Since Southold Town Zoning Inspector Damon Rallis took a new position as plans examiner for the town on Jan. 1, the town has had no official full-time point person to deal with complaints regarding potential town code violations — the duty of a zoning inspector or a code enforcement officer, according to job descriptions on the Civil Service Employee Union’s website.
At last week’s Southold Town Board work session, Supervisor Scott Russell gave the board an update on his goal to re-create and ultimately fill the position. Code enforcement has been an issue that has been in the news lately surrounding Satur Farms, Vineyard 48, and the ever-present illegal dumping of trash in town-provided cans at road ends.
Patch readers tended to agree with the supervisor that code enforcement needs to evolve in Southold Town, but some questioned if that’s possible with variances available to stray from the code. Another reader suggested that new code enforcement officers wear yellow garbage bags on the job.
Here are a few of your thoughts. Feel free to keep the conversation going in the comments below.
“Code enforcement is effective if there is an attitude that the code should be enforced without exception. One situation involves Santa's Christmas Tree Farm at the top of Pequash Ave. in Cutchogue running a large retail business in what is /was an ag/residential zone. The "powers that be" were pro-business to the extent that it was understood that occasional mild threats were all that was expected of Mr. Forrester. The situation had some sort of legal resolution in the end. It's a popular business, and a fine addition to the community. But the result was no proper site plan, and the result of that is a dangerous traffic situation at the intersection of the Main Road and Pequash. The westbound turning lane south onto Pequash is often occupied by eastbound vehicles waiting to turn north into Santa's driveway, which is clearly a problem. Locals know to watch out for visitors from the west trying to get into Santa's and not understanding the confusing turning lane situation, but there have been many accidents over the years. It is particularly silly because the xmas tree property has a farm road leading off Depot Lane, which would be an obvious solution to the ingress/egress problem. So, yes, let's give code enforcement some teeth and resolve the Satur, V48 and Santa's issues. There are only going to be more businesses starting and growing in Southold Town in years to come, and legal situations are way more expensive for taxpayers than code enforcement officers.” — gwen,
“You are partially correct, but the real story is more sinister. The town took the tree farm all the way to Supreme Court and won (after spending a lot of your money). The judge ruled in favor of the town and, as a result, was ordered shut down. Sadly, the pro-business administration that you speak of felt bad and, in the end, granted him a variance as a "farm stand" - if thats a farm stand, I have a bridge for sale. How can there be code enforcement when things like that happen.” — Marty,
“When the town push people into court on our tax dollar it's a crime. I love this town and have been tying to work with the dysfunctional building department for years. There are many examples of unequal code enforcement. What about the guy that is running a commercial business by Magic Fountain in Mattituck? That place is zoned residential on one lot and the other one is light industrial. He's doing whatever he wants and nobody messes with him. Most people don't know the whole story about government bullies.” — James Spanos,
“I believe the supervisor's push to have all code enforcement officers wear YELLOW GARGAGE BAGS on the job is perfectly in line with his YELLOW GARGAGE BAG approach to town government.” — Hope and Change,