A new community group has emerged in Hampton Bays and its organizers have big plans to involve as many residents as possible to take back their community.
The organization, called , started as a grass roots effort to fight at the . It has since organized with a board of directors, incorporated as a non-profit, and has hired an attorney.
The group's board, made up of five, long-time residents, is now ready to go public and is holding its first community meeting at 6 p.m. at , said Michael Dunn, president of the organization's board of directors.
By knocking on the doors of neighbors and through a new Facebook Page, Dunn says the group already has a commitment of 100 residents to join the group, but, he said, he hopes that more will hop on board.
"We want a voice. We want the community to pull together," said Dunn.
In addition to individuals and businesses playing a role in the organization, Dunn says he hopes that other civic groups and organizations will ban with them.
"We welcome every single group and any ideas and input," he said. "I don't care how we get to the finish line as long as we get there."
Dunn says the group will focus on quality of life issues, taxes and the environment.
"Simply put we want to . We don't feel that they are doing it adequately," said Dunn, noting that he is a "realist" and understands that things take time. But, he said: "It has gone too far."
"The enforcement and penalizing of landlords is not steep enough. It's just business as usual," he said.
One of the biggest problems in Hampton Bays is overcrowding, said Dunn.
"The Hampton Bays School District's enrollment is up 9.4 percent from 2004 to 2011 and there hasn't been a building boom. The problem is from overcrowding in homes in Hampton Bays," he said.
Not to mention, he said that last year, had to pack 23 students in per classroom, while neighboring school districts average between 18 and 19 — Westhampton Beach has 16.
The county's homeless shelter is also a problem, said Dunn as is a project before the town's Zoning Board of Appeals that asks for the conversion of to a year-round apartment building. If that project is approved, Dunn said, it will set a precident in the community.
Density not only harms the school district and puts a tax burden on residents, said Dunn, but it also is detrimental to the area's waterways.
"It is having a dramatic, negative effect," he said.
"The town is just not listening to residents of Hampton Bays that make up 25 percent of Southampton Town, so we need to organize, go in a new direction, and attack these issues head on," he said.
Dunn said the group plans to have regular meetings and to fund its activities, the group is requesting a $50 donation from each member and $300 from businesses that join.
"The money is not a requirement, what we really want is voices so we are successful."
Will you join the group? Comment below.
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