Monday, May 30, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
So this is 32 Henry Street which used to be an adorable little yellow house on the southeast corner of Henry and Howell Streets. It was owned by a woman who grew up in a gorgeous historic house on Hill Street now named “The Mainstay” after its owner, Elizabeth Main.
So does this ‘before and after’ have a positive outcome or a negative one? I think it falls somewhere in the middle. It’s not a terribly ugly house, nor is it too big necessarily, as there are other houses on Henry Street that are equal in size if not a tad larger. But most of the houses on the street are the size of the former little yellow house, and as Henry Street is a tiny little street, I think the smaller size houses add to the street’s charm and character.
I do like the copper gutters and leaders though, and I love the narrowness of the muntin bars which I understand is something relatively new offered by Andersen windows.
Okay, enough. Next time I will try to show you a positive ‘before and after’ outcome. There may be one on Foster Crossing. Stay tuned.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Of course, I am in agreement and am offering my assistance. Notice the link to a new petition on the top right hand of this blog. The last time I started a petition, for the enactment of illegal demolition consequences, I got over 80 signatures, which means a lot in this small village of ours. If you believe that the zoning codes should be changed, if not exactly as they were prior to 2006, at least so that properties cannot be built-out to within 1/100th of what is allowable, please, sign this petition! It seems too common in this Village to witness the over-development of a lot that would seem to any novice passerby way too small to be built upon in the first place.
Completely related to this issue, the Southampton Association (with over 350 members) recently submitted a letter to the Suffolk County Department of Health endorsing their recommendations upon the logical conclusion, and now documented discovery that “In Southampton Village Lake Agawam and Old Town Pond are suffering from high nutrient levels and poor water quality…..On the basis of these detailed models and studies, the Suffolk County Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan recommends restricting increased unsewered density within the 25 year groundwater contributing areas to surface waters. We applaud this recommendation and urge its adoption…….On the basis of the evaluations of the existing groundwater quality and the groundwater modeling results, the Suffolk County Comprehensive Management Plan recommends Suffolk County Board of Health consider modifying Article 6 to require one acre density for all hydrologic zones unless provision is made for a higher level of treatment than the typical onsite waste disposal system or a TDR [Transfer of Development Rights] is implemented. We support this recommendation and find it essential for the protection and improvement of our surface waters.”
I absolutely cannot predict what the results of this effort will be, I mean, asking for smaller houses and less lot coverage? Is this possible?
And this is a perfect time for this issue, and other preservation/aesthetic issues, to be raised as there is an election coming up June 17; the Mayor’s position and two Trustee positions are being contested. Elections provide excellent opportunities to ask candidates - new or existing - direct questions about their views on what we, the residents and visitors, believe is important and valuable to the community. And to the group of people interested in taking this on: Thanks for Getting Involved, and Go Get Em!
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
I thought Michael Wright’s article in the Southampton Press on April 14th, analyzing recent census data, was really interesting and completely related to our built environment, which is obviously a main interest of mine.
I did think the title of the article was crumby though (“Census Confirms Building Boom”) but that wasn’t necessarily Mike’s fault. Editors often change titles, and anything to do with getting people to think – right or wrong – that the real estate market is on the upswing, may catch the attention of many, making it a predictable editor move.
But this article was not just about the building boom, or current lack thereof, or vice versa. To me, this article highlighted the fact that less and less people live here year round, and more and more houses are considered vacant. Michael explained that “vacant homes can be seasonal residences, those on the market and currently unoccupied, or rental properties without tenants.” Apparently, in Southampton,
it’s about 50/50, which is a 10% drop from 10 years ago, and especially evident
within the incorporated villages. “In Southampton Village a 23% drop in the number of occupied homes left more than 61% of the village’s 3,300 homes vacant or seasonal, compared to just 43 percent during the 2,000 Census.”
To me this all points to it just being plain too expensive for a middle class to exist here. It means that the trouble in finding people to serve in local government and as firefighters, etc. will become even more difficult. Already many government and not-for-profit board positions are being held by part-timers. It also means that there are less children depriving irreplaceable vitality from communities and that many businesses will start becoming seasonal as well.
But the article did touch on how many houses were built in the last 10 years: 5,923 in Southampton, almost 1,000 of which were built in Bridgehampton alone! “Indeed, many residents lamented the rapid loss of community character…” Exactly! This is yet another huge indicator that the creation of historic districts protecting what’s left of Southampton’s architectural heritage couldn’t be a more critically urgent need.
In East Hampton the increases in homes built and ‘vacant’ homes were much more modest leading me to wonder what that says about Southampton and whether or not it’s being driven in a healthy direction. I know it sounds like I’m suddenly catastrophizing everything, when honestly I’m normally a “glass half full” kind of person, but it’s pretty hard to choose the “ignorance is bliss” approach, as the writing seems loudly and legibly on the billboard into town.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
“A little further back say about 70 years ago, some of the young bloods wanted to dance but there was no place provided for in this straight-laced village….An old lady who owned and lived in Hollyhocks, who had evoluted from the narrowness of the times into times yet to come in a few years, had her kindly heart quickened into a sympathetic response, opened her home and invited the young people there. Then there was trouble. One was a member of the then all powerful Presbyterian Church. The dignified old elders were shocked. She was called before the session accused, refused to repent and was turned out of the church…….Games were the order of the evening…..
I love these accounts and hope you do too. The next, part VII will end the series.