In response to Mr. Liman’s letter, we would like to share the remarks we made at yesterday’s zoning board hearing so the community has the full story. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am here today as our family owns the property at 116 Turtle Cove in Southampton Shores and we are in the process of building our home.
Our family has been a part of the Shores community for nearly five years, up until recently owning a house on Warfield Way, the part of the community south of Noyak Road.
When we first moved into the Shores with our two young girls, we quickly realized what residents have known for decades, that it is different here. Unlike many other areas out east, there is a more tranquil, down to earth atmosphere, which is what makes living in this community so special. This neighborhood, this community, matched the very core of our values.
We loved our first home in the community but we had concerns for the safety of our daughters crossing Noyak Road to enjoy the community beach. We decided that for our peace of mind, we would look for an opportunity to move to the north side of the Shores if it was possible. So, we started our search.
Eventually we learned that the Malenos were contemplating selling their vacant lot at 116 Turtle Cove. We met with them and ultimately decided to purchase the property. We made the decision for two reasons, the location and equally importantly, it came with an approved survey, architectural plans and the required permits to build a home.
When we first reviewed the Malenos’ approved survey with the plans, we saw that it called for a large retaining wall around the septic system. We were disappointed. We knew that this retaining wall would be extremely expensive to build and would make our already tight budget for the project even tighter. Over the course of several months, we spoke with everyone we could to determine if there were any alternatives to the retaining wall. It was the last thing we wanted to spend our hard earned money on. Our outreach included 5 builders, several septic experts, and the same surveyor who performed the work for the Malenos. In each instance we were told that we had no choice but to build the retaining wall as depicted in the Malenos’ approved survey. It had to be built according to those plans in order to safeguard the ground water and wetlands. With no other option presented to us, we obtained our building permit andbroke ground on our home.
It was with great disappointment and sorrow that we are here today. Never did we expect to be before you trying to explain what we are doing and why we are doing it. Especially when it was explained to us that there was no other alternative.
The nightmare that has ensued since being served with papers in December 2018 by our neighbors, the Limans, has been stressful to say the least. We are building our home exactly as instructed by the regulatory bodies and in accordance with our building permit. Yet, we have to defend ourselves for following the rules and building a home that protects the environment.
The Limans could have objected to the retaining wall when the Malenos’ plans and survey were approved in 2015. The Limans also could have objected to the retaining wall in a timely manner after we obtained our building permit in August 2018 and before we spent tens of thousands of dollars on our septic system and retaining wall. However, they did neither, and the retaining wall around our septic system has been fully constructed and our house has been built based on the elevations of the retaining wall. If innovation, which moves so quickly, now provides for other options, or regulations are now interpreted differently, it is unfair to ask us to make changes after the work has been done, passed inspection and been fully paid for. Our house has been built based on what was mandated when the regulatory approvals and building permit were obtained. To require us to make changes at this stage would be a tremendous hardship on our family as it would be to any other family sitting here today. If the town is going to change its policy for this type of structure, it should be done so prospectively.
I am truly saddened that my family and Ihave been portrayed by certain members of the community as outsiders who have chosen for personal reasons to build the retaining wall. This could not be further from the truth. We were told by numerous experts that there were no other alternatives at the time and that the retaining wall was a regulatory requirement for us to build our home. If given the option back then, we would have gladly built our home without the retaining wall.
I implore you to consider the difficult position we’ve been put in and treat us fairly. All we want, and have ever wanted, is to build a home for our family in the community we have chosen to put down roots.
I would like to thank you for your time and consideration.