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When most people think of the Hamptons, the luxury real estate market on New York’s Long Island, perhaps the last thing that comes to mind is affordable housing. And the school board of a ritzy Hamptons community is working hard to keep affordable housing out of their neighborhood.
According to a report from the online news source 27east.com, officials connected to the school serving the community of Wainscott are aggressively fighting the proposed development of a new 49-apartment affordable housing complex. In a letter to local residents, Wainscott School officials predicted “destructive changes” if affordable housing comes to town.
“The Wainscott School will be forced to alter its programming and become a conventional grade school much to the detriment of our present and future students,” wrote School Board President David Eagan. “That undesirable change also will result in a significant financial impact on the 264 households which comprise our District and fund our school tax levy. The doubling or trebling of our student population will result in significant and unprecedented increases in our tax rate. At best case, that increase will be approximately 66 percent and more likely it will be approximately 168 percent.”
Eagan later explained in an interview with 27east.com that his concerns were raised on projections on the number of children that would be added to the Wainscott School, which had the distinction of being the nation’s last-standing single-room school–an annex was added to the original one-room school building only six years ago. Eagan stated that an additional 70 students would require the allocation of $4 million to construct more classroom space, while another 110 students would raise those costs to $6 million.
However, the number of children who would be living in the proposed complex is still speculative. Windmill Village, the non-profit developer behind the project, stated that the complex would accommodate 20 one-bedroom apartments, 20 two-bedroom apartments, eight three-bedroom apartments and an apartment for the superintendent in charge of the complex’s maintenance. The complex is budgeted at $15 million, which would be funded through grants and tax credits, not through levying new local taxes.
Windmill Village also stated that the income levels for the residents of the proposed complex would be $36,000 for individuals and $42,000 for couples. According to U.S. Census data, the 650-person Wainscott community had estimated median household annual income of $82,083, while the local median income for a family was $79,375; the local racial makeup was 93 percent White.