The January 15th Southold Town Public Hearing regarding changes to Chapter 111 Coastal Hazard Areas may not directly affect every waterfront property owner but the suggested changes appear to be symptomatic of probable future code changes which will affect every waterfront property owner. The changes to Chapter 111 appear to be another regulatory take away and erosion of property value.
The suggested definition change, which may appear innocuous, has significant ramifications.
Present Chapter 111 Town Code as well as NYS DEC Part 505: Coastal Erosion Management defines major addition as a 25% or greater increase in ground area coverage of a structure. Ground area coverage would include items like decks, breezeway, garage etc. This new code change now significantly reduces that allowance to only “principal building and a principal livable floor area” and will be defined as:
LIVABLE FLOOR AREA — All spaces within the exterior walls of a dwelling unit, exclusive of garages, breezeways, unheated porches, cellars, heater rooms and approved basements having a window area of less than 10% of the square foot area of the room. Usable floor area shall include all spaces not otherwise excluded above, such as principal rooms, utility rooms,bathrooms, all closets and hallways opening directly into any rooms within the dwelling unit. [Extracted from thedraft code]
First there was a Code change reducing the building coverage allowance of a property lot to 20% of “buildable area” as determined by the Town and now this recommended change reduces a property owners allowance from an increase of 25% of “ground area coverage” to limiting it to 25% of a “principal livable floor area” building (defined above and excluding breezeway, garages, decks etc.) Each of these changes affects property value!
The waterfront property owner’s ability to utilize their property is again being eroded – while their contribution to the tax rolls of Southold remains unchanged
Watch the video of the January 15th Public Hearing on Channel 22 or use the citation below and decide for yourself
North Sea Drive, which is located on the LI Sound between Kenney’s Road and Horton Lane was discussed extensively throughout the hearing discussion. When an elected official representing the regulatory agency concerned with Town waterfront in his enthusiasm to rationalize the recommended change makes untrue statements like: “Some homes on North Sea Drive are so big that they cast huge shadows on their smaller neighbors and the sunlight never even comes in.” [It should be noted that on North Sea Drive, the sun rises in the front and sets in the rear of homes (or the reverse) which makes that statement impossible and the average lot size on North Sea Drive is also greater than a half-acre as documented by Tax Map 1000-054-4-lots 4-24] Waterfront Property owners need to be extremely concerned
I am a strong believer in the effectiveness of public-private partnership. However, when waterfront property owners are disproportionally singled out, we need to be heard.
Each individual comment sent to Town government provides a significant cumulative effect regarding constituent opinion. While this particular change may not directly affect every waterfront property, there have been changes in the past and there will are anticipated changes in the future that will.
Should you also be concerned about property value and property rights for these changes or any future changes, email or call the Town Board with your comment.
Scott A. Russell, Town Supervisor email@example.com
Luisa Evans, Town Board Member firstname.lastname@example.org
Albert Krupski, Town Board Member / Deputy Supervisor email@example.com
Christopher Talbot, Town Board Member firstname.lastname@example.org
William P. Ruland Town Board Member Rulandfarm@yahoo.com
Jill Doherty, Town Board Member email@example.com
The Chapter 111 changes were not voted on at the January 15th Public Hearing and were tabled. However, it was brought to a vote at the next meeting held on the 29th. It passed 4-1 with the following votes: Supervisor Russell, Councilman Doherty, Evans and Ruland – YES; Councilman Talbot – NO. Will the Board’s action on Chapter 111 be indicative of their future concern for property value and property rights?