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Voters reject deal on East Quogue home structures

East Quogue is a hamlet with a year-round

East Quogue is a hamlet with a year-round population of about 5,000. (April 16, 2012) Credit: Erin Geismar

An in-ground pool, patio and deck at an East Quogue home might have to be torn up after Southampton voters rejected a proposal that would have lifted the restriction against building on a portion of the property, the town attorney said.

Southampton voters shot down the proposal, which would have put an open space easement on a separate, slightly larger piece of land at 154 Maggie Dr., by a 57-to-43 margin on Nov. 5.

The original owners of the house built on the “scenic and slope conservation easement” in 2004. The restriction on development was placed on the land in 1990, as part of the subdivision’s approval.

The construction was most recently discovered when the owners tried to sell the home within the past year.

“It’s unfortunate,” said Lisa Kombrink, the Southampton and Riverhead-based attorney with Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartaro for Fidelity National Title Insurance Company. “We believed we’d reached a reasonable resolution to a very difficult situation.”

She said the title company was reviewing its options and said there would be a meeting soon with the town.

The referendum had been placed in front of Southampton voters by the town council, a process dictated by state law, said Southampton Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato.

There was no campaign for or against the proposal, and both Scarlato and Kombrink declined to speculate as to why voters rejected the deal.

Scarlato said the structures could be removed, or the homeowners or title company could seek relief in state court.

“We have to work with the property owner to find a resolution that is adequate to everyone,” she said.

This is new ground for Southampton. While there have been other cases of construction found on land meant to be protected open space in Southampton, they been relatively minor improvements, like fences, which were easily removed, Scarlato noted.

The house, on 1 1 / 2 acres, is listed on real estate website Zillow as for sale for $1,049,000. It’s a four bedroom, four bath house that boasts a deck overlooking a 40-foot in-ground pool.

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