Sag Harbor may kill affordable housing law in crib

Residents call for zoning measure to be repealed

Sag Harbor trustee Aidan Corish (Getty, Village of Sag Harbor)
Sag Harbor trustee Aidan Corish (Getty, Village of Sag Harbor)

Sag Harbor’s affordable housing law has been in place for only eight months, but some are already pushing for it to be revamped or repealed.

This week, village trustee Aidan Corish recommended a review of Local Law 12, 27East reported. “There is a growing sense of unease that Local Law 12 will allow for unfettered development,” Corish said during a village board meeting.

It was not immediately clear how the law would do that.

The review will likely involve a two-part effort. First, village attorney Elizabeth Vail will clarify how the law is supposed to work in conjunction with the village code. Then the public will have an opportunity to comment on the nascent measure.

Some residents of the 2,800-member community are already champing at the bit to weigh in, saying the law was ill-conceived and should be wiped off the books. Other residents are advocating for specific changes, such as limiting the number of units and properties that can be combined in one development.

The discussion around affordable housing in the village centers on a 79-unit proposal made by Adam Potter shortly after Local Law 12’s enactment. Opponents quickly organized a group called Save Sag Harbor and sued, arguing that the village took shortcuts in conducting a required environmental review.

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Potter’s proposal appears to be in trouble. In December, two partners in the development backed out, citing the economic climate. Neither mentioned the growing backlash against the project, which set message boards on NextDoor ablaze.

Even if the $70 million, 106,000-square-foot project came to fruition, the need for affordable housing in the village — and across the East End — would remain high. Towns across the Hamptons have been scrambling to find solutions as people who work in the area during the summer and year-round struggle to find housing within it.

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Voters in the Hamptons and North Fork in November approved a property transfer tax to fund affordable housing, but it seems likely that voices opposed to building more will outnumber supporters of the idea as Sag Harbor reconsiders its own zoning law.

A timeline for the review has yet to be established.

— Holden Walter-Warner