Around Southampton Town Hall: Hampton Bays Hamlet Study Environmental Study On Town Website

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The full text of the Hampton Bays Hamlet Study Final Environmental Impact Study is now on the Southampton Town website for viewing by the public.

Members of the community will have 60 days to submit their written input on the details of the study.

An environmental impact statement on the study, which is officially known as the Hampton Bays Corridor Strategic Plan and Impact of Buildout Study, was adopted by the Town Board last week. The EIS includes more than 80 pages of analysis of potential impacts from development on the hamlet and recommendations for changes to zoning, development plans and transportation options.

Much of the EIS addresses comments from members of the Hampton Bays community, garnered at two public hearings in early 2011.

Erosion Tax ExemptionsThe State Legislature this week approved a bill that would allow Southampton Town to exempt those property owners who have conservation easements on their property, either through the sale or donation of development rights, from erosion control districts and the tax burdens they carry.

The bill came in response to objections from two property owners, the White family of Sagaponack and the Bridgehampton Club, to being included in the taxing schedule for their respective erosion control districts. Tax rates in both districts are set, at least partly, according to linear footage of oceanfront property owned, a consideration that both the Whites and the club’s directors said placed an unfair burden on them since their land does not have the same value as other properties in the district because it has been sterilized from development.

The property owners in the two districts will be taxed over the next 10 years for the approximately $25 million estimated cost of a beach reconstruction project along the oceanfront of Water Mill, Bridgehampton and Sagaponack that will begin in September.

The Whites and the Bridgehampton Club were the owners of two of the largest stretches of oceanfront in the two districts. The club donated the development rights to its 12 acres of oceanfront land to the Peconic Land Trust in 1995.

The Whites sold the development rights to some 24 acres of oceanfront farmland to the town for $14 million in 2005. They would have been obligated to pay more than $60,000 per year in district taxes for the next 10 years, the second most of any property owner, prior to the exemption being approved.

Top Bag CollectorsThe students of the Bridgehampton School District were honored by Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi and the town’s Plastic Bag Education Task Force as the winners of the Plastic Bag Recycling Challenge for gathering and turning in the most plastic bags for recycling.

The school’s Environmental Club collected and turned in 5,296 plastic bags, an average of 39 per student, weighing 71.5 pounds.

Mr. Nuzzi and Councilwoman Christine Scalera began the “Greener Southampton” education program in response to calls from other members of the Town Board to ban the use of plastic grocery bags at stores townwide, as two local villages have done.

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