With news that a six-building condominium project, which includes eight affordable units, is nearly ready to move forward, Village of Westhampton Beach officials said they must decide how to keep those units affordable in perpetuity.
According to Richard T. Haefeli, village attorney, before final approvals are given for the project, which has been in the works for six years and is slated to be built at the corner of Montauk Highway and Depot Road, officials must decide if they want to place a covenant on the re-sale of the affordable units. The covenant, he said would put in place re-sale price restrictions.
Or, Haefeli said, the village could opt to collect a certain percentage of the re-sale money and put it into a housing fund to purchase additional affordable housing units at a future date. Haefeli advised against that option though.
"We don't have a lot of property left in the village to develop as affordable housing," he said.
Instead, Haefeli said a covenant that binds the re-sale at a moderate rate would be the way to go.
The affordable units were created, said Haefeli, as part of the village's zoning code in which developers can obtain an increased yield if a certain portion of the project is dedicated as affordable housing.
In this case, Patio Gardens, is approved to build 48 units on eight acres, provided that eight units are affordable. This is the first project of this kind in Westhampton Beach, according to village officials.
Village board members agreed that they are going to look to at the Town of Southampton's code in regard to affordability in perpetuity before they make a final determination.
It is expected that the condo project could break ground in the fall.
How do you think the village should keep the units affordable in perpetuity? Comment below.