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Southampton resort plan worries residents, environmentalists

East End environmental advocates remain skeptical about a proposed golf course and 118-unit luxury subdivision that was the subject of a special meeting this week in Southampton.

More than 300 people were at East Quogue Elementary School on Monday for the proposed zoning change for The Hills at Southampton golf course and 118-house luxury subdivision project. The meeting is one of four planned hearings on the proposal.

Presenters from Arizona-based Discovery Land Company, the project developer, outlined the environmental impact statement, which is federally required to discuss the ecological pros and cons of the project. About 70 people spoke at the meeting, town officials said.

Richard Amper, executive director of the Riverhead-based preservation group Pine Barrens Society, said he was not impressed with the presentation.

“None of the information they presented was previously unknown. It was really a show,” Amper said. “They used a very well-organized PowerPoint and used their consultants . . . but it’s the worst development project ever considered in the Pine Barrens. We’re flabbergasted that the project is still alive.”

Aaron Virgin, vice president for the conservation nonprofit Groups for the East End, said he remains concerned about potential impacts on local traffic and wildlife.

Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said he cannot make a decision on the project until he learns more about how the developer would allay the environmental concerns residents have with the project’s construction.

“They’re going to have to figure out a way to mitigate some of the environmental concerns,” Schneiderman said.

Discovery Land officials did not return calls for comment Wednesday.

A second hearing is planned for December.

Another controversial building plan appears to be moving forward after the Southold Planning Board this week granted a conditional site approval for a 124-unit condominium development in Cutchogue.

The proposed plan for the Heritage at Cutchogue would construct living space, a tennis court, 284 parking spaces and more on a 46.1 acre parcel on Schoolhouse Road. Residents have previously expressed concerns over how the project will affect the area’s traffic and environment.

The board also adopted a findings statement that outlined the construction’s effects on the environment, traffic and wildlife, as well as proposed solutions that include measures to reduce overall water use, and improvements to help with traffic and pedestrian safety in the area.

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