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Southampton zoning board to vote on revamped plan for The Hills project 

A drawing from November 2017 shows the proposal

A drawing from November 2017 shows the proposal for The Hills at Southampton, which, if approved by local officials, would become a 118-unit development and golf course community in East Quogue. Credit: xliu

The Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals is expected to decide next week whether plans for a controversial East Quogue 18-hole golf course and residential community can move forward.

Arizona-based Discovery Land Co. is seeking to build a 118-unit subdivision and an 18-hole golf course on 591 acres off Spinney Road in East Quogue, a project once known as The Hills that has drawn attention for its location in the environmentally sensitive pine barrens.

A similar proposal failed to get supermajority approval from the town board in December, prompting the company to file the latest plans two weeks later under the name Lewis Road Planned Residential District. The developer sued the town in April over what it called an “unlawful and unconstitutional denial” of the proposal.

Now Discovery contends it can build the development without a zoning change, as the golf course should be considered an accessory use, which is permitted under town code. It has also filed an alternative plan calling for 137 units, including 13 designated for year-round workforce housing, although Discovery representatives said the company would prefer the 118-unit plan.

The planning board earlier this year issued a report on the plan outlining questions about whether the golf course would constitute a secondary primary  use of the property or an accessory use, as Discovery has argued. That question will be decided by the ZBA, though the project will still ultimately require planning board approval.

The seven-member ZBA will review arguments by those supporting and those opposing the project, similar cases in New York State, prior actions of the board  and a close reading of the town zoning code in considering its decision.

“We’ve been given lots of information, lots of materials and we’re reviewing all of it,” said ZBA chairman Adam Grossman.

A decision is expected to be drafted and ready for a vote at the board’s Nov. 15 meeting, Grossman said. He declined to say how he or other board members planned to vote.

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