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Jan 28, 2019 11:50 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Planning Board Hires Consultant To Review Environmental Study For Golf Course

Southampton Town Planning Board Chairman, Dennis Finnerty. VALERIE GORDON
Jan 30, 2019 10:30 AM

The Southampton Town Planning Board hired a consultant on Friday to determine whether an additional environmental study is needed as part of the review of an application for a luxury golf resort in East Quogue.

Of the two consulting firms that responded to a request for proposals—Cameron Engineering and B. Laing Associates—the board selected the latter, noting that the Fort Salonga-based firm has not had any prior experience working with the town, which would, in turn, eliminate any bias in regard to the highly controversial project.

The work is expected to cost between $40,000 and $50,000, according to Southampton Town Planning Board Chairman Dennis Finnerty, who said that those costs are more than covered by the application fee paid by the developer, Discovery Land Company of Arizona.

He added that the purpose behind hiring a third-party consultant was to eliminate any bias in regard to the highly controversial application. Additionally, B Laing Associates offered the town a fixed rate, whereas Cameron Engineering’s proposal was structured on an hourly basis.

The need for the review comes more than a year after the Town Board rejected a change of zone, known as a Planned Development District, or PDD, for the project. The PDD would have allowed the company to build an 18-hole private golf course.

The developer has since filed a new application with the town to subdivide the property and build 118 housing units and an 18-hole golf course on the Lewis Road property.

To conform with the requirements of the 591-acre parcel’s existing zoning, plans were changed to limit play on the golf course to the residents of the subdivision and their non-paying guests. Discovery Land has also added 10 on-site affordable housing rentals and two off-site homes along Old Country Road to the proposal.

The Town Board approved an environmental impact statement, or EIS, under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, for the PDD proposal last year, agreeing that the planned subdivision and public membership golf course would not have any significant adverse effects on the environment.

However, although the changes to the proposal were inconsequential, according to Southampton Town Planner Anthony Trezza, the Planning Board chose to err on the side of caution to determine whether an additional EIS was needed.

“The scope of review is very limited,” Mr. Finnerty said during an interview on Friday. “They’re not reviewing the application, just determining SEQRA compliance.”

At Friday’s meeting, the Planning Board scheduled a public work session for February 14 at 2 p.m. to meet with the consultant for an overview of the project. The board will meet with company representatives again during a special meeting, set for February 21 at 10 a.m. at Southampton Town Hall, before making a determination as to whether a supplemental EIS is needed on February 28.

“What we don’t want is a consultant looking to do work that has already been done,” Mr. Finnerty said.

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Given the gravity of the threat to our ground and surface water posed hy this project, it may be that the Town Board should act now rather than later. If the Town Board waits to intervene until after a Planning Board decision approving the proposal, its case may be weaker.

It’s going to be enough of a stretch to upset the Planning Board’s statutory jurisdiction without making it harder by allowing a final decision to be taken by that body. Better to act now and enforce the ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jan 28, 19 6:13 PM
2 members liked this comment
more money more money give it up
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jan 28, 19 6:50 PM
Turkey Bridge, you seem to understand about leadership during pressing times, so why don't you, a true Democrat, step up and challenge Jay Schneiderman?

You claim that the applicant "looked hard and found a way to get in the front door and re-apply'. How laughable ! Schneiderman was right at the door, and showed them the way in.

If you're looking for courage and innovation, don't expect it from Jay.
By HamptonClassic (132), Southampton on Jan 28, 19 7:16 PM
Turkey Bridge - you need a hobby. I feel sorry for you.
By reddistrictliberal (5), Westhampton Beach on Jan 29, 19 4:19 PM
A simple NO to these carpetbagging weasels should suffice
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jan 29, 19 4:34 PM
50k down the potty. 100 homes on 600 acres when the avg lot in East Quoque is a half acre you have to laugh at the local village idiots.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 29, 19 6:49 PM