FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: May 10, 2011
Contact: Jennifer Garvey
TOWN BOARD ADOPTS REFORMS TO MAJOR LAND USE LEGISLATION
Changes Endorsed by Civic, Environmental and Development Advocates
The Southampton Town Board today adopted reforms to major land use legislation; a zoning tool called Planned Develop District or PDD. The reforms are the results of months of collaboration with community leaders, environmentalists, development advocates and Town planning staff, led by Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.
“Land use policy is perhaps the most important responsibility we have as Town Board members because the manner in which our community is developed informs every aspect of our way of life, from traffic to taxes, environmental health to economic sustainability,” said Throne-Holst.
“The PDD tool -- which has enabled many very large scale developments throughout the Town -- has been a source of intense public controversy for more than a decade, and was the number one issue community members urged me to address when I became supervisor, “ she said.
The reform process began with the formation of a small ad-hoc advisory group comprised of representatives from community groups, the Town Planning Board, the development community and Town planning staff who shared their concerns about the current legislation and reviewed submissions submitted over the past year by other groups advocating for legislative changes.
“What was most interesting in bringing these stakeholders together was that they all had similar complaints about the existing legislation -- primarily that the review process and evaluation criteria were too vague and public participation was needed much earlier on,” said Throne-Holst. “As a result, projects took years to review, community members and applicants became confused and frustrated with the process, and many constituents felt the project outcomes were unfair.”
“Our overarching goal in revising the legislation was to create a more predictable process that would result in projects that fit well with the surrounding community and offer adequate, hamlet-specific community benefits in exchange for the opportunity to development a property in a unique way,” she said. “We’ve also included a requirement to review the status of pending PDD projects and the legislation itself on a regular basis to ensure it continues to work as well as possible,” she said.
“It was really a pleasure to work on this initiative and hear so many thoughtful and thorough suggestions. I can’t imagine how we could have made this process more open or inclusive, and I think the end result is excellent legislation,” said Throne-Holst. “I thank everyone who participated in this process for their hard work and sincere interest in looking out for the future of our Town,” she said.
The amendments to the Planned Development District legislation have been the subject of seven public hearings and have been endorsed by Group for the East End; Long Island Builders Institute; Long Island Pine Barrens Society; Bayview Pines Civic Association; CAC West (Eastport to Westhampton); East Quogue Civic Association; North Sea Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC); Sag Harbor CAC; Southampton Town Civic Coalition; Southampton, Tuckahoe, Shinnecock Hills CAC; Speonk Remsenburg Civic Association and the Watermill CAC.
The amendments to Town Code Section 330-244, which deals with procedure and contains the bulk of the amendments, was approved by a unanimous vote of the Town Board. Amendments are also proposed to Town Code 330-245, which deals with development standards and evaluation criteria, will be the subject of a public hearing with the option to adopt on May 24.
A summary of the changes implemented via the new PDD amendments is attached.
CHANGES RESULTING FROM PDD AMMENDMENTS
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