Seven affordable housing parcels eyed for Flanders

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Architect Bill Chaleff of the Southampton Housing Authority shows models of affordable housing units planned for seven sites in Flanders.

Affordable housing units are in the works for seven separate properties in Flanders, but some residents there who had fought against proposed rental projects in the largely working-class hamlet aren’t taking to the owner-occupied housing plan well either.

The project is being overseen by the Southampton Housing Authority, using properties that were taken by Suffolk County for failure to pay taxes. Those properties are then given to the town at no cost, so long as they are used for affordable housing.

Architect Bill Chaleff and Housing Authority member Vince Taldone outlined the plan Monday night for members of the Flanders, Riverside, and Northampton Community Association.

FRNCA members have long objected to an initial proposal to use those same sites for affordable rentals, insisting the end result would be more neighborhood blight. Many had said they would prefer a homeownership program.

But at the meeting, some members said no affordable housing should be built in Flanders, pointing out that the area already has the most affordable housing in Southampton.

“Even if we didn’t build here, they would still be built,” Mr. Taldone said in response to those concerns.

If the town didn’t build affordable housing on the seven sites, it would have to give them back to the county, which would just get someone else to build affordable housing on them, he said.

“We fought hard for homeownership,” said FRNCA president Brad Bender.

“We’re always offered something where if we don’t like it, the alternative is worse,” complained longtime resident Carl Iacone, who opposed the affordable housing plan.

The seven sites are at 11 and 200 Maple Ave., 115 and 434 Flanders Blvd., 207 and 307 Oak Ave. and 115 Brookhaven Ave.
Each home will cost about $200,000 to build, but will be sold for about $180,000, according to Mr. Chaleff, who said state and federal subsidies allow them to be sold at that price.

“There’s no profit in this,” he said.

The Long Island Housing Partnership will hold a lottery to determine who gets first crack at buying the homes, but prospective buyers must meet income guidelines by earning no more than 80 percent of the median income for the area, which is about $57,000 for one person and about $86,000 for a family of four. To qualify by meeting the 80 percent maximum, a single person would have to earn no more than $45,600 and a family of four no more than $68,800.

The homes were designed in a way that would cost more to buy, but which would save more in energy, according to Mr. Chaleff. “These will have heating bills of about $600 a year,” he said.

The homes also could all be adapted to accommodate wheelchairs.

As for whether local residents get first priority, that issue had yet to be decided and would be determined by the Town Board, town officials said.

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