November 01, 2006

Concrete Steps Taken Toward Cottages at Mattituck

After a year of hard work and discussion, positive steps were taken last Friday to transform the dream of affordable housing in Southold Town into a here-and-now reality.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell and Southold Town Councilman Bill Edwards joined Marianne Garvin, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Community Development of Long Island, Inc. on Factory Avenue in Mattituck to celebrate as County Executive Steve Levy signed a measure to acquire land for the long-anticipated Cottages at Mattituck.

The resolution allocates $895,000 for the purchase of the 7.4-acre parcel, bordered by Factory and Sound Avenue in Mattituck. The Cottages at Mattituck plan calls for 22 affordable homes on the site.

Friday's event was the culmination of a year of hard work and many discussions between the Town of Southold and Community Development of Long Island, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that assists families and small businesses with services that support housing opportunities.

The proposed project, which is the first to make use of the town's brand-new affordable housing district (AHD) legislation, sparked community discourse at public hearings.

While many residents turned out to plead emotionally for the opportunity to be able to continue to live and work in Southold, others questioned the density of the proposed plan.

One half of the 22 stand-alone two-bedroom, wood-shingled ranch homes will be sold at $184,000 to eligible buyers in town making less than 80% of the median income — $58,250 for a family of two or $72,800 for a family of four. The remaining units will be sold at $218,400 to eligible buyers in town making 100% of the median income — $72,800 for a family of two or $91,000 for a family of four.

In April, the Southold Town Board voted on a change of zone from R-80 to the new AHD district zone and on the transfer of 10 sanitary flow credits that would allow the project to proceed.

On Friday, the supervisor thanked Levy for helping to make the vision a reality and commended the efforts of both Edwards, instrumental in creating the new AHD legislation, and Southold Town special projects coordinator Phillip Beltz, who has worked to create and oversee the town's new affordable housing registry. "Projects like this don't happen by accident."

Levy said although the project is a small one, when coupled with efforts in other communities such as Westhampton, Yaphank and Brentwood, every step taken toward solving the affordable housing crisis adds up. "We're starting to make a dent," he said. "The need for more affordable homeownership opportunities touches every part of the county, and we need to help our young people stay on Long Island and establish careers and families. This is another piece of the puzzle."

The county executive commended the affordable price tag: "You can't get a garage for $184,000 on the North Fork these days."

Levy spoke of other affordable housing lotteries, where he'd witnessed the "life-changing" outcomes and smiles of winners. The Cottages at Mattituck, he said, represent hope for individuals who will not have to make the difficult choice between staying in Southold or leaving Long Island forever.

Garvin said the CDC approached Southold with the project because the town, in creating the new AHD legislation, had opened the door for such opportunities. Individuals who have applied for the housing registry have been meeting with the CDC and participating in homeowner education.

A lottery for the Cottages at Mattituck will be held on December 9, after which chosen individuals will go directly into contract with the CDC. "It's going to be a very happy day," said Garvin.

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