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Apr 14, 2015 6:06 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board Schedules Meeting To Discuss Environmental Impact Of East Quogue Proposal

Apr 15, 2015 2:04 PM

A public scoping session has been scheduled by the Southampton Town Board to discuss The Hills at Southampton, a housing and golf course project proposed in East Quogue.

The meeting, to be held on Tuesday, May 5, at 6 p.m. at Southampton Town Hall, will focus on what environmental issues need to be included as part of an environmental impact study. At a Southampton Town Board meeting on Monday, the board approved a “positive declaration” based on the State Environmental Quality Review Act, meaning that the Town Board has decided a full Environmental Impact Study is necessary for the project to be considered.

“The scoping process is intended to ensure public participation in the [Draft Environmental Impact Statement] development process, allow open discussion of issues of public concern, and permit inclusion of relevant, substantive public issues in the final written scope,” the resolution reads.

The would-be developers of The Hills are seeking to change the zoning on four separate East Quogue properties totaling a little more than 594 acres to allow the construction of 118 homes and an 18-hole golf course with amenities. The homes and golf course would be clustered on 168 acres and the rest of the land would be dedicated as open space.

The land is currently zoned residential; the developers are asking the Town Board to create a special overlay zone, known as a mixed-use planned development district, which would allow construction that otherwise would be excluded by existing zoning.

Several environmental groups, including the Long Island Pine Barrens Society and the Group for the East End, have already planted a flag of strident opposition to the proposal, and threatened lawsuits if the town approves it, citing concerns about groundwater and local estuaries that would be impacted by the golf course.

Ultimately, environmentalists say they prefer allowing the property owners to develop the land as of right, under current zoning, which would permit the construction of up to 82 single-family homes. If the bid for special zoning is rejected, the developers are proposing to cluster their as-of-right development on a portion of the estimated 435 acres in East Quogue that they already own.

Transportation Council Formed

On Tuesday, the Town Board also voted to support the creation of a Peconic Bay Regional Transportation Council formed by Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.

The newly formed board is designed to coordinate a proposal for the development of an improved transportation system.

“The Town Board finds that expanding traffic congestion in the Peconic Bay region has resulted in deteriorating traffic safety, declining air quality, parking problems, and adverse impacts to the historical and rural resources of the area, impeding further growth and development in the region,” the town resolution supporting the council states. “In order to preserve the tourism industry, and provide comfort for the permanent residents of the region, the issue of traffic congestion must be addressed,” it says.

The resolution notes that the region’s geography does not lend itself to highway expansion, and that “the solution lies with the expansion of the existing public transit system in the region.”

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This matter of the Hills, and the equally ill-considered Tuckahoe Center project, are shaping up to be watershed issues for Southampton Town -- no pun intended. If these proposals are allowed to sneak by, it will be the end of all patience for those who have heretofore supported the Supervisor and the Town Board. The limit of people's tolerance will have been crossed, and the consequences, on several levels, will be disastrous.

The people of Southampton Town are not fools or sheep. We ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Apr 24, 15 10:26 AM
wow! Lots of turmoil inside the Independence Party/Democratic Party alliance.
But how does something that is on the 27east site, in the paper, etc, get "sneaked through"?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Apr 24, 15 10:53 AM
Yup. Who's in who's pocket now??

By Nature (2966), Southampton on Apr 24, 15 11:50 AM