East Hampton Town is “constantly searching for properties that could accommodate affordable housing,” according to Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, and a $900,000 purchase of 3.92 acres of land on Route 114 is on the table for just that purpose.
Owned by Triune Baptist Church, and once slated for a new chapel for its members, the Wainscott property could potentially be the site of around 32 units of housing, give or take a few, depending upon various site-specific factors, Mr. Van Scoyoc said Monday. No final plans have been determined yet, but he said the ideal threshold of affordability is eight units per acre.
“I think every new unit that is created, every unit that is retained within the inventory, is important,” the supervisor said. “We have experienced, because of such high property values, a loss of housing for working people, which causes all sorts of economic problems for businesses and even the town.”
The East Hampton Town Board voted December 20 to set a public hearing on the property purchase. The hearing will be Thursday, January 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the meeting room at town hall, 159 Pantigo Road in East Hampton.
According to its website, before it decided to sell the property, Triune Baptist Church had designed a 60-by-40 foot building and secured building permits from the town. The more than 45-year-old church has owned the property since 1993. It currently meets at St. David A.M.E. Zion Church on Eastville Avenue. Triune Baptist Church Pastor Michael J. Jackson could not be reached for comment.
An effort in 2015 by the St. Michael’s Windmill Housing Associates to get 48 units of affordable housing off the ground in Wainscott was eventually shut down by staunch opposition from community members and Wainscott Common School District officials.
East Hampton is about to cut the ribbon on the Manor Houses, a 12-unit condominium complex on just under three acres on Accabonac Road. Mr. Van Scoyoc said sod was laid down just before Christmas. A 37-unit development on just over four acres, known as 531 Amagansett, at 531 Montauk Highway, is also in the works, he said.
Mr. Van Scoyoc said the town would also like to explore a partnership with the Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust, which owns eight units of affordable housing adjacent to the Triune Baptist Church land on Route 114.
“We’re more than happy to work with the town and collaborate in any way that we can,” said Ed Reale, a real estate agent who is a director of the Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust. “If it makes sense for the town and for us, we would certainly support doing it. … You can’t go without saying that the need for affordable housing in our community is dire and it’s getting worse. All that can be done is important.”