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Town Restarts Quality of Life Task Force

Task force will target illegal and substandard rentals.

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.

The task force, which was originally started in 2006 before going defunct, will include representatives of the town attorney, police, code enforcement, building and zoning, environment, fire marshal, justice court and Town Council. Councilman Chris Nuzzi and Councilwoman Christine Preston Scalera, the Town Board liaisons for code enforcement, initiated the reboot of the task force, and the board unanimously approved the move Tuesday.

Nuzzi said the task force will examine prosecuting repeat violators more efficiently and expeditiously.

"A more efficient response means a more effective resolution," Scalera added.

While the task force will advise the Town Board on code enforcement, land use, safety and other housing matters, Scalera pointed out that is it constituents themselves who often tip off the town about violators.

"Many times it is a neighbor who suspects a transient rental, or reports excessive vehicles on a property," Scalera said. "Other times it is a tenant living in a substandard apartment, or a parent concerned about teens booking an illegal share house."

In a case just this month, a Water Mill estate in a residential neighborhood that was overtly advertised as having 10 suites available for rent was . It is exactly the kind of situation the task force is designed to confront.

At the time Nuzzi said in a statement, “The owner blatantly disregarded the law for his own personal gain at the expense of his neighbors and legitimate area hotels and businesses. Also of great concern are the potential safety issues related to the rooms that were constructed illegally without the proper inspections.”

After the town search warrant was executed at his estate, the owner did not reply to Patch's inquiries for comment.

The Town Board voted Tuesday to authorize the town attorney to pursue an enforcement action against the estate, located on Rose Hill Road.

Roger Blaugh February 16, 2012 at 09:28 PM
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 February 17, 2012 at 02:09 AM
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. 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.
Jane Palmer February 17, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Well said Politicritic. Lets hope the ones who need to read this do.
Michael Axelrad February 22, 2012 at 02:11 PM
I am confused. We have code enforcement officers who do a very good job. In the past a resolution to give the town board oversight was not passed, voted against by Chris Nuzzi among others. Why do we need this new panel. I thought Republicans wanted less government.
East Hampton Retiree February 22, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Republicans want "less Democrats" not "less government" and certainly MORE PATRONAGE JOBS!

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