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Jun 11, 2009 9:13 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Application for 29-lot subdivision in East Quogue is withdrawn

Jun 11, 2009 9:13 AM

The developer behind the Links at East Quogue, originally proposed as a 49-lot subdivision on 145 acres of vacant land south of Sunrise Highway, announced earlier this week that he has withdrawn his application for the subdivision and instead plans to grow corn on a portion of the land.

At a work session of the Southampton Town Planning Board last Thursday, June 4, developer Wayne Steck of Hauppauge cited financial concerns as the reason for withdrawing the subdivision application.

“The taxes are $400,000 a year for land we’re not using,” Mr. Steck said. “We can build 29 houses, but we would lose money.”

He noted that he is seeking permission from the Planning Board to clear 25 percent of the land and plant field corn—a crop he chose because of its relatively low cost of farming.

The proposed subdivision had been before the Planning Board since last November, but a previous incarnation of the plan, which proposed to construct a golf course on the property, was stalled by the East Quogue building moratorium. That moratorium, which began in April 2006, was extended four times and was lifted in August of last year.

As a result of a study completed during the moratorium, the Town Board last December altered the zoning of some 915 undeveloped acres in East Quogue from 2-acre zoning to 5-acre zoning. The study ultimately determined that fewer buildable lots would help preserve the hamlet’s bucolic nature and be far less taxing on the hamlet’s school and fire protection districts.

As a result of that upzoning, the developers of The Links at East Quogue were required to reduce the number of proposed homes from 49 units to approximately 29 units.

On Friday, Al Algieri, president of the East Quogue Civic Association, said he was happy to hear that the property would not be developed, at least in the immediate future.

“I think we’re better off ... we’ll be a nice, quiet little hamlet again,” he said.

During the work session on June 4, board members expressed concern about clearing restrictions on the property, which is located in the pine barrens and in the Aquifer Protection Overlay District. They said they would have to look into how much clearing is actually allowed in that area. They also questioned whether the land would be appropriate for farming, given that a large portion of the property was used as a sand mine, and they noted that if the land is ever developed in the future, the development would have to be concentrated to the area being used for farming to stay consistent with the clearing restrictions.

Mr. Steck said he did not expect to develop the property for at least another 10 years. He said on Monday that it is not clear exactly who will farm the property at this point.

Planning Board members advised Mr. Steck to meet with the Pine Barrens Commission and to come back to the town once he receives permission from the commission to move forward.

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Wayne Steck is paying $400,000.00 a year in taxes and Mr. Steck has to ask permission to plant corn on his property? Who, aside from Al Algieri (president of the East Quogue Civic Association) is gleeful about this implementation of fascism in our community?
By William Haley (7), East Quogue on Jun 10, 09 8:02 PM
Did the developer buy the land knowing it was Pine Barrens land and hoping he could tear it all out and develop it? What part of clearing restrictions don’t you understand? Hope he’s planning on putting up a 10 foot fence or the deer will be eating his corn. Better he should donate the land to the town and get a tax break. Everyone’s always trying to destroy the Pine Barrens. Can’t we just enjoy nature? It seems like there are already plenty of homes in the area.
By darwin (47), southampton on Jun 11, 09 11:54 AM
$400,000.00 a year in tax burden does not reflect clearing restrictions on Wayne Steck's private property. You (and Al Algieri, president of the East Quogue Civic Association) should lead by example, darwin. Donate your property to the town. You will receive a tax break and (better yet) praise from me.
By William Haley (7), East Quogue on Jun 11, 09 3:11 PM
William Haley : Maybe you should donate YOUR property that the Town isn't letting YOU build on.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Jun 11, 09 3:41 PM
A handful of people spoke out against my local wetlands application for a single family residence: Maura Sullivan, Michael Tessitore, Denise Erwin (immediate neighbors), Al Algieri (president of the East Quogue Civic Association), Martin Shea (Chief Environmental Analyst) and Daphne Vaughn (Environmental Analyst). If you feel that I do not deserve the right to build a modest home on my R-40 zoned property, kindly emulate their courage and post your real name, PrivateerMatt.
By William Haley (7), East Quogue on Jun 11, 09 4:56 PM
The Feds/ County/ State/Town/Al Algieri should buy all the Pine Barrens from Rocky Point on east. Make it a national forest as these pine forests exist only in two other places on earth, New Jersy and Cape Cod. Why ruin something that is so unique?

These golf courses only add to the problem and at the end of the day when the developer is not making money selling golf he applies to build more houses ie. The Links at Shirley.

I buy into the fauna and flora found in these forests ...more
By William Rodney (555), southampton on Jun 12, 09 1:31 PM
At the risk of quibbling, the pine trees found on Long Island are not unique if they are also growing in New Jersey and Cape Cod. More to the point, once you take private property off the tax roll the remaining private property owners are required to make up the difference. My taxes have already skyrocketed this year (from $6.90 to $150.16) so you'll have to step up to the plate if you want to preserve the pine barrens, Bill. I'm tapped out.
By William Haley (7), East Quogue on Jun 12, 09 3:09 PM
William Haley : No offense but your property is too close to Weesuck Pond.
Too much potential for run off and seepage from the septic system.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Jun 13, 09 1:55 PM
No offense taken, PrivateerMatt. You can ask Caroline Simson to write an article about potential seepage from the septic system on my property however the Town of Southampton and the East Quogue Civic Association would be better served if that can of worms is left unopened. Everyone who is familiar with SEQR Type II actions know that the construction of a single family residence and its septic system possess insignificant impacts which can easily be mitigated.
By William Haley (7), East Quogue on Jun 13, 09 4:06 PM
Farming corn would get rid of the tax liability? But if it is Pine Barrens, we should make an effort to keep it. A golf course is the worst disaster for the local ecology. Our environment is so sensitive. I have seen so many changes in the past 35yrs. Mr. Steck should have some sort of relief from the town. It is his property. But there should be some stipulations. It is getting more and more expensive to live out here. But we live out here because we love the natural beauty? We could ...more
By kelly (75), hampton bays on Jun 15, 09 9:38 PM
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