February 15, 2012
Contact: Councilman Chris Nuzzi
Councilwoman Christine Scalera
Town Revives Housing Task Force
Advisory Committee Will Address Needs, Living Conditions
Seeking to “reinvigorate” local government’s priorities, two Southampton Town Council members introduced legislation yesterday to better confront problems related to illegal and substandard housing.
A resolution put forth by council members Chris Nuzzi and Christine Preston Scalera to re-establish Southampton’s Housing and Quality of Life Task Force was adopted at yesterday’s Town Board meeting. Like its predecessor, created in 2006, the revived body will comprise members of various town divisions who will advise the Town Board regarding code enforcement, land use, safety, and other matters affecting housing.
“It’s important to regularly revisit policies and procedures related to Code Enforcement because the issues affecting our residents and neighborhoods are ever changing,” said Nuzzi. The councilman previously updated the Town’s rental code to address issues related to unsafe and overcrowded homes by requiring rental permits for year-round rentals, rather than just seasonal ones. “Another priority of the task force,” he added, “will be to look at how to prosecute violators, particularly repeat violators, in a more efficient and expeditious manner.”
Meeting at least once a month, the revamped committee will make recommendations dealing with enforcement actions, Town Code amendments, and procedural changes related to housing and quality of life issues. As such, its membership will include representatives of the Town Attorney, Police, Code Enforcement, Building and Zoning, Environment, Fire Marshal, Justice Court, and Town Council.
“The goal is to have better sharing of ideas and communication of information,” said Scalera, a former Deputy Town Attorney who, with Nuzzi, currently serves as the Town Council’s liaison for code enforcement issues. “A more efficient response means a more effective resolution.”
The councilwoman added that while the Town’s enforcement personnel do initiate investigations, the majority originate with constituents themselves. “Many times it is a neighbor who suspects a transient rental, or reports excessive vehicles on a property. Other times it is a tenant living in a substandard apartment, or a parent concerned about teens booking an illegal share house,” she said.
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