Home News Local News Town Hall roundup: Affordable housing, traffic study in Greenport, repaving project

Town Hall roundup: Affordable housing, traffic study in Greenport, repaving project

Affordable Housing on Fishers Island

At this morning’s Southold Town Board work session, Chris Finan, president of Fishers Island Utility Company, proposed a zoning change on some properties the utility owns on the island to provide housing for their workers. They are unable to provide sufficient housing to entice employees to come to Fishers Island, Finan said.

The company is in need of about 15 long-term housing units to accommodate their workers. Finan said that his employees need to live on the island in case of emergencies, adding that historically, many of the utility’s workers are volunteer firefighters and EMTs. The utility presently has dormitory style housing set up for employees who are on call, but they have recently lost five people who could have moved into the electric company long term because of housing, he said.

Affordable Housing in Southold Town

Southold Town is currently working on zoning changes to allow affordable housing in areas zoned hamlet business. A special exemption would be necessary from the zoning board of appeals to convert existing retail space into housing.

If special exemptions were granted, assistant town attorney Damon Hagan said, the owner would agree to keep it as affordable housing for at least eight years and would be required to convert it back to its original zoning after that time if they no longer wanted to use it as affordable housing.

“The goal is essentially to have a mechanism in place where we can increase affordable housing as well as give an option to property owners that have vacant commercial space to be able to do something else with it so we can alleviate two issues with one mechanism,” he said.

Traffic Study for Intersection of Route 48 and Main Road, Greenport

Southold Town engineers Jamie Richter and Michael Collins asked that $32,000 be budgeted for a traffic study of the increasingly dangerous intersection at the blinking light in Greenport where Route 48 and Main Road meet. New York State is currently doing a traffic study of that intersection, they said, which should be finished before the end of the year.

After reviewing the results of the NY State study, Southold Town will be able to determine if further study is necessary.

According to a US Department of Transportation TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) project description filed in 2009, a traffic circle was favored over a traffic signal as early as 2000. But because of the need to realign the intersection and the cost involved, the project was put on hold and a blinking light was installed as an interim measure in 2004.

Most of the roadway at the intersection is owned by New York State.

Once the studies are complete, Southold Town would be in a position to apply for county or grant money for the project.

Road Resurfacing Update

Southold Town highway superintendent Vincent Orlando gave an update on the town’s road resurfacing project, which is moving ahead on schedule. The next project is in Mattituck: Wickham Avenue, Grand Avenue, Reeve Road and Soundview Avenue from Route 48 to the Sound.

After that is completed repaving will be done on Old North Road, Lighthouse Road, some smaller sections and then Hobart Road in Southold.

Katharine is a writer and photographer who has lived on the North Fork for nearly 40 years, except for three-plus years in Hong Kong a decade ago, working for the actor Jackie Chan. She lives in Cutchogue. Email Katharine