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The CPF Fund: A Black Eye Turns Red

How East Hampton is using the money.

Once again, the Community Preservation Fund, its purpose, and the long-term value of land acquisition is in the spotlight.

Bill Wilkinson has suggested that affordable housing suffers because of the magnitude of land preservation.

Town Councilwoman Theresa Quigley defended Wilkinson's intentions. "He said the town has done a good job on preserving the character of the town and needs to address the second one, to provide affordable housing."

A March roundtable of community leaders warned of repercussions of putting the CPF in a bad light. “The worst thing that could happen is to sit on this money and not spend it,” Bob DeLuca, Director, Group for the East End, said.

He was referring to the CPF’s black eye when the former Democratic administration led by Bill McGintee was found to have unlawfully transferred funds from CPF. “Someone thought, ‘Here’s a pile of money.’ They got very creative with the financing and it was a big screw up,” DeLuca said. Subsequently, Assemblyman Fred Thiele and Senator Ken Lavalle tightened the law so that moving money from the CPF could never happen again. 

Scott Wilson, director of the Department of Land Acquisition and Management, is confident that valuable purchases are taking place on schedule. Three are in the final stages. “Boys Harbor will close at the end of the month, a 28-acre parcel,” he said. The land was the Boys and Girls Harbor camp for many years, sponsored by Tony Duke and his wife.

The other parcels are the 26-acre Nivola property in Springs between Old Stone Highway and Barnes Hole which “may close in September," and the Curtis property, 28 acres off Swamp Road, to be preserved “within two months.” 

“Appraisals are coming in 30 to 40 percent lower than three years ago,” DeLuca said. “So for once, we have money—$20 million last year and $10 million this year. The public should say, ‘We don’t want the money to sit idling.’"

"We did slow up in the past because of the audit we were having done for the State and others," Quigley said in a recent interview.

East Hampton has raised roughly $200 million since the creation of the fund, and preserved about 1,600 acres and 200 properties (see ehland.org for a detailed map of preserved land), according to DeLuca. Funded by a tax to the buyer of property over $250,000, CPF raises from $10 million to $30 million a year.

Preserved land makes all property in the town more valuable, according to Phalen Wolf, a local realtor who was recently elected to the Amagansett school board. “Preserving open space has been the best financial deal that citizens have. The natural beauty enhances all our property.”

MARTIN DREW June 02, 2011 at 12:01 PM
$200 million / 1600 acres / 200 properties yet not 1 acre for local kids who need a dedicated site for OHV use . Not 1 acre for a desired bicycle park ? Duke property going against the cultural and historical use of CPF purchase mission . That boys and girls recreation camp now slated for tall grass and artist easles ... So much for cultural and historical uses in new mgt. plan . Why because a few neighbors complained who bought thier properties when it WAS a camp ... NOW want to curtail the use to thier liking via political pandering!
MARTIN DREW June 02, 2011 at 12:17 PM
Maidstone Park ; had politicians ruin our area ... Tore down our lighthouse ... Tore down our economy/ lifestyle by tearing down the Cox fishing station : now I dont SEE a buikding on Keyes Island ... Three historic : cultural elements LOST by incompetent political decisions . LOST are the rental fishing boats ... A place to buy bait ; frozen snickers .. ALL the things I enjoyed as a kid BEFORE politicians ruined our lifestyle for "nature preserve" lobbiest ... The deed states it is to be a park forever ; NOT a nature preserve forever ... Coxs fishing station at Maidstone Park ; was an iconic location tore down by "nature preserve" agendas ... What a Loss ; to our area . Political work at its finest ... gonna take credit Deb Foster? ( hands clapping in disgust )
Debra Brodie Foster June 02, 2011 at 03:44 PM
Interesting emails. Martin, please do your homework. EH HAS a bank of development rights that are taken off of preserved open space that was instituted when I was on the Board. We have already used some to add to the allowable affordable density at the Springs Fireplace Apartments and for the pending affordable apartments at St. Michaels. In other words, we think it is a good idea to take the development rights off of preserved land and transfer them to other properties in the same school district for local affordable housing. Zero density increase and a win-win. You can relax. It's already done. Highway worker, I would be happy to send you Theresa Quigley's proposal for 300 to 500 apartments (at 1000 sq. ft) with the federal standard of 1 person for every 150 sq. ft. of gross floor area on a single family residential lot with an existing home already on the property in neighborhoods throughout Town. If you do the math ,1000 divided by 150 = 6+ times 500 = 3000 people. Also there is not even an affordable cap on the rental. However, I do not have your address.
MARTIN DREW June 03, 2011 at 03:01 PM
Deb Foster : always doing homework and your spin is NOT a true TDR BANK ; its a "sort of" in a control minded method .. for affordable housing only ... No true sending and receiving districts .ALLOWING DEVELOPMENT of a substandard lot by buying development rights from the "BANK" from a sending district to put into the recieving lot ... Good try on the spin ...But NOT the TRUTH ... so it is NOT DONE to the degree I speak to .
MARTIN DREW June 03, 2011 at 03:07 PM
So Deb you deny creating the $30-40 million defecit in our town? Dont have much to say about Maidstone.. Not much to say about the local kids .. Do your homework present fact not political agendas .
MARTIN DREW June 03, 2011 at 03:08 PM
LIFESTYLE CHOICES MUST PREVAIL !
MARTIN DREW June 03, 2011 at 03:11 PM
VOTE BUDDY STYLE ; grab a friend and VOTE TWICE! Your LIFESTYLE MATTERS just as much as "thiers".. Keep an eye out for VOTER REGISTRATION events!
Walter Kaprielian June 03, 2011 at 08:19 PM
Want affordable housing in East Hampton for those who can't afford to buy here? Based on what's happened to real estate values, just wait two more years. No one wants to live in public housing, they want housing priced within their reach. Can't reach? Do what most of us did until we could...rent. The success stories of public housing developments are dismal, few and far between. I know, I lived it. Watched a beautiful local community destroyed by building public housing across the street. Why I moved to LI from the Bronx, and why I moved from Nassau County to East Hampton.
MARTIN DREW June 04, 2011 at 03:21 AM
Point well made Mr . Kaprielman ... Id prefer parks on public land.
MARTIN DREW June 04, 2011 at 12:07 PM
Mr Kaprielian .. Sorry for the typo .. Still your point well made ..
High Way Worker June 04, 2011 at 04:22 PM
OK - how do you afford $550K to $525 K on $60,000 per year? You actually make my point. $525K is almost 9 time that $60K salary - not a good ratio and not one that is going to get you a mortgage. Get real.
High Way Worker June 04, 2011 at 04:32 PM
Debra - your first post says "3000 multifamily hopmes" not housing for 3000 people. So now you are saying the plan is 300 to 500 units - a big difference from 3000. Martin Drew is correct, you numbers change as much as they did with McGintee, Hukse, and now Cohen, who redfines "his calculations" every time someone points out he is wrong. Do you not think there are 300 families in East hampton who need affordable housing? If you do not, then you haven't taken a look at what the needs are. You have probably 50 to 75 students graduating from East Hampton High School every year who want to stay right here and work. Where do they live? At home? Well give their parents more leeway to convert part of the homestead into an apartment. Or give one of their friends or a parents friend who have the space to create an apartment for them -- what is so wrong with that? That is the issue you never would face as a board member. You left the issue to others to solve and they are trying, and you have the audacity to criticize them? The ultimate hypocricy.
High Way Worker June 04, 2011 at 04:41 PM
I don't think anyone wants public housing - it stinks. But giving someone with a nice four bedroom ranch on an acre who can create a samll apartment for a young couple to get started would fit right into the community. It also strngthens the local work force with local people, it increases property assessments, and it doesn't destroy neighborhoods -- just go to Montauk where some of the niceist neighborhoods have nice homes with small apartments (many not legal), but nice and almost unnoticeable. Obviously there are the exceptions with overcrowding. Don't let those exceptions eliminate the possibility of nice little apartments in nice homes that help out local kids that want to stay where they grew up. For people like Foster they want to literally throw the baby out with the bath water. It is really sad.
High Way Worker June 04, 2011 at 04:44 PM
Deb Foster changes the numbers again...whoops sorry...I said 3000 new units but I meant 3000 people...only 300 to 500 units...whoops I got caught in a lie angain...but it was just a little white lie....but if the lie sticks and hurts Quigley and Wilkinson then that's OK because that was the purpose of the lie...Deb Foster is an embarrassment.
todd June 05, 2011 at 02:29 AM
Nothing wrong with accessory apartments as long as the number is manageable for schools and town services. It costs 25K for each enrolled student. Adding a large number of accessory apartments has the potential of substantially increasing enrollment without a proportional increase in taxes. It's great for young families to have local affordable housing but just realize the cost implications for others, including those on fixed incomes. There's no easy answer here.
High Way Worker June 05, 2011 at 03:54 PM
Think about this. Forget apartments for a second. Think about a moderate new home in Springs - a John O'Conner saltbox type (he has built many). You have two school age children in the family and the house maybe generates $6,000 in school taxes. That's $3,000 for each student against $50,000 to educate them by you number. Now go back to an apartment that adds $1,200 to taxes -that is about $600 for each student against the $50,000. Marginally, not a whole lot of difference in covering education costs. What it does do however is provide a local couple with kids an affordable place to live at maybe $1,200 to $1,500 per month for rent, rather than a $3,000 to $3,500 mortgage. That is a huge difference it making it addordable for a young couple with kids to stay here. Now the issue becomes who makes up the cost of education? The answer is the communty that has always filled the gaps. When those kids graduate it will be their parents turn to pay taxes with no kids in the system. It is the situation I am in now. My kids got their education that others helped pay for and now I pay for all the kids in school who are not related to me. It is part of living in a community. Is there imbalance within the Town between the school district's? Absolutely. The Town is trying to keep young people here by providing the ability to afford to live here. The town is also trying to reduce town taxes to offset school taxes to make it more manageable for everyone.
High Way Worker June 05, 2011 at 04:09 PM
But Deb Foster does not get it. She wants: no meaningful affordable housing; wants to scare people into opposing efforts by the town to create housing for our young; wants to use higher school taxes as one excuse for opposing new housing initiatives, but does not want cuts in school spending; protests all efforts by the current administration to reduce town spending and taxes to offsett higher school taxes; protests every efficiency move by the town board for political reasons. AND when her bogus numbers are challenged and proven false says oooppppps here is what I meant to say. Well, quike frankly, she should have piped up during the McGintee administration, which she was a part of. Instead she sat silently when the town went down the drain. Foster, Overby, Van Scoyac -- all worked with, contributed to (in Overby's case in the thousands) were appointed by and/or ignored the McGintee destruction. They were all as responsible for what happened as McGintee was because they provided the financial, moral and tactical support for McGintee -- and that fact should be put out there and repeated every day from now until the el;ection -- over and over and over -- we do not need to re-elect McGintee team II.
High Way Worker June 05, 2011 at 04:11 PM
Cohen, the so called expert, never allerted anyone to the seriousness of the McGintee problem. For someone supposededly so in tune with what was going on his lack of urgency in calling for McGintee's removal means he too was part of the problem. Cohen was too busy trying to deflect the blame from McGintee -- go back a read ALL his letters to the East Hampton Star -- ALL OF THEM -- he was an apologist for McGintee saying McGintee's predecessor ran up debt and was responsible for leaving McGintee a bad budget -- and now that predecessor (Jay Schneiderman) is going to endorse him? People will do and say anything to get endorsements and keep their political jobs -- it is now apparent some have no moral compass. And again to Elaine Jones - thanks for endorsing Scott King's friend - we now have a lot to look forward to at the department.
Debra Brodie Foster June 05, 2011 at 04:54 PM
Highway worker , I am in agreement with you on providing an affordable accessory apartment on a single family lot. In fact, I helped write and adopt a law that allows this option already. There are 2 big differences between the current law and Quigley's proposal - she recommends 6 renters per apartment and has no affordable cap. Nantucket tried this and it totally backfired . Every "secondary residence" ended up being rented to groupers or sold as time shares. Although I respect the fact that you appear to follow government closely and have your own definite ideas and facts, I do not respect the fact that you continue to attack me personally without using your name. Obviously, you need to see the draft Quigley proposal and the current law so you can draw your conclusions on what is actually written but I cannot send them to you as you requested because I do not have your address.
High Way Worker June 05, 2011 at 06:59 PM
I knew enough to question your numbers, which resulted in your clarification. I also know there are plenty of young families with three and four kids. And year round rentals will go to year round residents. I also know Quigley has convened a housing committee with affordable housing advocates, people concerned about over crowding, people concerned about educational impacts, people concerned about taxes, business people worried about the local economy, etc. I know they made an initial report to the board and I know they are revising drafts of the legislation with the goal of addressing all concerns. Quigley is doing it the right way. She is listening to everyone and not trying to scare people into agreeing with her as you are and always have done.
Debra Brodie Foster June 05, 2011 at 08:42 PM
I think that the housing committee is a good idea. We had one also when I was on the Board. I am not going to dwell on the fact that her ( and only her) proposal met with sincere consternation from the community. That committee is a result of the fact that her recommendations created a storm of protest. All my proposals were a result of committee input first. Are you aware of the fact that her study of some housing statistics include numbers that are not to be used because the federal survey states that the samples are to low? All I am doing is staying vigilant which we both have a right to do..
todd June 05, 2011 at 09:37 PM
Any affordable housing plan must take into consideration the impact on schools. How many young families with 3 or 4 kids can the Springs or even East Hampton elementary schools absorb without damaging the educational system? These schools are operating at maximum capacity as is. Accessory apartments and affordable housing units should be located in areas with lower student populations such as Amagansett and Bridgehampton. With so many unsold homes on the market it's hard to believe we need even more housing units, accessory apartments or other.
todd June 05, 2011 at 09:42 PM
High Way Worker.. Do you know who is on the Quigley housing committee you mention? Just curious. Hope they are more skilled than the group the Board named to select the beach vendors.
MARTIN DREW June 06, 2011 at 01:51 PM
Deb Foster ; Dr Koppleman suggested 1000 affordable housing units 10 years years ago .... So lets put them in Amagansett. School district ... a district that can absorb more children and ease the burden already in play in adjoining districts ... Amagansett affordable housing complex ... What a place to live AND work ...
MARTIN DREW June 06, 2011 at 01:54 PM
And raise kids ...
MARTIN DREW June 07, 2011 at 01:17 PM
New group forming ; Amagansett Affordable Housing Committee ( AAHC) ; now to find a suitable location ; MAYBE the town can create another Affordable Housing Overlay at thier liesure ; PASSED AND CARRIED ; Now to form the committee... Any $uporter$ of the concept ? Looking forward to OPENING the doors of the Amagansett school to NEW RESIDENTS ..assimilating them into the district with open arms and wallets ... Why should SPRINGS be the ONLY welcome wagon. Amagansett ; a beautuful place to raise kids ; work and live .... Someone give me a award for such a concept of inclusion ... Amagansett should be included ...in ALL. aspects of "shared responsibilities " when education of ALL our town children is the focus of taxpayers who have unfairly been burdened by political decisions and placement of affordable housing project .. Shared burden is now a political topic ; ask around.
MARTIN DREW June 07, 2011 at 01:20 PM
Find a suitable site to focus on BEFORE ; someone suggests to buy it up with CPF funds for open space.
Len Bernard June 11, 2011 at 01:03 PM
Martin, still here after answering you bogus claims. T. Quigley has a committee that is right now, as we speak, looking at affordable housing on a town wide basis. Just what you want. Guess your group with what? 500, 1000,1500 will be voting for her in two years because she is smart, as are the people on her committee, and they will come up with some good ideas.
MARTIN DREW June 11, 2011 at 01:27 PM
Len ; T Quigley is a fine woman and yes smart . My group is of (5) my board of directors ; which will be reorganized soon ; care to join the board of locals? We have many supporters (500) last I looked .. some political races have been won ONLY BY (300) votes ; so you do the math ...our supporters could make a difference. Dont sell that point short. I voted for Wilky ; Stanzione ; & Quigley team ... Together Everyone Achieves More ... Sure Affordabke housing is needed ... Just NOT controlled by the town. Go to 1984 comp plan ; it tells town to utilize private sector ... Didnt happen ..did it? Im out of that issue for now... I have plenty of housing .. Not a personal i$$ue for me ... Im still here as well .. Think about joining LISC board we welcome a politico into our world ; just so YOU can absorb the issues we face. PS . I love Jay Schneiderman ; hes the man! He accepted us as worthy in our town he'll always have respect for that alone .. YOU ; slighted us as councilman long ago .. Did YOU forget? Bring it on Len .. Anywsy YOU deem worthy .. See you around .. The wheel cintinues to squeak!
High Way Worker July 10, 2011 at 02:35 PM
I think the town (and the current Town Board) is doing and has done all it could to get the CPF back where it should be and is now moving forward with acquisitions knowing what the numbers are.

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