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Sep 25, 2019 10:58 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Public Meeting For East Quogue Village Incorporation Sees High Turnout As Vote Approaches

East Quogue Village Exploratory Committee co-chairs Dave Celi and Karen Kooi. ANISAH ABDULLAH
Sep 25, 2019 11:22 AM

Tensions ran high at the East Quogue Village Exploratory Committee’s informational meeting Tuesday night, the fourth meeting held to date to discuss the possible creation of a village, but the first after a public vote was scheduled for the hamlet’s incorporation.

Around 200 residents packed the East Quogue Elementary School auditorium to get a comprehensive breakdown of the committee’s plan to turn the hamlet into a village before they cast their ballots next month in a community referendum on whether the village should be created.

A tentative date for the vote is Thursday, October 17. Voting will be from noon to 9 p.m. in the elementary school, committee members announced.

Co-Chair Karen Kooi gave a short presentation on the facts of the incorporation, and several people on the 16-member committee entertained audience questions for the remainder of the two-hour forum.

On August 23, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman approved an amended petition from the committee to incorporate East Quogue into a village, advancing the proposal to a vote. Every resident of the proposed village who is qualified to vote for town officers may vote in the election. If a majority of the votes cast favor incorporation, the measure will pass, according to State Village Incorporation Law.

Absentee ballots will not be allowed due to a 2006 court decision, committee members explained. Mr. Schneiderman confirmed that such ballots cannot be used.

“That’s not our call. We prefer to have them,” committee member Jessica Insalaco told the audience.

Audience members were asked to write questions on index cards for the committee to read and answer — but that method was interrupted rather quickly by raised hands scattered throughout the crowd. Impassioned residents often spoke over each other and the moderators to voice worries and confusion.

Major concerns included potential property tax increases, the sustainability of having volunteers serve on appointed village boards, and potential benefits to Discovery Land Company — a developer trying to build a luxury golf course resort in the hamlet — if the incorporation is successful.

Several aspects of the plan were explained more than once by committee members as some residents were still unclear about details. Members also stayed afterward to answer additional questions.

“I think, for all of us, I think what we’ve been learning over the last two years is really to protect East Quogue, because if we don’t, we don’t know what will happen,” Ms. Insalaco said. “The town has continued to make decisions that the locals in many neighborhoods aren’t supportive of.”

To reiterate some of what was explained, the seven-page proposed budget for fiscal year 2020-21 shows balanced revenues and expenses both totaling $841,602. Property taxes would increase by about $50 per year for a house assessed at $500,000.

The incorporation has no impact on Discovery Land, except for the fact that it would give them another chance to submit their applications if they are rejected by the town, committee members said.

Committee members have discussed an inter-municipal agreement with the town to continue to use the town’s police force and highway departments, while creating its own village building and zoning department. The town would still maintain beaches in East Quogue.

Lawn signs were handed out at the end of the meeting to supporters that read “Vote Yes to Village.” Anti-incorporation lawn signs were seen already posted in the hamlet as well.

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Biased meeting.Opponents should have been allowed to make presentations and hand out NO VILLAGE signs.One committee member admitted being employed by Discovery Land. DUH.
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Sep 26, 19 9:58 AM
3 members liked this comment
This comment typifies the incredulous nature of those opposed - host your own event and you can talk about ANYTHING you want - those residents who are opposed seem to prefer "crashing" the EQVEC events and distracting voters from the salient topics/ideas. This was not a debate, though I would be happy to engage any of those opposed in that format if preferred.
By Christian Moscicki (4), East Quogue on Sep 30, 19 2:23 PM
if the EQVEC is an 'exploratory committee' as the name states then they should be exploring both the potential positives and negatives of incorporation (as well as what is hard to know up front). If the exploratory committee is not being clear about potential uncertainties or negatives than it seems that they've done a pretty incomplete job.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Sep 30, 19 2:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
It's definitely NOT an "exploratory committee". These are people with their minds already made up when they formed the committee with the help of Jessica Insalaco, committee member and EMPLOYEE OF DISCOVERY LAND.
By 2329702 (67), East Quogue on Oct 1, 19 8:28 AM
1 member liked this comment
Lobbyists for Discovery. That's what this exploratory committee is. All have businesses and therefore "skin in the game" if the golf course is built. That is the main objective. Nothing else for the EQ citizens to gain from incorporation unless you are a member of this committee.
By zappy (65), east quogue on Sep 26, 19 11:11 AM
Wait the Town of Southampton gets to charge the new village for "services"? Well then, trade the 500 votes from East Quogue in municipal elections for a $3 million annual "Special government workers health insurance surcharge" and the rest of the Town will benefit so that more than 500 voters approve.
Winning!
Even Discovery Land will benefit when they bribe the new village officials into approving their fertilizer dump on top of our aquifer and park 75 new landscapers and their families ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Sep 26, 19 12:03 PM
2 members liked this comment
It is proven that small villages are more susceptible to being suede by rich interests and wealthy property owners within a small Incorporated village. Small villages do not have the assets to defend a lawsuit and fear going bankrupt in doing so. Something to think about.
By cpcandy (1), East Quogue on Sep 26, 19 1:36 PM
2 members liked this comment
One of the co-chairs works for a golf course out East. I wonder if they're gunning for a position at the proposed gold course in town and that's at least part of the reason why they support incorporating East Quogue.
By NoVillageEQ (1), East Quogue on Sep 26, 19 2:05 PM
4 members liked this comment
Yes, NoVIllageEQ, that is what I meant by "skin in the game." Another works for Discovery. Others are local tradespeople who might just get the contracts when the homes and clubhouse are built. Those who own businesses in town would likely benefit from the increased population that the new homes would add; ironic since one of the items this group indicates it will protect is the environment from overdevelopment! I hope the voters of EQ can see through this scam.
By zappy (65), east quogue on Sep 26, 19 2:14 PM
The discovery land company has a $100 million dollar lawsuit filed against SH Town.
What happens when they file a $100 million dollar lawsuit against the village of east quogue?
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Sep 26, 19 4:42 PM
The only thing the new village will do is raise taxes and make more rules hurting all the citizens.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 26, 19 8:59 PM
2 members liked this comment
Its a no brainer to me. Property values will jump.
By Summer Resident (251), Southampton Town, NY on Sep 28, 19 9:35 PM
Along with higher assessments and higher taxes. Duh.
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Sep 29, 19 10:34 AM
3 members liked this comment
Another layer of Government results in higher taxes. Alleged Higher property values means higher assessed tax values. Incorporating will benefit a select few.
By kpjc (161), east quogue on Sep 28, 19 10:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
tentative vote oct 17 .. when and how does the eqvec notify the residents of the vote ,, the day before is unacceptable .
By jerryr (4), east quogue on Sep 29, 19 9:30 AM
1 member liked this comment
They have been only sometimes mentioning the date of the vote occasionally in their Facebook group. There are many who do not use Facebook or social media at all, how about the elderly? I doubt they are even aware and the EQVEC wants to keep it that way.
By 2329702 (67), East Quogue on Sep 30, 19 11:13 AM
They have been only sometimes mentioning the date of the vote occasionally in their Facebook group. There are many who do not use Facebook or social media at all, how about the elderly? I doubt they are even aware and the EQVEC wants to keep it that way.
By 2329702 (67), East Quogue on Sep 30, 19 11:21 AM
Exactly! Why would they want to inform the elderly? To tell them that their taxes are going to go up?
By fritzdaddy (35), southampton on Sep 30, 19 8:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
To prevent folks who go away in the winter, or are serving in the US armed forces overseas, do away with absentee ballots -- check.
To prevent the elderly from voting, create confusion about the specific date and schedule for colder weather when it's difficult for older bones to move and drive -- check.
Wait for the polling place to be placed in a difficult to identify and access location. That will also be a "tell" that this is all being orchestrated by the sinister anti-democratic Arizona ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Oct 1, 19 8:58 AM
1 member liked this comment
What a ridiculous series of statements - I am not sure whether to laugh or cry at your ignorance.

Would you prefer the vote was held during the nice warm months, maybe before the petition was even passed!? That would have made sense...

The vote will be held at the Elementary School - is that part of the "grand conspiracy" too - how does that play out with your "tell"?
I know, The school must be working for Discovery!!??

Who goes away for the winter in mid-October? ...more
By Christian Moscicki (4), East Quogue on Oct 3, 19 1:26 PM
... drivel
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Oct 4, 19 3:57 AM
hahahahahahaha Christian - foreign rule - god help us if these supporters attempt to run for office.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Oct 4, 19 9:29 AM
It is my understanding that the referendum for incorporation is conducted by the Town of Southampton, not the committee. That means that the siting, scheduling, announcement, eligibility, advertising and conduct of the vote are functions of the current governing body. Sorry to disappoint those who prefer to spread falsehoods, especially those who do it knowingly.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Oct 1, 19 8:58 PM
There are only 2 things relevant to me.

1) If Village incorporation were a good idea, it wouldn't have been 9 years since the last one on Long Island, and reports of villages dissolving. They would be all over the place, happening regularly until everywhere was its own incorporated village.

And 2) this incorporated village push is motivated by a desire to push the golf course project through after being told no. If you think getting into bed with folks who bully with lawsuits ...more
By RSEQ (2), East Quogue on Oct 9, 19 8:55 AM