East Quogue residents may be able to vote this fall on whether they want their hamlet to become an incorporated village after Southampton officials approved a second petition to hold a vote on the matter.
In a decision dated Aug. 23, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman found that the petition asking for a public vote on East Quogue becoming an incorporated village was sufficient enough to hold a vote.
If there are no objections or legal challenges to the decision within 30 days, a vote could be held as soon as October, Schneiderman said Tuesday.
Previous efforts to schedule a vote failed in June after the original petition — which a group of residents submitted in April — did not have a complete list of "regular inhabitants” and contained the names of 34 dead people.
The last time a village was incorporated on Long Island was in 2010 in Mastic Beach in Brookhaven Town. Residents voted to disincorporate in 2016 and returned to Brookhaven Town control as a special taxing district in 2018. It was the first Long Island village to disband since 1991.
“I’m confident in my decision that it will be upheld if it’s challenged, but it would delay the vote,” Schneiderman said. “I felt that the list was sufficiently accurate and the petitioners had done all that was humanly possible to give me as accurate a list as possible.”
The revised petition contains about 719 valid signatures, which satisfies a New York State law requiring at least 20 percent of residents in an area seeking village incorporation to sign the petition.
Karen Kooi, co-chair of The East Quogue Exploratory Committee, which submitted the petition, said Tuesday that her 16-member committee was “very excited and so pleased” that the petition had been approved. The group began working toward incorporation in October 2017.
Kooi said becoming a village would give East Quogue residents more control over issues involving controlling taxes and building density in their community.
“We need to have a seat at the table to make decisions for our hamlet — which will hopefully be our village — and be a proponent and an advocate for our destiny,” Kooi said. “We want to say ‘no’ to increased density, we want to say ‘no’ to high taxes, and we want to have a vote. As a hamlet, we have learned that’s not the way it works in Southampton Town.”
The East Quogue Civic Association, which opposes incorporation, has expressed concerns that an incorporated village may not be able to provide the same level of services as Southampton Town.
Al Algieri, the civic group's president, did not respond to requests for comment.