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Oct 21, 2014 6:38 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Developer Files Updated Application For East Quogue Subdivision, Golf Course

Oct 22, 2014 10:10 AM

The developers looking to build 118 homes and an 18-hole golf course in East Quogue, on one of the largest remaining undeveloped tracts of land on the East End, submitted a revised application to the Southampton Town Planning Department late Tuesday afternoon.

Though a copy of the document was not immediately available for review, Mark Hissey, senior vice president of Discovery Land Company, the Arizona firm behind the proposal, said Monday that the main difference between the revised application and pre-application is that his firm has all but closed on the purchase of an additional 156 acres. He explained that the current plan is to preserve those two properties—94 acres that are now owned by the Parlatto family, and another 62 acres still under the ownership of the Kracke family—while eventually transferring their development rights to Discovery’s main 436-acre lot.

With those pending purchases now in place, the company is requesting that it be allowed to transfer the development rights from those two parcels—which could yield up to 36 single-family homes combined—to its main property, permitting the construction of 118 luxury homes total, up from the 82 that it had originally pitched. The deal for the additional 156 acres, however, is contingent on the Southampton Town Board approving Discovery’s application for a proposed Mixed-Use Planned Development District.

“We’ve got everything lined up for the purchase if the approval happens,” Mr. Hissey said on Tuesday, declining to say how much the company is spending on the two acquisitions.

The pre-application for the project, dubbed The Hills at Southampton, called for the construction of only 82 single-family houses on 436 acres that sit north of Montauk Highway, between Lewis and Spinney roads, and continuing north across Sunrise Highway. The Southampton Town Board approved the pre-application 4-1, with Councilwoman Bridget Fleming casting the only opposing vote.

The revised plan, according to Mr. Hissey, notes that Discovery plans to purchase 94 acres that are located about half a mile east of The Hills property and were once part of the proposed Atlanticville subdivision, as well as 62 acres that sit to the west of their larger property.

The revision is no surprise to those who have been following the application, as representatives of the company announced during a community meeting in February that it had intended to revamp its application and build another 36 homes. Discovery officials say they still want to cluster the 118 homes on about 20 percent of the 436-acre property, while the 156 acres will be designated as open space and should be considered a community benefit under the town’s updated PDD guidelines.

The town’s Planning Department is expected to pass along the revised application to the Southampton Town Board, which will review the document and schedule public hearings.

On Monday, Mr. Hissey noted that 10 of the residential units will not be free-standing homes; instead, they will be part of the proposed clubhouse that would be built on the property. Plans also call for the construction of a maintenance building.

Even before learning that a revised application had been filed with Town Hall, many East Quogue residents said they were still concerned about the project’s potential impact on the environment and community. In fact, organizers of the annual East Quogue Civic Association meeting spent most of Saturday’s meeting, held inside the East Quogue Elementary School, discussing the potential impact of The Hills of Southampton and urged residents to voice their concerns before the Town Board.

“Remember, the PDD is an option for the town,” Robert DeLuca, president of the Group for the East End, told those gathered in the school cafeteria Saturday morning. “The Town Board can say no.”

Mr. DeLuca explained that developing the property “as of right” would permit the construction of only 82 single-family homes and not the accompanying golf course. The land is residentially zoned and up to one home can be built on every 5 acres.

“The zoning was set for the very reason we’re all worried about,” he added. “We need to look at alternatives to this project.”

Discovery representatives were not invited to attend the meeting, according to Mr. Hissey.

Dr. Chris Gobler, a professor at the Stony Brook University School of Atmospheric and Marine Sciences and an East Quogue resident, addressed the project’s potential environmental impacts on Saturday. He told those in attendance that his main concerns focus on the potential risk to drinking water supplies, potential damage to nearby Shinnecock Bay and the risks to human health.

He noted that Discovery has not yet laid out plans for its proposed septic systems, which are expected to increase nitrogen levels in drinking water supplies. He noted that he’s already detected elevated nitrogen levels in a private well on Spinney Road, near where the homes and golf course would be built.

Dr. Gobler also said that permitting the construction of an 18-hole golf course and 118 homes will only increase the amount of nitrogen entering the water supply.

On Monday, Mr. Hissey said both he and his team are working to make sure the most environmentally sound septic systems will be used for the project. “We’re making a commitment to use the most state-of-the-art septic systems on the property,” he said. “We want to be an example for everybody wanting to protect water quality.”

Mr. Hissey also pointed out that those who purchase their luxury homes will be utilizing them only for the summer months, as they are designed to be second and third homes. Therefore, those who buy them will not be sending their children to the East Quogue School District. The district, in turn, would still benefit from anticipated tax revenue from the golf course and subdivision. Previously, Discovery had estimated that the development would generate an additional $3.6 million in annual taxes.

“Everybody has to tell the Town Board what they think,” said Donna Lanzetta, a hamlet resident and president of the East Quogue Chamber of Commerce. “If it’s developed as of right, you won’t get the covenants. I think it’s very important to consider [that] while we continue to do more to repair the existing damage to the bays.”

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good plan vote yes
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Oct 22, 14 9:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
118 homes .. wouldn't it be cheaper to transport one of those defaulted towers from atlantic city by boat
By david h (403), southampton on Oct 22, 14 9:52 AM
It will be a net positive for the school district with 118 upper class people spending money in East Quoque and using no services.
By chief1 (2325), southampton on Oct 22, 14 5:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'm sure your taxes will immediately go down... /sarcasm.
By Nature (2952), Southampton on Oct 23, 14 2:14 PM
We have to look past short term revenue possibilities and recognize that what makes east quogue and neighboring towns special is a lack of development. A continuing surge of development will only have negative long term impact,
and will ruin sustainable sources of revenue for future generations.
By LukeJurow (1), on Oct 23, 14 1:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
Luke has arrived - we can close the gates now.
By VOS (987), WHB on Oct 24, 14 12:39 AM
"Discovery representatives were not invited to attend the meeting..." sure sounds like a balanced presentation, now doesn't it?
By Lion (219), southampton on Oct 23, 14 4:51 PM
Is that so more city slickers can move out there and pollute the area even more than it is now?
By George G Ketner (2), Altoona on Oct 24, 14 12:19 AM
This development is not acceptable! A solid "NO" from a East Quogue resident.
By crusader (368), East Quogue on Oct 28, 14 6:50 PM
vote yes to anything involving golf
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Oct 28, 14 9:59 PM
how do you spell pollution, POISON!
Keep it all across the Canal, to the East.
By Ibill (47), remsenburg on Oct 30, 14 4:15 PM
Sparkling Pools, Hot Tubs, repairs, construction, new, used