This week, Patch reported that The Southampton Town Board is reviving the Housing and Quality of Life Task Force in an effort to clamp down on illegal rentals and substandard housing.
Readers had a lot to say on the subject. The following is a round-up of those comments. If you would like to join the conversation, feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section below.
Elaine was first to comment, saying, "This is wonderful news since we will be proactive in securing our communities, however,
most importantly the safety of individuals! We have ignored this problem for too long and the attention now is needed since the East End has been experiencing extreme density and future growth will undermine our environment and our quality of life! Thank You for your efforts which I hope will be accomplished in a consistent manner."
Jane Palmer wrote, "This is great news. The house behind me was a Summer share house for years. We repeatedly complained, and we were only successful once in taking him to court. The fine was $1,000.00 because he didn't have a rental permit. He said to the judge " I feel this fine is too steep." The judge (who is no longer on the bench,) said "OK, your fine is reduced to $500.00. ! " Needless to say this was a slap on the wrist for what turned out to be a $250,000.00 share house. These fines need to be above and beyond what these people get , as well as what their tenants tack on when they sub-let. The judges also have to get tough, and enforce the law. As far as the transient rentals , kudos to the town for trying to clean this up too. One house will be paying the school taxes, while 4 families with many kids are living there and going to school. Please stick to your guns with this."
Wilbur Freewright said, "There's not much quality if you let the environment slip. Government is its steward. Look at China. Want that here?"
Elaine wrote, "How does this apply to overcrowded housing and
the danger to the individuals??? For your information, we agree regarding the protection of our environment, however, overcrowded housing is a no-no environmentally!! How about we discuss that issue!!!"
Meadow Lane said, "How many arrests were made? Fines paid? It falls primarily upon minorities ($), rarely on share houses ($$$$). Political BS."
Roger Blaugh said, "It affects many lives and annoys many people. It's good to restart the Task Force. Chris has done a fine job with this."
Politicritic wrote, "One might conclude from this that our representatives care about the community. History repeats itself and this looks like campaign rhetoric to me. All talk before the election, then nothing afterwards. It is good that the article admits the lax oversight towards overcrowded housing since 2006. Don’t we know it! It is a sad neighborhood when the occupants of nearby rentals are transient and in my household we play a game called guess who lives in the house over there… We have an unenforceable rental code that landlords laugh at. The courts dismiss rental related fines with minor fees which makes renting very profitable. Most landlords don’t live in our town, many don’t live in our state, and still others don’t even live within the borders of the USA. Check out the rental permit registry to see how shameful it is."
Jane Palmer responded, "Well said Politicritic. Lets hope the ones who need to read this do. I give credit to Southampton Police and Code Enforcement for ending the most egregious of violators, especially the renters who peddle drugs and loot the neighborhood. They even found one of America's Most Wanted Fugitives renting and working locally. But, quality of life continues to be eroding in this community. My neighbors houses have become multi-unit rental complexes and our hotels are used as welfare housing. And you wonder where the tourists went? Who are you kidding? Make a quality law and enforce it. If you want results then adequately staff our Code Enforcement and invest in the Police force. Spare us the drama. Get it done."