Efforts to incorporate a village in East Quogue have fallen short, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman announced Monday afternoon.
A group of residents submitted a petition to Schneiderman in April with 780 signatures asking for a public vote to decide on incorporation. Under state law, it is Schneiderman’s responsibility to rule on the petition’s adequacy and on Monday he said it was insufficient.
Schneiderman, following two public hearings on the issue, found that the petition did bear more than the 595 signatures required and that the group did not spread misinformation to obtain the signatures. The petition, however, lacked a complete list of “regular inhabitants,” and the one the committee did submit included the names of 34 dead people, he said.
“Petitioners failed to demonstrate sufficient due diligence in their effort to remove said names by using available information such as obituaries to confirm an individual’s passing,” Schneiderman wrote in a nine-page decision.
Members of the East Quogue Village Exploratory Committee said they envisioned a “thin layer of government” to regulate land use issues in the area which they said would be better served with local control. Members have cited issues that would be better handled by residents than Southampton town officials, including a proposed 118-unit golf course community once known as The Hills and contaminants discovered in private wells near a former town landfill.
The petitioners have 30 days to appeal Schneiderman’s decision. Members of the committee have not decided whether they will appeal the decision, said co-chair Karen Kooi, noting the difficulties in compiling a complete list over a two-year period.
“We more than met the requirements in village law,” Kooi said. “To find a 1 percent error in that [regular inhabitants] list, it’s basically a technicality.”
The proposed East Quogue village would have bordered Quogue Village to the west and extended to the Atlantic Ocean.
East Quogue would have been the first Long Island village created since Mastic Beach incorporated in 2010. Mastic Beach dissolved in 2017 amid a projected tax spike, political infighting and federal discrimination lawsuits.