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Southampton board to hold hearing on proposed golf resort

James Cervino, left, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution,

James Cervino, left, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, defends his position on pollution dangers of a proposed golf resort in Southampton in a debate with golf resort proponent Livingston Marshall during a meeting June 11, 2016. Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Southampton Town residents will have the chance to comment on the environmental study for a zone change petition on a controversial East Quogue golf and housing resort after the Southampton Town Board voted Tuesday to hold a public hearing.

Deeming the draft environmental impact statement for The Hills at East Quogue golf and housing complex as complete, the board voted 5-0 to set a public hearing date on the project study for 6 p.m. on Nov. 7 at East Quogue Elementary School.

The proposal from Scottsdale, Arizona-based developer Discover Land Co. calls for the town to change the property from residential zoning to a mixed-use planned development district. The change would allow for the development of 168.1 acres of a 591-acre site near Spinney Road in East Quogue into 118 residential units, an 18-hole golf course and associated clubhouse, a pond/pond house and maintenance area. The remaining 424 acres would be preserved.

The environmental impact statement was placed on the agenda for a vote during the town board’s Sept. 27 meeting, but it was tabled over concerns about the document’s adequacy and the lack of time available for the community to prepare for a meeting.

Environmentalists opposed to the proposal have said the project would develop the largest remaining privately owned property in the Long Island pine barrens region.

Carolyn Zenk, vice president for the group Citizens for Clean Drinking Water, Clean Air and Clean Bays, said the impact statement was inadequate for public review, adding that it lacked items such as a full-scale subdivision map and other content that would show how the town would benefit from the project.

“Unless you have a subdivision map, you cannot determine the community benefit,” Zenk said. “A conceptual map is not enough . . . you don’t see the square footage, you can’t have a hearing with that.”

Town Board member John Bouvier said that he had reviewed the impact statement thoroughly last weekend and, while he found that the impact statement was “not perfect,” he felt it was “substantially reviewable” and ready to move before the public to get closure on the resort proposal, which has been debated for almost three years.

“I think that it’s in the public interest that we have this discussion and we have public hearings on it,” Bouvier said.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman agreed. “I think it’s time to move on and let the public formally comment on this,” he said.


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