Southampton Village Extends Building Moratorium

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The Southampton Village trustees voted last week to extend a moratorium banning construction of houses designed to be taller than 35 feet.

The vote was 4-0 in favor of the extension, with Mayor Mark Epley absent from the meeting on Thursday evening, April 9.

The moratorium was originally set to expire this month but will be extended until August to give the trustees and the Southampton Village Planning Commission more time to evaluate reports from Nelson, Pope & Voorhies detailing the current restrictions and proposals for height control.

Currently, the village has a 35-foot limit on the height of new houses, but several recent applications have sought to exceed that limit, based on the fact that the Federal Emergency Management Agency requires new construction in the floodplain to be elevated to avoid flooding. As a result, some houses were proposed to be taller than the village’s limit when measured from ground level.

With the moratorium in effect, building permits for homes more than 35 feet high—regardless of whether they have been considered by any of the village’s review boards already—generally cannot be issued until the village votes to lift the moratorium. Residents can petition the Village Board for a special exception to have a case reviewed or approved, however.

While the moratorium is in place, review boards are not allowed to weigh or approve new building or alteration applications for homes that would be higher than 35 feet with an altered flood line, or 27 feet for a house with a flat-pitched roof. The building inspector is also not authorized to grant any further building permits for such homes.

“The moratorium has been a good exchange of ideas and comments from the public, professionals, designers and board members, and we gathered a lot of information to give to our Planning Commission,” said Deputy Mayor Richard Yastrzemski, who led the meeting on Thursday night. “However, the Planning Commission still needs a little more time to formulate concrete plans for us to go forward.”

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