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Supervisor Jay Schneiderman emphasized public safety and “Quality of Life” issues in his State of the Town address. Mr. Schneiderman delivered his State of the Town address to the Town Board at its meeting Tuesday April 25, 2017. The Supervisor’s address focused on several areas including public safety, quality of life, open and accessible government, the environment, Town finances and long range planning
Supervisor Schneiderman’s address placed a particular emphasis on public safety and quality of life issues. At the top of the Supervisor’s agenda on these topics was the hiring of the new Police Chief, the creation of a new public safety department that would consolidate the resources of code enforcement, fire marshal and animal control, and several changes to Town Code that would address concerns often expressed by citizens.
Two recent code changes already in place create new restrictions on filming in private locations and new limits on the hours of operations of any noisy construction equipment by private contractors in the Town on weekends. The Supervisor announced that he will be proposing two additional changes one placing limits on the number of cars that can be parked at a rental property and a new law that would require a “mass gathering permit” for private parties larger than 75 people. This permit would not impose a fee but would require the applicant to manage parking and comply with noise restrictions.
“We want residents and visitors to enjoy our community without having to deal with excessive noise, over-crowded or unsafe conditions”, said Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. “I believe these are common sense measures we can take to help accomplish those objectives.”
The Supervisor also said the Town will soon offer residents easier access to report concerns to specific departments through a new app developed by the Town’s IT department. This new Southampton Online Support System, called SOS, is accessible through any electronic device. It will also give residents a tracking number so they can follow developments on their requests.
The Supervisor also highlighted a number of efforts designed to make government more accessible and open. Those efforts included having meetings throughout the community, expanding the capacity for meeting in town hall, a number of community planning charrettes and a new approach using electronic surveys that in two recent uses had over 2000 residents participate.
Supervisor Schneiderman also noted the Town recently hired a Director of Housing to help accomplish his goal of more affordable housing for our workforce. “The Community has stepped up to the plate on this issue”, said Supervisor Schneiderman. “In Speonk, residents worked closely with the developer to gain support for a small housing development,” said Schneiderman. “Speonk Commons should serve as a model for other communities in our Town that recognize the need for more affordable housing to help working families,” the Supervisor added.
The riches of the Town’s natural resources and the financial security of the Town were also noted by the Supervisor. He applauded the passage of the CPF water referendum that will help preserve the Town’s waterways. The Supervisor added that CPF has protected and preserved over 4200 acres since its inception in 1999, of which nearly 400 acres were acquired since he took office in 2016. The Supervisor outlined a proposal to add an “organic farming” easement as an option for future farmland preservation; he hopes will stimulate local food production. He also said he wants the Town to meet its stated goal of reducing its carbon footprint calling for a plan to provide 100% of the Town’s electrical energy needs through renewable energy sources by 2025.
Mr. Schneiderman noted the Town’s recent affirmation for Triple A status by Moody’s and Standard and Poors. “We are proud of our fiscal status but we are also mindful that we need to keep our finances in check”, said Supervisor Schneiderman. Moody’s 2017 Credit Report cited strong management, diversified revenue and infrastructure investments as key to the rating. “We have met a very high standard and intend to keep operating at that level.” said Schneiderman.
The Supervisor concluded his comments with a review of the Town’s long range planning efforts that included a planned traffic study for Bridgehampton, the pattern book development for downtown Hampton Bays, a potential partnership with the Town of Riverhead for waste water treatment in Riverside and other efforts to help local businesses. The Supervisor also said he favors a plan to replace the Planned Development Districts Law. The PDD law is currently under a one year moratorium. “The new law will provide predictability and be more compatible with the community’s long term vision”, said Schneiderman.