The East Hampton Town Board is making incremental steps toward developing affordable housing on a former church property in Wainscott.
The board this week kicked off discussions over a zoning overlay for a property it purchased in 2019 for an affordable development, 27East reported.
The 6.4-acre site on Route 114 includes the former home of the Triune Baptist Church and a neighboring property. The town purchased the two properties for around $1.8 million.
Current zoning for the two parcels only allows one single-family home on each, but city officials are aiming to get around 26 apartments or 13 homes across them with a zoning overlay.
Town officials are reportedly concerned about delays or complications related to the septic system. The property is in an area considered crucial to protecting groundwater supplies.
That could limit the number of units allowed on the property under Suffolk County guidelines to 13 apartments or six homes.
The town could double the number of units with either a septic treatment system or by transferring development rights from the other properties.
Town planner Eric Schantz reportedly told the board an expensive septic treatment system may not be economically feasible for a relatively small development.
The East Hampton Housing Authority used such a system for the 37-unit Gansett Meadows development at the cost of around $1.2 million.
The Hamptons is in dire need of affordable housing. Some restaurants and retailers told The New York Times this summer they struggled to find workers to staff their businesses because of the scant affordable rentals available in East End towns.
Officials in Shelter Island — which counts a year-round population of less than 3,300 — have pushed for affordable housing and so-called workforce housing projects in the town. There are two affordable projects currently in the works, but the town is currently the only on the East End without a single affordable unit.
[27east] — Dennis Lynch