The town-sanctioned plan to revitalize Riverside will help increase tax revenues and improve the quality of life for residents living in the hamlet, according to the Southampton Town Democratic candidates for Town Board.
In a party platform released Monday, Southampton Town Supervisor candidate and current Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Southampton), along with Town Board candidates John Bouvier and Julie Lofstad, described the revitalization project as an important step toward raising property values in the “most economically distressed area of the town.”
“It’s one of the big reasons I’m running for supervisor,” Mr. Schneiderman said in an interview. “I’d like to see that project to fruition. You’ve got a very detailed plan there.”
Southampton Democrats are also calling for stricter regulations on wastewater systems for new developments in order to improve water quality. Mr. Schneiderman added his party’s proposals would be ahead of county standards, noting Southampton Town could “lead, in this regard.”
In a press release, Mr. Bouvier said: “Our environment and our economy are linked. Overdevelopment is not just impacting our roads. It’s impairing our waters. But I’m confident that we can make significant progress in reversing the damage that’s been caused and restoring our water quality.”
Southampton Democrats are also calling for a one-year moratorium on all new Planned Development District applications while the Town Board re-examines zoning codes.
In addition, the candidates said they would strengthen code enforcement in town by:
• Strictly enforcing occupancy limits already on the books.
• Hire more code enforcement officers.
• Explore certifying code enforcement officers as peace officers.
• Set up a separate unit of code enforcement to deal solely with overcrowding and rental law violations.
• Work with a judge to set up an expedited court process.
Mr. Schneiderman said those efforts would be focused in the Hampton Bays area, where many residents have complained of overcrowded housing. He added a longer-term solution is needed to create more workforce housing.
“We have a large demand for labor that can’t live in the area,” Mr. Schneiderman said.
In addition to a more regional approach that would determine labor housing needs for each hamlet, the Democratic platform calls for a revised accessory apartment law that would allow apartments to be built within existing “under-occupied” homes.
For example, the candidates said a senior living alone in a three-bedroom home could host a local worker in a separate apartment within the dwelling.
Democrats would also seek to reduce traffic along local roadways that are swamped with tourists and day-trippers during the summer months. Ms. Lofstad said the plan is the product of months of hearing from the public on the issues they care about.
“There is a sense that we are losing the things we love about the Town of Southampton,” Ms. Lofstad said. “It is our job to protect our quality of life.”