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Feb 4, 2016 4:14 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Declares Hills Environmental Impact Study Incomplete

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman BY ERIN MCKINLEY
Feb 10, 2016 10:50 AM

The initial environmental review of The Hills at Southampton, a proposed golf course and residential subdivision in East Quogue, was labeled “incomplete” at Tuesday’s Southampton Town Board meeting.

The decision came at the request of Town Planning and Development Administrator Kyle Collins after he reviewed reports submitted by AKRF Inc. and A. Martin Petrovic, two private firms the town retained in March to assist in reviewing the application for The Hills.

The developer, Arizona-based Discovery Land Company, is seeking the town’s approval for a planned development district, or PDD—a zoning mechanism approved by the Town Board that allows increased density in exchange for perceived community benefits—that would allow the firm to build 95 single-family homes, 13 clubhouse cabins and 10 clubhouse condominiums, along with an 18-hole golf course, just off Spinney Road.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mark Hissey, a representative from Discovery Land Company, said the determination that the review was incomplete was not surprising, noting that it can be difficult for applicants to successfully meet the draft environmental impact study, or DEIS, requirements the first time around. He said all the suggestions made in response to the DEIS, which was submitted to Southampton Town in December, were fair.

“It was completely expected,” Mr. Hissey said. “I would have been astonished if it would have been approved the first time around. These are living and working documents that we have to keep improving upon, and it is going to be a lot of feedback back and forth in order to fine-tune it.”

In order for the developer to move forward with the proposal, the Town Board must first approve a DEIS, required by state environmental policy, that evaluates the potential ramifications the development would have on the surrounding area. That report, stretching 333 pages, was submitted to the Town Board on December 21 to be reviewed by the board, AKRF and Dr. Chris Gobler, an East Quogue resident and professor at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

All three reviewers determined that the report was incomplete, and they outlined several omissions that will need to be filled for the application to move forward.

The AKRF report included several suggestions: qualifying when the town could expect to start receiving nearly $5.5 million in taxes from the development; clarifying how much nitrogen would be added to the water table; pinpointing the general effects of the project; and including a letter from the town tax receiver describing how the East Quogue Union Free School District would receive taxes as a result of the project. Most of the changes will focus on making the language of the document easier for readers to understand.

“The text needs to be clearer in the description of the project site,” the report reads. “Currently, the description is a combination of property owners and references to contiguous and non-contiguous parcels, and is hard to follow. A common and consistent parcel identification should be provided with a table and a map reference.”

According to the document, which totals 16 pages and is dated February 3, the DEIS does not include all of the information requested by the Town Board in a scoping document, does not contain all of the mitigation analysis, and lacks consistency. The reviewer also suggests organizing the document in a clearer, more succinct way to make the information and graphs more understandable to the reader.

The report filed by Mr. Petrovic speaks to technical and environmental impacts of the design, construction and operation of the golf course and residential lawn management. Suggestions include testing for common pesticides used in corn production, as corn used to be grown at the site; testing any soil that would have to be brought in for the project from a historically agricultural area; adding information about how ponds will be tested for nitrogen; and establishing a protocol for how often samples will be taken.

Mr. Petrovic’s report, which is 12 pages long and dated February 1, also highlights the need for more regulations pertaining to a cycles of pesticide application.

“The ITHMP has defined a list of 29 pesticide active ingredients that could be applied from one to six times a year,” the report states, referencing the integrated turf health management plan for the proposed golf course. “Such an extensive list coupled with no restrictions on application frequency or total amount applied per year is not severely restricted,” it said, arguing that it should be severely restricted.

This week, Mr. Hissey said his staff are reviewing the notes from the two reports, and they will start working to correct the problems. Mr. Hissey said he wants to have the DEIS resubmitted to the Southampton Town Board as soon as possible, but that there is no deadline imposed by the Town Board.

The applicants will have time to review the reports and refile the DEIS report. According to Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, it is not uncommon for a DEIS to be rejected at least once, and the rejection will not affect the future of the project if the corrections are made.

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"That report, which tallies 333 pages, was submitted to the Town Board on December 21 to be reviewed by the board, AKRF, and Dr. Chris Gobler, an East Quogue resident and professor at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences."

Wait, WHAT? The Town of Southampton hired Dr. Gobler to review this document and provide input to the Town? The SAME Dr. Gobler who has on numerous occasions voiced his opposition to this project and stated that it will have a negative ...more
Feb 5, 16 7:48 PM appended by Nature
How is it "devoid of fact"?
By Nature (2952), Southampton on Feb 4, 16 7:48 PM
I recall Dr. Gobler volunteering of his own accord and is unpaid in whatever capacity he may provide.
By Mr. Z (9143), North Sea on Feb 5, 16 6:12 AM
Let's hope so. The press should REALLY clarify that point. Mr. Gobler, if not a paid consultant, has the same power as any other citizen - his "review" shouldn't even be referenced.
By Nature (2952), Southampton on Feb 5, 16 9:18 AM
... your post is totally devoid of fact. You should admit that and the 27East people should remove it.
By William Rodney (446), southampton on Feb 5, 16 11:22 AM
Can we get 27East to remove posts that are devoid of fact? That would keep them pretty busy. ;-)
By SportsMom (15), Quogue on Feb 5, 16 12:18 PM
Save the hills. Enough. Stop developing beautiful landscapes and vistas.
By rvs (70), sag harbor on Feb 5, 16 1:07 AM
Did Discovery Land Company just hire Peter Minuit to over-see Mr. Hissey in his negotiations with the new Town Board?

Do they really think Southampton Town will accept $24 worth of "community benefits" for this CHANGE OF ZONE?

Who's going to play the lead part now that Groucho is gone? I know - Bob Dylan.



By FiddlerCrab (89), Westhampton Beach on Feb 5, 16 11:18 PM
It's only a matter of time. Pay off who needs to be paid off and let's play golf already.
By nytractor (14), hampton bays on Feb 6, 16 11:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
Lets pay 250 bucks to play a 5.5 hour round of gimmick golf jammed into 170 acres .. yeah enjoy the vista of cluster homes and hipsters parking their rovers. .. ha ha goodbyhing u have a rover to be insulated from the elements ...how far do we have to drive to find the nearest starbucks
By dave h (173), calverton on Feb 6, 16 11:57 AM
How much did the town pay for an incomplete study?
By GoldenBoy (314), EastEnd on Feb 7, 16 11:43 AM
1 member liked this comment
The applicant PAYS the Town...
By Nature (2952), Southampton on Feb 8, 16 8:07 PM
Are SHT taxpayers going to pay again for the two private firms to review the revised DEIS report? If so, applicant should be made to pay them since the developer submitted a incomplete environmental review study.
By crusader (363), East Quogue on Feb 10, 16 11:47 AM
The appilicant pays the town? What town do you live in? If the applicant paid the town it would be done and over with. But the reason not being is because the leaders in town hall haven't got their pockets full of money that they want. When will the town of Southampton voters wake up. You domalished a VFW. Total disgrace. Just a sign these people in charge could care less. When will the young locals be able to live around the town of Southampton. Never because the way the town has been the last ...more
By islander6615 (133), hampton bays on Feb 11, 16 2:54 PM
Remnants, rolls, area rugs