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OA Board’s comments are included for informational purposes only. These comments were contributed by individual board members, selected for their sector expertise and experience. We welcome feedback from other OA members and all Orient residents. The issues facing Southold Town are urgent and change is occurring quickly.  The time to proactively protect the community character that draws people to the Town is now.

While the Comprehensive Plan has many laudable goals, we remain concerned that the Town has not yet formally taken into consideration Propositions already submitted; nor has it provided any roadmap or timeline for addressing many of the important priorities laid out in its own Plan, which was 10-years in the making. OA recommends that all Civics be formally included in decision process concerning priorities, timelines, and execution. The Orient Plan Propositions (2016) are posted on our website.

For more information on the Southold Town Plan please read the full executive summary, available here: http://www.southoldtownny.gov/DocumentCenter/View/7265/Southold-Town-Comprehensive-Plan-Executive-Summary

The entire Plan is available here: https://www.southoldtownny.gov/DocumentCenter/View/7294/Southold_Town_Comprehensive_Plan_July_2019

Thanks: Tony Asch, Drianne Benner, Christine Churchill, Venetia Hands, John Henry, Imogen Rose-Smith, Sherry Thomas

Vision

“The Town of Southold is a community of extraordinary history and beauty. Residents and visitors benefit from its diverse hamlets surrounded by pastoral landscapes and expansive natural resources. Our citizens cherish Southold’s small-town quality of life and wish to preserve what we currently value while planning for a productive and viable future.”

OA Board Comments:

    • Articulate a vision that includes the development of a diverse local business economy, including supporting, for example, local food and other businesses that complement the natural resources that Southold Town enjoys, without putting them at risk.
    • Southold Town’s demographics are changing rapidly. An aging population, more second home owners, more affluent part-time/future residents, fewer children of school age.  Address the broad implications of this demographic/economic shift in the local economy.

 

Land Use & Zoning

“Land use patterns, together with zoning regulations, are key aspects of how a community functions and develops. By examining current land use and zoning regulations, we can determine what is working well and what may need to change to ensure that future growth is sustainable and that the high quality of life in Southold Town continues to be a priority.”

OA Board Comments:

    • Add that the size of future homes significantly contributes to creating the character of Southold’s communities.
    • Include Orient’s Historic District in the zoning map.

Transportation & Infrastructure

“This chapter lays out Southold Town’s transportation challenges and provides an inventory of its current transportation systems that is used to recommend town-specific goals to improve transportation, congestion, safety, and mobility for all users.”

OA Board Comments

    • Establish a uniform speed limit between the Greenport blinking light on Rt 25 and the ferry in Orient.
    • Extend the 30 MPH school zone 100 yards westward and have it start at Oysterponds Lane to the east; keep the 30 MPH zone in effect on a 24/7 basis.

Community Character

“The goals and objectives contained in this chapter respect stakeholder desires to shape the future of their homes in a way that retains the community character of Southold Town and its hamlets. The three Town-wide goal areas are scenic resources, cultural resources, and natural heritage. “

OA Board Comments:  What makes Orient, Orient?

    • Community character is defined by the total package of social, and environmental qualities that make up a community, both built environment as well as the natural environment.
    • Essential to maintaining the character of Orient is ensuring that new buildings, and additions to old ones, are appropriate in size and scale for our community, which traditionally has favored structures of modest proportions.
    • We urge that design guidelines for both residential and commercial categories be codified, to reduce zoning appeals and clarify rulings on new development.
    • We recognize that Orient won’t always look exactly the way it does now. But by taking the steps we recommend, we think it can adapt to changing times as gracefully in the future as it has in the past.

Natural Resources & Environment

Southold Town’s ecological areas are among the most valuable natural resources in New York State. …In the future, management strategies will focus on protection, adaptation, and sustainability.

OA Board Comments:

    • Orient’s shallow aquifer makes conservation efforts essential, for both domestic and recreational uses (swimming pool water needs to be trucked in).
    • Modern waste water treatment must be a top priority for Southold with funds available for replacing old systems.
    • Monitoring salt water intrusion into our ground water is a growing priority.
    • Soil conservation is essential both for farming and to prevent surface water runoff.
    • Invasive species are destroying both marine and land habitats at a rapid rate. Focused attention to these problems is needed now.
    • The deer herd is destroying under-story trees and native plants at unsustainable levels, as well as transmitting tick-borne diseases. Deer management is essential.

Economic Development

“The economic outlook for Southold Town is a concern of the community. To retain and enhance the vitality of the downtowns and hamlet centers while avoiding retail sprawl is important.”

OA Board Comments:

    • Support a diverse local economy that provides year round jobs for the community.
    • Address the issues required for farming to be a viable occupation: an aging farmer community, lack of affordable housing, labor markets, and a next generation’s desire to work in agriculture.
    • Ask local businesses to promote on-the-job training of high school students.
    • Include long term plans to support changing infrastructure needs, particularly regarding tidal flooding and aging waste water systems.

Housing

This chapter discusses the current condition of the housing sector in Southold Town and provides goals and objectives for the sector. …These factors combine to produce the area’s high home prices and the lack of available year-round rentals. Nearly 58 percent of the homes in Southold Town are occupied by the owner or renter year-round.”

OA Board Comments:

    • Prices of houses have gone up way beyond the reach of many residents. This is largely due to second homebuyers and retirees who can spend more coming to Southold.
    • A major issue has come up since the Comprehensive Planning Process was initiated is house size. People building houses are building bigger houses. Right now, the Town Code permits a person to build a 16,000 – 20,000 sq. ft. house on a one-acre lot.
    • Southold needs to decide now whether it wants to put some limits on house size as majority of all other East End Towns have done.

Agriculture

“Agriculture is an important part of Southold, both in terms of economics and land area used, with about 30 percent of its 33,350 acres in farmland.”

OA Board Comments:

    • The advancement of agriculture should always consider that our hamlets rely on a sustainable water supply and are surrounded by water.
    • By maintaining soil microbe health with cover crops and by using best practices of pest management, our area could become a model of sustainability.
    • Allow farms to have multiple agricultural uses without minimum lot size.
    • Approach expansion of lot coverage for greenhouses with caution.
    • Require every new farm enterprise to attend Cornell’s free seminars about safe and sustainable conservation practices.
    • Monitor weather data to evaluate climate change’s impact on water and soil.
    • Composting organic waste is an important buffer to runoff; manage and handle compost production locally.

Land Preservation

“This chapter discusses land preservation as it pertains to Southold Town’s vision for its future. Southold’s residents have historically been in favor of land preservation to maintain the Town’s farmlands and open spaces.

OA Board Comments:

    • Continuing the process of preserving land in Southold Town is important to Orient.
    • Support all efforts to keep Plum Island in the public domain.