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Sep 7, 2018 11:27 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Decision Expected Soon On Proposed 18-Hole Golf Course In East Quogue

Wayne Bruyn delivers his argument in support of the 18-hole golf course being allowed as a recreational amenity to the proposed residential community. VALERIE GORDON
Sep 10, 2018 3:05 PM

The Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals said last week that it will make a decision on November 15 regarding whether a proposed 18-hole golf course should be allowed to be built as a recreational amenity to a residential housing complex off Spinney Road in East Quogue.

Additionally, the five board members who were present at the meeting on Thursday, September 6, agreed to extend the date for written comments from both supporters and opponents of the project, until Thursday, September 27, at 3 p.m.

Originally, at the ZBA’s first meeting on July 19, the board said it planned to stop accepting written comments on August 24.

However, much to the frustration of Wayne Bruyn, an attorney with Southampton-based O’Shea Marcincuk & Bruyn LLP, who is representing the developer, Arizona-based Discovery Land Company, the ZBA accepted at least a dozen submissions on Thursday—more than a month after the predetermined deadline.

When reached on Friday morning, ZBA Chairman Adam Grossman said that the board never intended for August 24 to be a final date for comments; rather it was intended as a courtesy date for the attorneys related to the project to submit their documentation by, so that the board would have ample time to review the submissions for Thursday’s meeting.

However, he added that as of September 27, the board will no longer be accepting any form of documentation in relation to the golf course application.

Mr. Grossman added that the extra time allows anyone from the community to let their voices be heard.

“It’s a rather complicated application,” he said. “It’s going to take some time to go through everything and figure out exactly what we’re going to do.”

One of those who submitted comments on Thursday was project opponent Carolyn Zenk, a Hampton Bays-based environmental attorney and former Southampton Town Board member, who has repeatedly argued that the developer’s proposal is in violation of the Southampton Town zoning code.

Discovery Land’s current proposal comes after the Town Board rejected a nearly identical plan, known as “The Hills at Southampton,” which fell one vote short of a supermajority needed for a special change of zone called a planned development district, or PDD.

Now, Discovery Land is insisting that it can build its development, including the golf course, without securing a change of zone. The company points to a little-used portion of the town code—a planned residential district, or PRD—that permits the addition of certain recreational amenities, such as tennis courts, in residential neighborhoods. Discovery Land maintains that a golf course used only by residents of the development’s planned 118 units is comparable to other recreational amenities and thus permitted by current zoning.

Mr. Bruyn has repeatedly argued that, under the town’s zoning code, a golf course is not specifically listed as a recreational use in the town code—but neither is it specifically prohibited. “Unless it is expressly prohibited,” he argues, “it’s allowed.”

Ms. Zenk, and several others who attended Thursday’s meeting, strongly disagreed. She pointed to Chapter 330 of the town code, which reads: “all unlisted uses are prohibited.”

Listed uses include residence uses, residential community facilities, general community facilities, business uses, industrial uses and accessory uses.

The problem is, there is no set list that accompanies the portion of the code that specifically lists every permitted accessory use.

To argue his case, Mr. Bruyn explained that golf courses have acted to enhance residential communities across the United States for decades. “My opponent’s interpretation of the town zoning code is erroneous and rejected by multiple courts,” he said.

However, Ms. Zenk argued that Mr. Bruyn’s argument was irrelevant, based on the fact that not every state or country has the same zoning code.

“It’s nice that New Jersey does that, but you don’t know the underlying code,” she said. “Look in your residential zones.”

She added that, based on research performed by the Southampton Town Planning Board, there have been zero incidents in Southampton Town where golf courses were allowed in the 5-acre residential zone. All of the land owned by the development company is located within that zone, which is constituted as the most restrictive in the town because of its environmental sensitivity.

Again, she mentioned that the only form of golf allowed in a 5-acre zone is mini golf, which requires a special exception and is limited to 1 acre. The proposed golf course would sit on 91 acres of the nearly 600-acre parcel on Lewis Road.

“When Wayne talks about different things all over the state, it’s not relevant, because it pertains to different zoning codes,” Ms. Zenk argued. “Don’t bite the bait. Don’t fall for it.”

Amityville-based attorney Richard Handler attended Thursday’s meeting as a representative of the Group for the East End’s attorney, Jeffrey Bragman, who was hired by The Group and supports his client’s opposition to the project.

Mr. Handler said his biggest concern was not the golf course itself but everything that goes along with it. He pointed to the developers planned maintenance facility, clubhouse and septic system, all needed to maintain the golf course. “I ask that you look at whole package,” he told the ZBA.

William Kearns, who lives adjacent to the Lewis Road development site, was equally opposed to the golf course and everything that goes along with it. He, like Ms. Zenk, argued that the developers would not have gone through four years of attempting to get the PDD zoning change if they didn’t need it in order to build their proposed golf course. “Without this golf course, the housing development is useless, and they know it,” he said.

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NIMBY
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Sep 7, 18 9:48 PM
There are already over 100 golf courses on Long Island which will be under water anyway in about 100 years. The rest of the island has been exploited to kingdom come, so why stop now?

Our progeny will live on a lovely island which is now fourteen meters above sea level...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 7, 18 10:04 PM
1 member liked this comment
Carolyn Zenk and Bill Kearns are right. The Hills — now the Lewis Road Planned Residential Development — is contrary to zoning law, common sense and the health of our environment. It should be nixed.

Jessica Insalaco may live “less than three miles from the proposed development,” but she’s a lot closer than that to the developer, Discovery Land. As the reporter should have noted, Ms. Insalaco works for Discovery; she gets money to promote this disastrous project, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Sep 7, 18 10:41 PM
2 members liked this comment
Golf at the Bridge was allowed a top the sole aquifer and is monitored. Never heard of any environmental issues there. Atlantic GC was built among the most fertile farm land and never heard a peep about that. E Gordon Built 9 holes abutting Long Pond, never heard a peep about that, and last Bacon built I believe 9 holes over in Cow Neck. Never heard a peep about that. All of these are recent builds all within the Town of Southampton just like the Discovery Land Proposal. If these 4 monitored courses ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Sep 8, 18 10:08 AM
2 members liked this comment
How could I overlook Sebonac with Cold Spring Harbor to the west and bordering Great Peconic Bay to the north, with a few residences? Also monitored and not an environmental peep.....Time to move on...
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Sep 8, 18 10:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
MS.INSALACO WORKS FOR DISCOVERY!!!!
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Sep 8, 18 10:40 AM
2 members liked this comment
THIS IS IN THE PINE BARRENS and changes everything!!!
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Sep 8, 18 10:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
If their definition is so vague already, they better define "golf course used only by the development’s residents"
Guests, outings, tournaments, employees, vehicles, chopper pad ..
By dave h (193), calverton on Sep 9, 18 9:58 AM
3 members liked this comment
How does 'tennis courts' = golf course, clubhouse, parking/roads for access, maintenance equip storage, food, bathrooms?
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Sep 10, 18 11:44 AM
Hey there, let's not forget the underground parking garage and helicopter landing pad. Yes, seriously.
If anyone has looked into DL's previous projects, they'd know these are resorts for the UBER wealthy, not your regular ol' Manhattanites, I'm talking CEOs of MAJOR corporations as well as plenty of Hollywood stars/directors/producers.
DL attempts to threaten the residents of EQ with instead building a regular old subdivision. Will NEVER HAPPEN. They want another exclusive mega resort ...more
By 2329702 (67), East Quogue on Sep 11, 18 11:02 AM
2 members liked this comment
We are told time and again that the ZBA in this stage of the proceedings is limited to considering only the law as such, only whether the proposed development falls within the narrow limits of the applicable zoning law. We are told that there is no place in this discussion for general considerations of whether the proposal bodes good or ill for the community at large.

Fair enough. Others have eloquently and convincingly made the case that, considered specifically and on a strict legal basis, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Sep 11, 18 10:31 AM
4 members liked this comment