Affordable Now and Forever, Z.B.A. Says

    A contractor hoping to convert the second floor of his commercial building on Lumber Lane into two apartments for his sons, returned to the East Hampton Village Zoning Board on Friday with something to celebrate.
    On Jan. 18 the village board had adopted a zoning code amendment that would eliminate one obstacle to his plan — a requirement that anyone who cannot provide the mandated off-street parking pay a $10,000 fee per space into the village’s parking fund. The amendment will allow the zoning board to waive that fee, but only if property owners are creating affordable housing.
    Pat Trunzo, a contractor who owns the building with his brother, Mike Trunzo, wants to create two “affordable” apartments there but needs a number of variances to do so, including one from the village’s off-street parking requirements, which he had not initially requested.
    Now he has, but Linda Riley, the village attorney, cautioned Mr. Trunzo against hastily acting on his plans. “Be advised that the local law is not effective yet,” she told him. It does not become effective until five days after it is filed with the state, “and it hasn’t even been sent yet,” she said. Ms. Riley took the opportunity to clarify the code, which she said is largely misunderstood. The code will require $10,000 for each space if a variance from the off-street parking is granted by the zoning board, she said, “except for a variance granted for affordable housing on the condition that there’s covenants and restrictions, etcetera, that require it to remain affordable housing in perpetuity.”
    Andrew Goldstein, the zoning board’s chairman, told Mr. Trunzo that he must also submit “a program for those apartments whereby the tenants will be restricted to those meeting certain economic limitations.” The board has indicated its support for the parking variance, he said, “but we can’t proceed any further until we see those materials.”
    Mr. Trunzo said he had given Ms. Riley a template of covenants restricting the apartments to people within a certain income range, as well as the rent that could be charged. “With your permission, I’d like to work with the board’s counsel to put those in a form that the village would find appropriate,” he said.
    Lysbeth Marigold, a board member, asked Mr. Trunzo if it was improper for family members to benefit from affordable housing, citing a conversation she’d had with an inspector regarding unrelated, Section 8 housing. “There won’t be a government subsidy,” Mr. Trunzo answered. “Nobody’s subsidizing the rent here. As we’ve indicated before, we’re hoping that my sons go on to bigger and better things, so at some point in time these will be available” to new, qualified occupants, he said.
    Ms. Riley said she would review Mr. Trunzo’s materials and circulate them internally. The code enforcement officer, she said, will determine how many parking spaces are required. “The board needs a determination by the code enforcement officer on what the required parking is, what the required aisle width is. Then we’ll know what we’re dealing with,” she said.
    Mr. Trunzo plans to present the materials the board seeks at the next meeting on Friday, Feb. 8.
    Mr. Goldstein also announced on Friday a determination regarding playground equipment at St. Luke’s Epsicopal Church. The board found that playground equipment on a 2012 survey should have been encompassed in the special permit and permanent variances the board granted for the property in 2004. The board modified the 2004 determination to include the playground equipment, which will allow the church to replace it with new equipment without submitting a new application.