Zoning Free Pass End Sought

About a year after Southampton Town initiated a moratorium on any new planned development district applications and an official review of the existing legislation began, Supervisor Jay Schneiderman has proposed wiping the law off the books.

Southampton enacted the law in 1995 as a way to create flexibility in planning and development, Mr. Schneiderman said. He has been critical of the law since he campaigned for supervisor two years ago, in large part because of its “community benefit” components, which allowed developers to offer benefits that have nothing to do with the project — money for a fire truck or the establishment of a scholarship fund, for example — in exchange for friendlier zoning.

“Zoning is not for sale,” Councilman John Bouvier said in the press release. “It is time to pull the plug on P.D.D.s.”

“The law is unfixable and needs to be repealed,” Supervisor Schneiderman said in the release. “The P.D.D. law is a wildcard. It creates the potential that any parcel of land can be developed in any way a developer envisions. Our community deserves predictability in planning its future.”

With several controversial P.D.D. proposals in recent years, including the Bridgehampton Gateway project, which would have had mixed commercial and residential zoning but has since been abandoned, Mr. Bouvier, who was elected with Mr. Schneiderman on the Democratic slate almost two years ago, proposed a one-year moratorium on new applications last spring. A committee to review the law and make recommendations to the town board was formed. The moratorium expires June 1.

While the supervisor proposes repealing the law, he has scheduled a public hearing to extend the moratorium for three months, saying that the extra time is needed to consider the repeal. The hearing is slated for June 13 at 1 p.m. at Southampton Town Hall.

The only remaining active P.D.D. being considered is The Hills, a resort golf course development in East Quogue.

Councilman Stan Glinka and Councilwoman Christine Scalera, Republicans, expressed dismay during a meeting last week that they had not been kept informed about the review committee’s work over the past year. Ms. Scalera noted that part of the Suffolk County Planning Commission’s approval of the moratorium called for written quarterly reports. James Burke, the town attorney, said he had provided mostly oral reports, but would provide whatever written correspondence there had been as well, by email.