The East Hampton Town Board took two steps in a recent meeting aimed at easing the East End’s affordability crisis, which residents have bemoaned as a burden on families and businesses alike.
The town board voted last week to adopt an affordable housing overlay district on Route 114 in the Wainscott School District, the East Hampton Star reported. The district includes three addresses on the road, including a 6.5-acre site acquired by the town for the express purpose of affordable housing; Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust owns the other parcel.
The town purchased its two properties in the new overlay district for $1.8 million in 2019, including the former home of the Triune Baptist Church. Discussions about a zoning overlay district began in November for the parcels, which only allowed for one single-family home on each previously.
City officials had their sights set on around 26 apartments or 13 homes when zoning overlay discussions began.
In addition to the overlay district, the town board also voted to amend the town code, according to the East Hampton Star. The change increases the amount of allowable single-family residences per acre in affordable overlay districts from two to four; the code allows for eight apartment units per acre.
The two approvals are a small step towards fighting the affordable housing crisis in the Hamptons, where a so-called trade parade ensues as workers leave the area each day, unable to afford to live where they ply their craft. Residents have sounded off on how the lack of affordable housing impacts children and businesses.
Earlier this year, officials in East Hampton announced an “All Hands on Housing” program, an affordable housing initiative in town. Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc previously stated the town has the highest cost of living on Long Island and highest poverty rate in Suffolk County, rendering its 600-plus affordable housing units insufficient.
[East Hampton Star] — Holden Walter-Warner