Standing before 260 residents on Wednesday night, Michael Dunn, president of the new organization, laid out his new group's mission — by ridding the area of illegal housing, homeless shelters and tackling issues, like blight and the degradation of the bays.
"'Not in my backyard' stops today. Hampton Bays is now all of our backyards," Dunn said. "Simply put, we have a goal to aggressively recruit members and build a force to tell town leaders that we want Southampton Town to listen to us."
Dunn's comments were met with a thundering applause as were statements made by Dunn's fellow board members, Eve Houlihan and Robert Liner. Also making up the Concerned Citizen's board is Dan Aube and Simone Scotto.
"We need to turn the tide," said Houlihan. "We don't need more studies and task forces. Logic dictates the following: halt illegal use of transient units."
"We are not asking for the moon here," she said.
Liner also rallied the audience, saying, "Are we part of the Hamptons? Or have we been left to fend for ourselves? We can't do this alone. Help us restore Hampton Bays."
Urging residents to participate, Liner laid out a plan to create subcommittees within the organization, including ones that would work on the development of a website, recruitment of members, fundraising, public relations, monitoring environmental and code compliance and statistics.
Statistics, said Dunn, is what the group is basing its actions on, pointing out that Hampton Bays has the highest population in the Town of Southampton with 13,603 residents. That number, he said, translates to a density factor of 1,075 people per square mile as opposed to 339 people per square mile in every other hamlet in the town.
The high density, said Dunn, directly relates to the school district, taxes and a negative effect on the areas' waterways.
Residents in attendance agreed that the time is now to do something with one resident standing to ask for the phone numbers of officials that need to be contacted to fix the problem.
He said, "Let's bombard their phone lines."
Others offered up ideas on how issues could be addressed, including strengthening penalties against absentee landlords who rent to multiple families and using those fines to hire for more code enforcement officers to oversee Hampton Bays.
Also on hand during the meeting was Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, who assured the residents that she is 100 percent behind them and asked them to stand with her in the town's fight to take back the Hidden Cove Motel from the county.
The motel is — a use that have area residents seeing red.
"You need to go and barnstorm the county. I can’t stand by myself," said Throne-Holst.
Throne-Holst told residents that the town is also actively pursuing illegal housing in Hampton Bays and efforts have been ramped up. The problem, she said, is tie-ups in the court system and landlords that live in other states.
"We can't go after the landlords that live in Florida. That is out of our jurisdiction," she said.
Throne-Holst said she is in support of providing code enforcement officers that would specifically work in the hamlet of Hampton Bays, but she said that will take money.
The other issue with code enforcement, she said, is retention.
"We don't pay our code enforcers enough. They make less than they do in other municipalities, so we lose them and continuity is very important when it comes to code enforcement"
Also she said, the town needs code officers that are bilingual.
"Many times they go in to a home and the people live there don't understand what is going on," she said.
Will you join the Concerned Citizens of Hampton Bays? What did you think of the group's first meeting? Comment below.
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