The Southampton Town Board unanimously approved purchasing East Hampton Town's 50-percent interest in a Sagaponack golf course the towns own jointly, after holding a public hearing on the matter Tuesday night.

The Poxabogue 9-hole public golf course, with a restaurant and pro shop, was purchased by the two towns in 2004 for $6.5 million. It is located entirely in Southampton.

Southampton will use $2.2 million in Community Preservation Fund money to make the purchase. A reserve fund of $400,000 used to manage the course will be split between the two towns.

East Hampton will use the money to pay off the debt it incurred to purchase the property, eliminating about $700,000 in interest, part of $3 million in payments over the life of the loan, East Hampton budget officer Len Bernard said.

East Hampton residents will still be able to use the course.

Southampton originally used Community Preservation Fund money for the purchase -- which by law means the land must be preserved and not developed -- but East Hampton did not.

"Point is, that by Southampton buying it, they know it will be a golf course and park into perpetuity," Bernard said.

Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, an Independent, said that developing property designated as parkland is a complicated process, and that Republicans on the board voted for the sale as favor to their counterparts in East Hampton to help with their budget problems.

She said she voted for it because "you have to pick your battles."

Councilman James Malone, a Conservative often aligned with Republicans, rejected Throne-Holst's assertion and said Southampton benefits because East Hampton could have sold its portion to anyone. In addition, he said, Southampton now has complete oversight and can manage the golf course as needed.

"It's just silly," he said, adding the town has been in talks for at least two years on the matter. "Now at the eleventh hour, she doesn't support it?"

All the other town board members said the purchase was a good one for the residents of Southampton.

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