Despite objections from neighbors, the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals recently approved a variance that could eventually pave the way for a small subdivision along Homestead Avenue on Quiogue.
During their meeting on May 1, zoning board members granted a variance allowing for the installation of a 20-foot-wide driveway on the 2-acre property at 41 Homestead Avenue. The variance, which allows the driveway to be roughly 10 feet narrower than typically permitted, essentially clears the way for property owner Armand Sposato to subdivide the land and construct three additional new homes on it. Work on the property’s first house is already under way.
A group of neighbors on Homestead and Fairview avenues organized an effort to persuade the ZBA not to grant the variance on the grounds that it would drastically alter the character of the neighborhood by increasing its density. The group, led by South Country Road resident Barbara Weber-Floyd, collected 19 signatures for a petition that called for the board to reject the appeal, but to no avail.
“I don’t think anything we said made any difference at all,” Ms. Weber-Floyd said. “The fact that we handed in a petition with the whole neighborhood signing meant nothing. They made up their minds from the beginning.”
ZBA Chairman Herb Phillips said there was no reason to reject the application, because what was being requested was “extremely minor” and because it was within Mr. Sposato’s rights to build four houses on the land, as it is zoned R-20, meaning it is eligible for one residence per every 20,000 square feet, or roughly half an acre.
Mr. Phillips added that just because people object to more density in their neighborhood does not mean zoning board members have the ability to go against town zoning. “This is the real world,” he said. “People are entitled to build on property that they pay taxes on.”
Mr. Sposato will now go before the Southampton Town Planning Board for a preliminary hearing on his request to subdivide and build on the land, which will be followed by a final hearing when that board is expected to make a final decision. No date has been set for either hearing.
Ms. Weber-Floyd said her group submitted the same petition to the Planning Board, but she’s not optimistic that its decision will be any more favorable to her cause.
“It’s very sad—we’re all very sad about it,” she said. “Like I said, it’s a rigged game. It’s designed to make it easier for the developer and tough for the resident.”
Peter Simmons, who referred to himself as an agent representing Mr. Sposato’s group, Sposato L.P., said his client plans on moving forward with his proposal once he secures a date with the Planning Board. He added that, in his opinion, the construction of three new houses will improve the community’s character.
“I don’t understand it,” he said, referring to the petition filed by the neighbors. “I think it’s improving the street … It’s half-acre zoning, and the houses are going to be on a half acre each.”