make every attempt we can to take this suspect into custody.”

In addition to the Southampton Town Police Department, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, the state police and the U.S. Marshals are aiding in the investigation. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Southampton Town Police Department’s Detective’s Unit at 702-2230.

Update: Police Searching for Driver in Hit & Run that Killed Syosset Nun

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Southampton Town Police are seeking the help of residents in locating the driver of a car involved in a hit and run in Water Mill that claimed the life of a 60-year-old nun.

According to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota, police believe they know who the man is and are currently trying to locate him. As of Wednesday afternoon, police had yet to make an arrest.

According to reports, on Monday night around 8:30 p.m. Southampton Town Police received a 911 call about a female lying on the ground near 383 Rose Hill Road in Water Mill. Police said the caller described the woman as “bleeding and unresponsive.” Southampton Town Police Officers and detectives responded to the scene where they say they found a white female, 60 years old, laying dead on Rose Hill Road.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, The New York State Troopers, a Riverhead K-9 Unit, members of the Suffolk County Police Crime Lab, and the Southampton Fire Department responded to the scene to assist with the investigation.

Police identified the woman as Sister Jacqueline Walsh, of Syosset. Police said the Roman Catholic nun was on a retreat with her colleagues from the Sisters of Mercy.

In a press release issued Tuesday afternoon, police said they believe she was the victim of a hit-and-run accident involving someone who left the scene, and his vehicle, behind. Detectives located an unoccupied 2009 Volkswagen Touareg about a half-mile from the crime scene that was damaged on the front end of the vehicle.

On Tuesday, police continued their search for the driver asking residents for help in locating him. According to police, they are searching for a white, Hispanic male, approximately 5’7”, in his 20s or 30s with short spiked hair. Police believe he was wearing dark shorts and a white shirt at the time of the accident.

However, on Tuesday during a press conference about a separate incident, District Attorney Spota said police believe they know who the driver was and now are in the process of trying to find him.

“We know who the driver of the car is and there are police officers right now on the street trying to locate him,” said Spota when questioned by a reporter at the press conference.

“He lives in the community where the incident occurred,” he added. “They are looking for the individual, but we know who he is.”

According to Spota, a prosecutor from the vehicle crimes unit has already been assigned to the case.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the detective’s unit at 702-2230.

Southampton Town Police are seeking the help of residents in locating a man they believe hit a nun with his car in Water Mill and then fled the scene, leaving his vehicle, and the 60-year-old woman who would succumb to her injuries.
According to police, on Monday night around 8:30 p.m.  Southampton Town Police received a 911 call about a female lying on the ground near 383 Rose Hill Road in Water Mill. Police said the caller described the woman as “bleeding and unresponsive.” Southampton Town Police Officers and Detectives responded to the scene where they say they found a white female, 60 years old, laying dead on Rose Hill Road.
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, The New York State Troopers, a Riverhead K-9 Unit, members of the Suffolk County Police Crime Lab, and the Southampton Fire Department responded to the scene to assist with the investigation.
Police identified the woman as Sister Jacqueline Walsh, of Syosett. Police said she was on a retreat with her colleagues from the Sisters of Mercy.
In a press release issued Tuesday afternoon, police said they believe she was the victim of a hit-and-run accident, possibly involving someone who left the scene, and his vehicle, behind. Detectives located an unoccupied 2009 Volkswagen Tourareg about a half-mile from the crime scene that was damaged on the front end of the vehicle.
As of Tuesday morning, police were still searching for the driver and asked area residents for their help in locating him. According to police, they are searching for a white, Hispanic male, approximately 5’7”, in his 20’s or 30’s with short spiked hair. Police believe he is wearing dark shorts and a white shirt at the time of the accident.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the detective’s unit at 702-2230.


Immigration Case Worker Available on East End After Change in Federal Immigration Law

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In the wake of a new federal immigration policy, announced last Friday by President Barack Obama, Congressman Tim Bishop announced this week that his office has a full time immigration caseworker available to assist young people in New York’s First Congressional District seeking temporary legal status.

Interested constituents are encouraged to contact Leah Sullivan at 631-289-6500.

Under the immigration policy which President Obama implemented through an executive order, effective immediately some young people brought to the United States as young children will be eligible for relief from deportation and will also be eligible to work for two years, after which they can apply to renew that permit.

“I voted to pass the DREAM [Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors] Act in the House, and I support the President taking Executive action to give young people who came to America as children a chance to legally contribute to our society,” said Congressman Bishop in a press release issued on Monday morning. “This is a positive development for fairness in our immigration policy and my office stands ready to help young people who want to pursue relief from deportation and the ability to work legally in the United States.”

According to the new policy, in order to be eligible for relief, individuals must have come to the United States under the age of 16, have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years prior to June 15 when the order was passed, currently be in school, have graduated from high school, obtained a GED or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces.

Felons are not eligible, nor those convicted of a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses or those who otherwise pose a treat to national security or public safety. The policy caps eligibility for those who are under the age of 30.

More information is available at http://timbishop.house.gov/uploads/FINAL%20Web%20Text%20FAQ.pdf.

Lauer’s Plans For Horse Farm Move Ahead

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By Claire Walla

Sag Harbor resident and “Today Show” host Matt Lauer is one step closer to building a horse farm on a 40-acre piece of land off Deerfield Road in Water Mill.

At a meeting last Thursday, May 24, the Southampton Town Planning Board officially closed the public hearing regarding the proposed Edge of Woods Horse Farm, near the intersection of Deerfield and Edge of Woods roads. The board voted to leave a 14-day window for written comments before town planner Claire Vail drafts her final report on the application.

The board is not expected to make its final determination on the application until next month at the earliest.

However, while the process seems to be moving forward, residents who had been vocal in their opposition to the building project had their last say.

“My concern is with the use of an [agricultural] reserve — [for which] the town purchased the development rights — for building a project of this size,” said Water Mill resident Kim Covell, whose home is adjacent to the proposed horse farm. “This is something we should think long and hard about.”

According to the application, Edge of Woods Horse Farm would include two 34,000 square foot outdoor riding rings, a 23,940 square foot indoor riding ring, as well as a 17,455 square foot barn with space for up to 36 horses. The proposed “grooms quarters” and utility building would exist within two structures currently on the property.

Currently, only 6,010 square feet are dedicated to buildings. The proposed horse farm would increase that to about 49,742 square feet.

Southampton Town purchased the development rights to the 30.3-acre property on Deerfield Road, then known as Frankenbach’s Deerfield Nursery, for $3.6 million in 2005. That action effectively preserved the land for open space.

However, according to planning board member Jacqi Lofaro, the proposed Edge of Woods Horse Farm does not, in fact, violate the town’s rules and regulations when it comes to preservation.

“As odd as it seems, New York State considers horse farms farming,” she explained. “Many people don’t realize that.”

In fact, “equestrian rights” is listed as one of the exemptions when it comes to limiting the development of open spaces. The property owner therefore has “the right to use and erect structures for the purpose of boarding, breeding, raising and training of horses or other equines,” according to official Grant of Development Rights signed in 2005.

The exemption does not include “riding academies” or “equine events.” But Tim McCulley, a lawyer for the proposed Edge of Woods Horse Farm, insisted the stables would be for private use only, and no classes or camps would be administered from the farm.

“We’re not trying to draw people from all over,” he told the board. “It can’t be a riding academy.”

Water Mill resident J. Andreassi, who has lived in the area for about 11 years, said overall, in his opinion the horse farm is a much better use of the land than what it’s been used for in the past. As a former commercial space, he explained that it brought a lot of tractor-trailers to the area, including trucks making deliveries early in the morning.

“My wife and I think this application is going to be much better for the future of that particular area,” he added. “From our point of view, there will be less traffic.”

However, some neighbors also cited concerns with a row of cypress trees proposed for the edge of the property.

Neighbor Peter Barylskie noted that some homeowners would be affected by the new row of foliage, in that they would lose sun earlier in the day, therefore shortening their days “by two or three hours.”

Harriet Wittenberg agreed with Barylskie.

“I don’t see any problem with this project, except that it might block our view,” she said.

McCulley said the landscaping plans are still “in the works.”

“We can accommodate the neighbors,” he added. “If the people want to see the horse farm, then we’re going to try to accommodate them as best as possible.”

Going Once, Going Twice… Sold!

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By Claire Walla

Some kids dream of working in the E.R., fighting fires, or flying to the moon.

For Paul Bailey, it was auctioneering.

“One day, when I grow up,” Bailey remembered thinking, “I want to be an auctioneer!”

The son of an antiques dealer, Bailey had been a fixture at auctions across the East End from a very young age. He loved entering a room of worn possessions and artifacts; but, he particularly enjoyed listening to the auctioneer, who when describing each lot would essentially tell the story of how it came to be.

“I wish I could call this a profession,” Bailey, now 65 and a lawyer, wistfully admitted. Instead it’s a passion, although — lucky for him — it’s a passion he’s able to fuel this weekend.

On Saturday, June 2 Bailey will officiate a live auction at The Old Whalers’ Church in Sag Harbor. The items, high end antiques and furnishings offered by 15 or so dealers from across the East End, will be available for “inspection” at 9 a.m. The live bidding process will start promptly at 11 a.m. and is expected to last until 3 p.m., depending on how many items end up on the block. (According to Bailey, it takes roughly one hour for an auctioneer to run through 100 lots.)

Bailey initially thought of organizing the event with his daughter, Kelly, about three years ago as a fundraiser for Stella Maris Regional School. However, now that the school’s closed, the Baileys decided to transition their fundraising efforts over to the Old Whalers’ Church for the benefit of the Community House at Old Whalers’ which was established to improve and maintain the facilities used by groups such as the Sag Harbor Food Pantry, the Conservative Synagogue of the Hamptons, Alcoholics Anonymous and other organizations.

By partnering with local antiques stores here on the East End (among those taking part is Colette Home Consignment — which is putting up 300 lots alone — and English Country Antiques), Paul Bailey estimates he will ultimately auction-off anywhere from 200 to 400 lots. (The church will get roughly 20 percent of all sales.)

What’s more, in his estimation, Bailey said the event is the first of its kind on the East End in nearly 20 years. And he would know. Though never a full-fledged auctioneer, he has always been an avid auction-goer.

“If there’s an auction within my sightline,” he added, “I go.”

Auctions used to be an annual tradition on the East End, Bailey said. Most prominently etched into his memory now are the summer auctions, which took place each year in Water Mill, where they were run by a man named Charles Vanderveer.

“He did auctions for a living,” Bailey explained. “I was just fascinated by him, so I went up to him one day and asked if he needed a hand.”

Bailey was about 18 years old at the time, and ended up being his assistant for a few years.

Vanderveer didn’t do “a-mile-a-minute;” that verbal technique is reserved for those who’ve attended auctioneering school. (Yes, they do exist. At one point, Bailey even considered attending. “I wanted to be able to talk fast, just for fun,” he said.) Instead, Vanderveer gave Bailey insight into the back-end of the business.

“Being at the podium and doing the auction, that’s only 20 percent of it,” Bailey said. “The biggest issue is getting things organized.”

There are roughly 50 jobs that will be filled (by volunteers) at Old Whalers’ between Friday — when the consigners deliver the auction items — and Sunday, when the last of the items sold are expected to be picked up. These positions range from transporting lots, to guarding the lots during “inspection” and — perhaps most importantly — keeping an accurate list of who bid for what.

They’ll have their work cut out for them — goods to be sold include furniture, lighting, rugs, glassware, vintage toys and one-of-a kind pieces dating anywhere from the late 19th century to the 1960s.

But, behind the podium, Bailey will have his work cut out for him, as well.

Each lot will come in with a minimum dollar amount set by the consignor. While the auction will typically start below that asking price, it’s the auctioneer’s job to try to reach that goal, if not exceed it. Bailey is responsible for setting the pace of the auction by deciding increments.

For example, if the bidding for a table worth $300 started at $200 and several cards were up in the first round of bidding, Bailey might increase the selling point by increments of $25. For less popular items, increments might go up by $10.

“You have to watch your audience and pay attention to who’s bidding,” Bailey said. “Some bidders try to be subtle,” he added with a tinge of disdain. “And if they get lost in the bidding process, they squawk.”

Ultimately, Bailey said the real draw of the auction process is the thrill of discovery.

He continued, “You sit in a chair and you get an education.”

The live auction at Old Whalers’ Church (44 Union Street, Sag Harbor) is Saturday, June 2 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with pre-inspection beginning at 9 a.m. The auction is unreserved and there is no buyers’ premium. The auction will take place rain or shine, under a tent on the front lawn weather permitting, otherwise in the main sanctuary of the church. The preview will be on the lower level of the church. A café on premises opens at 10:30 a.m., for cash sales of coffee, soft drinks, baked goods and hot dogs throughout the day.

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.”