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Nov 27, 2017 2:59 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Vote On The Hills On December 5 Is Likely Just The Beginning Of A New Phase In Project's Debate

Mark Hissey at The Hills site in East Quogue.  DANA SHAW
Nov 27, 2017 4:01 PM

When he first arrived in the United States from his native Wales, to attend Harvard University, Mark Hissey remembers playing a lot of poker with his college friends—sometimes in 30-hour stretches.

His gambling days are over, he says, and there’s no sign of a “tell” to suggest he’s bluffing when he ups the ante in his battle with Southampton Town.

“We will take every legal means possible to go after the town for damages caused to us,” the stern-faced vice president of Arizona-based Discovery Land Company said in a recent interview, referring to next week’s pending vote on its proposed golf resort development, “The Hills at Southampton.” The plan requires four Southampton Town Board members to support the final planned development district to be considered at Town Hall, and it appears destined to come up short.

Mr. Hissey has been the face of the project locally since it was first pitched to the public in 2013, and that face frowns more than smiles lately when discussing the application process for The Hills—especially with the PDD vote pending and looking more and more like a fait accompli.

“I think, frankly, it’s astonishing what happened,” he said, looking down the barrel of a likely 3-2 vote on December 5, one vote shy of the super-majority required for the PDD. “I was assured two years ago that we were going to get a fair shake. … It was all going to be done in good faith. Clearly, it wasn’t.”

The Town Board, he said, “using any criteria you want to look at, doesn’t have a leg to stand on” in its rejection of the PDD application, he said, calling the pending vote “purely political.”

Beyond the threat of legal action, there are numerous other paths that Discovery Land could take moving forward—more cards to play, and a commitment to playing them. They are, as the poker term suggests, “pot committed.”

It could be tempting to see the December 5 vote as the beginning of the end for The Hills. More likely, it’s just the end of the beginning.

A Political Process

At least two people agree with Mr. Hissey that the PDD vote next week is too deeply rooted in politics.

“We have forced them into a political process,” Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said over breakfast at Sip ‘N’ Soda one morning in mid-November. “We have put them in front of an elected board, not a planning board.”

He was referring to the PDD process, created by the Town Board in 1995 and modified over the years. It gave the board sweeping new powers to establish special zoning districts that supersede existing restrictions on a property’s development—if there is a tangible public benefit in doing so.

The law left the interpretation of “public benefit” to the Town Board, on a case-by-case basis. At times, eyebrows were raised when developers cut checks to the town as a “benefit.” Eventually, town officials took a closer look at the law and, earlier this year, scratched it from the books, worried about the appearance that, as Town Attorney James Burke put it, developers were able to “buy” the zoning they wanted.

Mr. Schneiderman noted that he inherited the PDD application from Discovery Land when he became supervisor. “The prior board voted to consider—they gave me an assignment. They handed me an assignment. And so now I’m doing my assignment.”

He continued: “I don’t want this assignment. I don’t want it. We got rid of the PDD law so that the Town Board never has to do this again. Look at what this has done to the community. Do I want a happy ending? I would love to see a happy ending. ... I would rather come together with something everybody can live with.”

The process, he noted, has become political because it is before the elected Town Board. “The only way for them to build their golf course is to engage in front of a political body, and they need four votes. ...You invite this kind of politics,” he said.

A complicating factor: Mr. Schneiderman is ready to vote in favor of the PDD for The Hills. The two “no” votes, which will sink it, are from his own Democratic colleagues on the board: Julie Lofstad and John Bouvier.

“They’re part of my team,” Mr. Schneiderman acknowledged. “I’m not ... I can’t fully articulate their concerns. I’ve asked, ‘Is it too many units?’ Because we can reduce the number of units. I’ve asked, Is it the pesticides? I can put more restrictions on the pesticides. Is it this exclusivity?”

He added, “The no vote is the easy vote. It doesn’t take much of an explanation. The yes vote, it takes me an hour to explain my position.”

The supervisor said he’s talked with his colleagues, trying to find a way to address their issues with Discovery Land’s application. “John seems to be concerned about 20 years from now and keeping an eye on the place long after he’s not on the board,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “And Julie has said she doesn’t think we should be building golf courses over the aquifer.”

Bob DeLuca, president and CEO of the Group for the East End, also agrees with Mr. Hissey’s assessment that the process has been “highly politicized” and even terms what has happened “a free-for-all.”

He added, “The more politicized you make a decision, for better or worse, the more it looks like this.”

Despite the likely outcome of the December 5 vote, Mr. Schneiderman said it will be held. Until then, he hasn’t given up on finding a compromise. He has said he might want to add public access to the proposed golf course—perhaps 20 percent of the tee times set aside for Southampton Town residents—and has pitched an organic approach to the management of fairways. Mr. Hissey said last week that he’d be willing to discuss any of the ideas, prior to next week’s vote.

But Mr. Schneiderman is realistic about the outcome: “I feel like people are fairly entrenched in their positions.”

Preservation: Off The Table

Mr. Hissey, likewise, has no illusions about December 5, though he allows, “Until the vote happens, we’re still open. We can hope for the best.”

But he says, firmly, “We will have golf. We will have golf.”

He would not tip his hand regarding the specifics of a pending lawsuit, but he made clear that a legal challenge will be the first step in Discovery Land’s strategy going forward to build its proposed luxury housing development and golf course on the 600-plus-acre property off Spinney Road in East Quogue.

He noted that while the town dropped the PDD law from its books, Discovery Land’s application must be considered under the terms of that law. “If you want to get rid of the law, fine. But you have to treat everyone fairly who has been grandfathered,” he said.

Again, it’s a point on which the town supervisor agrees: “Are we punishing them because we hate the law? Or because we hate the project?” Mr. Schneiderman said.

Mr. Hissey notes that Discovery Land actually was lured to town by the promise offered by a study that recommended a golf course development at the site. David Becker, who had purchased an adjacent property in 2005 and proposed a golf course there, knew a partner in Discovery Land and informed him of the property in East Quogue where a resort was the use envisioned by the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

Mr. Becker’s proposal, The Links, was on a site that the town purchased and preserved via the Community Preservation Fund. And while the town and Suffolk County had pursued a purchase of the property via the CPF in the past, Mr. Hissey said preservation of the land, which has been held by Discovery Land since 2011, is off the table—the company is not a willing seller.

“A million percent, this property is going to be developed,” he said.

There are other potential outcomes after the December 5 vote. Last week, Mr. Schneiderman noted that the town attorney will ask the Zoning Board of Appeals for an opinion about a possible post-PDD path for Discovery Land. The ZBA will be asked to review the town code in two key spots to see if either offers a path to a golf course that doesn’t involve a PDD.

The first would be a simple change of zone on a portion of the property, to an “open space conservation and park district,” an option on the books that allows various recreational uses—specifically including a golf course. That would reduce the developable land for houses, but it could mean a simple majority vote of 3-2 to approve the change of zone.

One complication to that option is the election of Democrat Tommy John Schiavoni to the Town Board. He will take his seat in January, replacing Republican Stan Glinka, and give Mr. Bouvier and Ms. Lofstad a third vote of opposition to The Hills—though his campaign comments focused solely on the PDD proposal.

Another option, if the ZBA agrees, is for the golf course to be added to the residential development solely as a recreational facility for its residents—not as a private golf club that could sell memberships. Such a use may be allowed by the Planning Board, although it would have discretion to decide. Discovery Land officials haven’t commented on whether that would be something they’d consider.

A ‘Kick In The Teeth’

Mr. Schneiderman noted that a lawsuit against the town could focus on the fact that the town has not banned golf courses—but neither has it put in place a clear path for a developer to create one, other than the PDD.

In the past, there have been uses the Town Board has decided to try to block, such as the move in the early 2000s to eliminate troublesome nightclubs by amortizing them out of existence. But Mr. Schneiderman noted that the town completed a comprehensive study first, then took decisive action—something it has never done with golf courses.

“That may be a conversation we need to have at some point,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “… I’ve said to other Town Board members, there’s no pathway to a golf course. We have to decide whether that’s our intention. Is that our intention—to outlaw golf courses? Or are we going to create standards? The standards can be as tough as you want. … But I’m not sure you can just simply say no.”

“Golf courses have never been seen as negative uses,” he said. “There’s never been an affirmative decision to outlaw them.” In fact, he added, they are “part of what makes the area attractive—beautiful golf courses.”

Likewise, Mr. Hissey—who was a consultant for the last golf course created in the town, the Sebonack Golf Club in Shinnecock Hills—noted that Southampton is “one of the greatest golf communities in the world,” which is a reason Discovery Land targeted the East Quogue site.

With his work on Sebonack, and his background in the environmental community—he served as a board member for the Group for the East End for six years—Mr. Hissey said he expected his reputation to gain him some affability from that community as he pitched The Hills and willingly worked to reduce its enviromental impact.

“What I got instead,” he says, “was a kick in the teeth.”

He doesn’t hide the fact that he takes that snub personally. “They know where my motives lie,” he said of some opponents of the project, including Mr. DeLuca. When Dr. Christopher Gobler, at Mr. Schneiderman’s behest, delivered a study showing the proposal as introducing less nitrogen into the water table than other development options, he believed it was “further evidence that what I’m doing is the right thing.” Instead, he says, opponents have characterized Discovery Land as “a demonic entity.”

But Mr. DeLuca remains skeptical of the project’s pro-environment pitch—“There are just too many variables”—and notes major differences between Sebonack, which was a site that was being actively polluted by leaking storage tanks from an earlier development, and The Hills.

He also was critical of Discovery Land’s decision to actively explore the politics of the situation by taking out advertisements explicitly attacking Ms. Lofstad in particular, adding ruefully, “Not only did they get Julie reelected, they got Tommy John elected. Genius.”

He says he worries that if the project is approved, in the end, it will suggest a path forward for other developers, who will use similar tactics and perhaps even more aggressive strategies. “If you don’t do this,” he said of the December 5 vote that seems destined to go against The Hills, “you’ll roll every other project in. That’s what happens.”

‘Loud And Clear’

Jay Schneiderman will vote in favor of the PDD on December 5. Ms. Lofstad and Mr. Bouvier have said they will vote no, though neither has been willing to expand much on that position.

The supervisor said he believes Discovery Land has been a reasonable partner in trying to find a way forward that everyone can support. “I worked really hard with this developer. I’ve never seen a developer more willing to make changes to a proposal,” he said. Mr. Schneiderman noted that several of the “benefits” added to the proposal, including the purchase of more environmentally sensitive lands to preserve and the purchase of Pine Barrens credits to retire, were suggested by him, and Discovery Land agreed.

The supervisor continues to work for a Hail Mary to win the necessary fourth vote on December 5. “I know I’m going to be criticized for supporting this PDD,” he said. “I’m going to do what I’ve done all along, which is go out of my way to try to make it the best proposal I can. Whether it goes forward or not.”

He suggested that the expected 3-2 vote will end the PDD process—for good. But, he notes, that also could mean the end of the “public benefits” discussion. The Hills simply could become another proposal before the town’s regulatory boards, with no Town Board vote even needed, and no special oversight permitted. With a PDD, he said, “we have more control than if they did a subdivision. Subdivision, I don’t think we have any control.”

“I would not vote for something that I thought was the worst environmental decision,” he said. “I have a choice between two zoning alternatives? I’m going to pick the one I think that’s better for the environment. ... I’m going to vote with the environment in mind.”

Should Discovery Land file a lawsuit, Mr. Schneiderman vowed to defend whatever decision the board makes on December 5. “Could a judge reverse it? I think it’s unlikely,” he added. “This is not arbitrary. I think the decision will hold up.”

Nevertheless, he still supports The Hills as proposed, at least until December 5—and believes others do, too.

“I haven’t seen a large-scale development project that had public support in general, at all, or very little. This one has significant. And that hasn’t gone unnoticed by me,” he said.

“I listened to what the public had to say … People spoke pretty loud and clear. I’d say most people who spoke supported it. A lot of people from the East Quogue community want this. They think it’s going to help downtown, they think it’s going to help lower property taxes. I think it’ll help raise property values, create jobs.”

Regardless, he says, December 5 is not likely to be the end of the debate: “I don’t believe they’re taking their marbles and going away.”

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[Hissey] says, firmly, “We will have golf. We will have golf.”

I'm as pro-Hills as anyone, but this is how he wants it? Then F...orget this guy.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (675), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 27, 17 3:22 PM
Should have taken the CPF money and run years ago.
By Mr. Z (9527), North Sea on Nov 27, 17 7:26 PM
What's one more nail in the coffin of the once beautiful east end?
By country joe (11), sag harbor on Nov 27, 17 3:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
The Discovery Land Company knew what they were getting in when they bought the property. Mr Hissey wants to change the existing zoning to put in his golf course. Politics..........Mr Hissey has been a player himself. No, most people in East Quogue do not want the golf course.....unless of course you count those in EQ who will personally benefit from "The Hills."
By crusader (371), East Quogue on Nov 27, 17 4:24 PM
Which "most people" is that? Are you talking about the phantom people that the EQCA and other organizations act as if they represent? This process has been derailed by politics. Now EQ and HB will pay the price for the sins of others just for votes. The elite will be more than happy to keep these areas down. I was not a Hills fan until I saw what this has become.
By HB Proud (781), Hampton Bays on Nov 27, 17 4:58 PM
2 members liked this comment
Why would you buy a piece of land and ask for changes of zones and variances and try to be called a GOOD NEIGHBOR???
Buy the land and build what it is zoned for. Jay is a con artist trying to continue his political career.
The late filing was a ploy for JAY to get by before the elections. Just politics, Jay going to buy a house or membership, discounted?????????
By knitter (898), Southampton on Nov 27, 17 9:20 PM
The entire purpose of planned development districts that seem to work in many other locations when managed by effective leadership is to provide a better alternative that the zoning in place. It is only in dysfunctional Southampton that this seems not to work. The leadership of the Town has destroyed the business community in Hampton Bays by being the Town of NO. The failure of this project and potentially the rejection of the extension of the permit for the CPI PDD is the nail in the coffin for ...more
By HB Proud (781), Hampton Bays on Nov 27, 17 10:02 PM
2 members liked this comment
According to this article, Mark Hissey stated.. I was assured two years ago - TWO YEARS AGO - we were going to get a fair shake - ISN'T THAT AN OPEN TOWN BPARD VOTE? It was all going to be done in good faith. I wonder what Hissey promised JAY SCHNEIDERMAN? Maybe it is time for the US Attorney, for the Eastern District to look into what was promised to whom for what?
By SpeedRacer (71), Southampton on Nov 27, 17 10:08 PM
2 members liked this comment
There are plenty of things in this administration that should be investigated starting with the development of Good Ground Park just in time for Anna's run for Congress, new positions, salaries, raises, contract negotiations, etc. Jay Schneiderman seems to be made of Teflon, but one day it will stick. This project turned into a pawn in a political game instead of being evaluated solely as a project. Anyone that has followed it, should be disgusted.
By HB Proud (781), Hampton Bays on Nov 27, 17 10:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
I agree...our supervisor is less than ethical. Bring in the US Attorney. Let's find out why Jay is schilling for Discovery and what it cost besides our clean water and our environment.
By zappy (46), east quogue on Nov 28, 17 8:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
I don't understand...are you saying that there is ZERO non-criminal rationale for supporting The Hills?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (675), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 28, 17 10:33 AM
Oh yeah, how unreasonable! Why should anyone "get a fair shake?" That's outrageous! Having the board act in good faith, out in the open? What a concept! Stop the presses, break out the wiretaps.

In reality there should be an investigation of those members of the board who refuse to address the evidence and refuse to answer to the people. Who is silencing them? Who is pulling their strings?
By VOS (1011), WHB on Nov 28, 17 6:23 PM
There is no GUARANTEE implied or stated , that an applicant will get a change of zoning, THE END. It's obvious that Jay is nothing more than a PAID SHILL for Hissey and company. As for the lawsuit, bring it on, hopefully the Town will counter sue for all costs incurred defending against this frivolous waste of time.
By bigfresh (3029), north sea on Nov 28, 17 7:11 AM
2 members liked this comment
To paraphrase the great Tom Cruise in the epic film Tropic Thunder : "A nut-less monkey could do Jay Schnoodelman's job".
("You have to excuse me if I mispronounced your name !!!")
By pw herman (727), southampton on Nov 28, 17 8:35 AM
Listen to Mark Hissey: “We will have golf. We will have golf.” Sounds like a willful child — “I will have cake. I will have cake.”

Grow up, Mr. Hissey. Stop acting like a kid not getting his cake. You’re a big boy, you and Discovery knew what you were getting into when you bought this land. You knew, or should have known, there were no guarantees. Sometimes you just have to take your lumps and get off the playground. Stop whining.

Mr. Schneiderman, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1762), Quiogue on Nov 28, 17 10:23 AM
To paraphrase Turkey Bridge: "if you ever find yourself in a hole, it would be wise to stop digging"
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (675), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 28, 17 10:35 AM
We should have golf. Who says? The people have said we should have golf and we should have it precisely where Discovery wants to put it.

The comprehensive plan calls for golf in East Quogue; the comprehensive plan that understood the ecology of the area, the comprehensive plan that was prepared with the input of the people and adopted with the consent of the people. The comprehensive plan which was updated and approved and continues to call for golf in East Quogue. The same comprehensive ...more
By VOS (1011), WHB on Nov 28, 17 6:42 PM
Is this PR piece supposed to make Mark and DLC look good!? Wow...talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

Why was there no mention of Mark's prolific internet commenting strategy, this work should be highlighted as well.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (424), southampton on Nov 28, 17 10:45 AM
DLC knew the PDD vote was by town board and not planning dept. They took their chances and lost. Grow up.
By Taz (316), East Quogue on Nov 28, 17 11:38 AM
1 member liked this comment
I think DLC has an argument that previous standards of the PPD law are not being applied here, but the now-repealed standards were inherently problematic. That's why they were repealed.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (675), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 28, 17 12:13 PM
Julie doesn't think a golf course should be built over the aquifer. Wow. Someone needs to explain to her that every square inch of land on LI is over the aquifer. Including her house. And every other house. And road. And golf course. And landfill. And school...Many of which are far more detrimental to the aquifer (Julie, that's the wet, saturated soil beneath the dry soil - it's not a pocket or pool of water under The Hills) than a golf course that is built sustainably and is highly regulated and ...more
By getalife (55), Southampton on Nov 28, 17 11:40 AM
3 members liked this comment
getalife ... You are such a chauvinist. Julie is an engineer by education and professional career. She also showed all of us, by her courageous stand, in a room full of DLC's workmen, how one stands up to bullies.

GET A LIFE..in the 21st century getalife!

By SpeedRacer (71), Southampton on Nov 28, 17 12:25 PM
While everything is built atop an aquifer - there are only select areas which are deep recharge zones. The Pine barrens is one such area - a house on the bay or ocean does not contribute nitrogen to the aquifer. A golf course in the Pine Barrens does.
By Nature (2963), Southampton on Nov 28, 17 2:59 PM
Nature- so the Town plan for innovative wastewater systems to replace aging septic systems (reportedly contributing nitrogen to the Bays and creeks) located in high priority target zones, all located along the waterfront properties, is simply a wasted effort?
By Lion (260), southampton on Nov 29, 17 5:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
Gobler's statements have a lot of IFs, science is not proven.Question pro board members for their motivations to trust an experiment over our aquifer. In the pine barrens, no less. Each board member has their a to their vote without having to explain themselves. SInce when is that a procedure on town votes?
By Taz (316), East Quogue on Nov 28, 17 12:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
Should be each board member has a right to their vote.....
By Taz (316), East Quogue on Nov 28, 17 12:18 PM
Someone should explain to Mr. Hissey (slowly, to be sure he understands) that a Change of Zone is at the Board's discretion. Frankly, they don't even have to give a reason to say "no".

If you care about the environment, preservation is the ultimate answer. You can't talk out of both sides of your mouth. It's clear you are doing what DLC is paying you for - I won't blame you for that. But insisting there will be golf and that preservation is never going to happen, well.... I don't see ...more
By Nature (2963), Southampton on Nov 28, 17 12:19 PM
2 members liked this comment
Yep - you have the right to apply and that's pretty much it. "There will be golf. There will be golf" is an insult to the town board, and pretty much everyone that lives here.
By Craigcat (187), Speonk on Nov 28, 17 3:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
To everyone who is deeply disturbed by Jay Schneiderman's actions. let this outrage reach the ears of the legal community and law enforcement to investigate WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING- not only regarding The Hills, but also Good Ground Park.

THE TOWN OF SOUTHAMPTON DESERVES BETTER !
By HamptonClassic (43), Southampton on Nov 28, 17 12:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
SpeedRacer - that's the most ignorant and comical response to my comment that I could possibly imagine. I feel badly for you.
Nature - I'm disappointed in you. The aquifer is very much beneath properties on the bay and ocean. In fact, it's much more suceptible to contamination than in areas where there is more separation to groundwater, like higher elevations along the moraine. Waterfront properties are factually far greater contributors to groundwater and surface water contamination due to ...more
By getalife (55), Southampton on Nov 28, 17 3:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
To getalife and Lion's comment above:

It seems as though you are both conflating issues. There are two major concerns at play with nitrogen pollutants on Long Island from sanitary systems and runoff.

The first is the impacts to our aquifers (often simply referred to as "groundwater"). The Pine Barrens is a region of DEEP RECHARGE where any drop of water that falls (or is pumped into the ground via a sanitary system) goes straight down into he aquifer where we get our drinking ...more
By Nature (2963), Southampton on Nov 29, 17 9:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
Nature, not sure where you got your training in soils and hydrogeology but every drop that falls does not go “straight down” in a deep recharge area. Via evapotranspiration approximately 50% of applied water (precipitation or irrigation) is not recharged, but taken up by plants or returned to the atmosphere through evaporation. Based on soil types, the field capacity of soils (depending on soil characteristics determined by USDA taxonomic description) can and does “perch” ...more
By Lion (260), southampton on Dec 1, 17 6:39 AM
It was a simplification to break it down into terms that any lay person can understand. I'm keenly aware of perched systems, the impact of soil types, clay lenses, lateral and vertical movements, the draw of groundwater into riverine systems over decades, etc.

The point I'm making is that this project directly impacts our aquifer. Housing along the shoreline does not.
By Nature (2963), Southampton on Dec 1, 17 9:24 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By bb (743), Hampton Bays on Dec 1, 17 3:23 PM
So a golf course's water is worse for our aquifer than regular houses? Just trying to understand, not trying to argue.
By bb (743), Hampton Bays on Dec 1, 17 3:23 PM
OK, here's The One Unanswered Argument --- start with the fact that we have a whole lot of people working in real estate in and around Southampton Town, right? Hold that thought, it's important.

All kinds of arguments have been offered on both sides of this debate. We who oppose The Hills have raised many arguments, and there's been some attempt at a response to just about all of them by the other side. They're not very good attempts, but at least the Hills people have tried.

But ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1762), Quiogue on Nov 28, 17 9:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
I agree to an extent, but would exercise caution. Land is a scarce resource on Long Island, and I have watched farms turn into developments very quickly. The restrictive zoning on The Hills site may create a scenario where a developer's risk outweighs the reward in terms of actually selling the homes. That said, markets change and the scarcity of land won't get any better, so the notion that something wont eventually be built there is dicey. Building 130 McMansions all at once would be a fools play. ...more
By Craigcat (187), Speonk on Nov 29, 17 8:48 AM
Once a build plan is approved the land becomes much more valuable, and someone will be willing to wager on it.

I don't share fears of an influx of students into the school district, since the people buying wouldn't be full-time residents but people seeking a vacation home in the Hamptons.

Let's not act like there isn't a plethora of multi-million dollar homes sitting empty 8 months out of the year.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (675), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 29, 17 8:53 AM
I agree 100% on the school impact. Lion could legitimately question that and ask for evidence. The only evidence to offer is an analysis based on common sense. I think Turkey Bridge's post offers a lot of common sense.
By Craigcat (187), Speonk on Nov 29, 17 10:11 AM
In the absence of a professional analysis demonstrating that there ISN"T a market for as-of-right development, I think it's just as likely that locals want to avoid putting their spoon into this polarized porridge for fear that people who disagree strongly may cause them economic harm.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (675), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 29, 17 10:22 AM
Funny how opponents like Mr. DeLuca use the “too many variables” crutch without identifying the specifics: like the models used, input factors, it’s range of deviation from the mean and degree of significance with respect to the thresholds for overall scientific application, environmental impact and/or PDD compliance. A second observation is the use of the opposition’s “assumptions” and their Willy-nilly blind acceptance without credible supporting evidence. A ...more
By Lion (260), southampton on Nov 29, 17 6:13 AM
Lion - I'm not baiting you or trying to discredit you in any way. I read many of your posts with an open mind. It certainly sounds like you either work for, or have something to gain from the Hills PDD passing. If you do, I think it would be fair to publicly state it. Please forgive me if you have already.
By Craigcat (187), Speonk on Nov 29, 17 8:39 AM
You should be more precise: are you asking if he's a paid lobbyist?

I think the pro-Hills folks (myself among them, until Hissey threw a Hissey-fit) argue that WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING TO GAIN, that's the whole point.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (675), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 29, 17 8:45 AM
But that wasn't my point, nor was the question directed at you. We know Turkey Bridge is against The Hills and has no vested interest in the success of the project. In fairness, it would be nice to know if and how Lion is connected to The Hills.
By Craigcat (187), Speonk on Nov 29, 17 8:53 AM
That's a better question, though the only guarantee we have that TB doesn't have anything to gain from the failure of The Hills is his word.

So what of it, Lion?

What is the nature and extent of your relationship to The Hills, if any?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (675), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 29, 17 9:07 AM
I'll take him at his word, as I will take Lion at his. If you have to lie, then you have no argument.
By Craigcat (187), Speonk on Nov 29, 17 10:05 AM
And, of course, we can infer whatever we choose from a failure to respond...still waiting on you, Lion.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (675), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 29, 17 10:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
Lots and lot of words. Here's some more: if Town residents want Discovery Land of Arizona to build a golf course over our water supply we would have voted for it. Instead we elected Ms. LOFSTAD by an overwhelming majority. Sorry that doesn't work for you Mr. HISSEY but them's the breaks.
By dfree (326), hampton bays on Nov 29, 17 7:53 AM
2 members liked this comment
And Tommy John S. who publicly stated that he was against The Hills, so there is validity in your statement. I think those outside of EQ look at The Hills application with a lot less emotion. Also important to note that Dick Amper and Bob Deluca have been protecting the environment for a long time, and we have benefited greatly from their efforts. To see them so passionately against The Hills application makes me pause and consider what they have to say. The trench warfare tied to this application ...more
By Craigcat (187), Speonk on Nov 29, 17 8:33 AM
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The people of Southampton Town have voted for a golf course in East Quogue, in fact they voted for two. The comprehensive plan, created with input from the people and passed by referendum calls for not one, but two golf courses in the East Quogue area.

Do not be misled by Turkey Bridge and others who would have you believe there ever was a person elected to office based solely on a single issue, regardless of his motivation in doing so.
By VOS (1011), WHB on Nov 29, 17 3:18 PM
This "comprehensive plan," of which the pro-Hills crowd makes so much, was worked through in its time, but not with anything like the exposure, the depth of review, the protracted proceedings, the popular participation, or the raw passion that The Hills application has engendered. It was a ho-hum thing, ultimately approved by the voters as a proposition on the reverse side of the ballot. (BTW, many voters don't even turn the ballot over to vote on the back side.) To compare the comprehensive ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1762), Quiogue on Nov 29, 17 5:33 PM
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The East Quogue Hamlet Study and attendant GEIS, prepared by The Town Board and Planning Dept was fully vetted and adopted into the Townwide Comprehensive Plan. It is the official planning and zoning tool for the sustainable development of East Quogue and the Town Southampton. The “pro-Hills crowd” you so frequently criticize are the citizens who participated in the community’s plan. Your typical approach of denouncing long term plans because it’s not in sync with your personal ...more
By Lion (260), southampton on Nov 30, 17 11:40 AM
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Well neither Amper or DeLuca live in East Quogue or even in Southampton- nor do they vote here- accept the fact the Hills complies with the Central Pine Barrens law for clearing limits and fertilizer uses in the Compatible Growth Area. It’s also compliant with the Town Comp Plan and recommendations by Cornell for protection of drinking water. Perhaps we can shuffle over to Mr. Ampers place or maybe DeLuca’s out in Southold Town and tell them how to control development in their municipality’s ...more
By Lion (260), southampton on Nov 30, 17 2:32 PM
The Baker's Bay folks claim that DLC's promises and environmental protection measures were misleading and not kept. They went so far as to write a detailed report and "open letter to Southampton residents" urging us to exercise caution when dealing with DLC. Mr. Amper and Mr. DeLuca have been stewards of the environment for a long time, and where they live and vote is of no consequence as they are just doing what they have always done - exercising caution on our behalf. I think these 2 men in particular ...more
Nov 30, 17 3:17 PM appended by Craigcat
"looking out for us..."
By Craigcat (187), Speonk on Nov 30, 17 3:17 PM
I dismiss them for their self serving fund raising events held at golf course facilities on the East End and in Nassau County- I’m not aware there are Suffolk County Central Pine Barrens or East End Environmental issues in Nassau but there’s plenty of money. Please, this Polly Anna cheerleading for these two professional fundraisers is nauseating. Ask Amper what they get for a table at Oheka Castle or maybe a foursome at one of their fundraising golf events. Do you believe either of ...more
By Lion (260), southampton on Dec 1, 17 5:07 AM
So dismiss Amper and DeLuca because they are being paid, and trust Hissey because???
You seem like a sensible person. Why should anyone trust DLC after their conduct here? PDD / As of right / skyscrapers doesn't even matter at this point. DLC's conduct has been awful.
By Craigcat (187), Speonk on Dec 1, 17 1:38 PM
The risk outweighs the “benefit” to the Town
By bigfresh (3029), north sea on Nov 29, 17 1:36 PM
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I am a 30 year resident of East Quogue. Discovery Land project is the better use of this property. Sewage treatment plant for homes, lower nitrogen level from Golf Course, some additional school taxes paid and possible boast to local businesses in our small town. I would ask that people who do not live in East Quogue to cool their rhetoric.
By Jim Sutton (2), East Quogue on Nov 30, 17 11:53 AM
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Welcome to the comment board, Mr. Sutton, but no, it's not just an East Quogue issue. Maybe you haven't been following closely, but the potential surface water effect of The Hills extends far beyond EQ, to the entire Shinnecock Bay system, at least. The potential ground water effect of the project is even wider, extending throughout Southampton Town and beyond that into a large part of Eastern Suffolk County.

The only people who maintain that this is solely an EQ issue are those EQ residents ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1762), Quiogue on Nov 30, 17 10:25 PM
This is not politics, Turkey. When you make charges here you are obliged to substantiate them. Tell us what Discovery did that you characterize as "hoodwinked." Then back up your statement that any here are "victims" of Discovery and spell out what it is that you see as "false promises and false claims."

Finally, explain how it is that this project will "hurt East Quogue and the rest of the town."

Don't bother repeating your baseless claims that the project will contaminate ...more
By VOS (1011), WHB on Dec 1, 17 12:47 AM
VOS, although unknown to each other we can both identify with the unsubstantiated posts by your pal Turkey Bridge. Should this debacle of the Hills review ever wind through the NY Supreme Courts I sure hope Turkey is called up to testify under oath. When an application is before a Zoning Board of Appeals the speakers are sworn in, and comments are taken under oath- it’s a pity this approach wasn’t required by the Town Board for the Hills change of zone/PDD. If it was, the supporters ...more
By Lion (260), southampton on Dec 1, 17 5:26 AM
Lion: you never did comment about whether you hold a personal stake in seeing The Hills passed. Inquiring minds yearn to know.

VOS: This is definitely politics, which is the central issue with the PDD law and why it was repealed in the first place.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (675), HAMPTON BAYS on Dec 1, 17 5:55 AM
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This may have been corrupted into politics but it should have remained what it is, an issue of intelligent land use. Mr. Turkey was the force of that corruption. Months ago he attempted to blatantly make this a Republican/Democrat issue in order for him to collect some uninformed votes from NIMBYs and BANANAs for his hand selected team of mute puppets.

He continues to repeat his false claims of environmental apocalypse while ignoring the very safe scenario described in the EIS and endorsed ...more
By VOS (1011), WHB on Dec 1, 17 2:21 PM
do you realize that you're whining to an internet comments section?
Please oh please, can you and lion type some more useless walls of text here to buoy this forum?
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (424), southampton on Dec 1, 17 3:03 PM
The pollution problem lies with the decades old cesspools of the 50,000 plus people who live in the Town of Southampton. Old cesspools built over the last 30 - 50 years have been leaching waste for years. Combine this with road runoff, detergents, lawn fertilizers, prescription medication and other chemical pollutants that have been dumped in our cesspools. Where does this go? It finds it way to the aquifer and our bays. The Hills have a sewage treatment plant in their plans. They are not the ...more
By Jim Sutton (2), East Quogue on Dec 1, 17 3:58 PM
Mr. Sutton, you still haven't got it. Sure there's been historical abuse of the soil and water (though most of it outside the Spinney Hills), but you don't fix that by adding more. And be assured, The Hills will add more, treatment plant or not. These plants don't remove all the contaminants, so on a net basis, The Hills will increase the total. Compare that with leaving the land alone -- which is probable, since there's no market for the AOR development -- and The Hills looks like just more ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1762), Quiogue on Dec 1, 17 6:52 PM
More unsubstantiated nonsense from the Turkey. Once again, he has failed to support any of his claims; he must be angling for a position in Washington. Simply throwing excreta against the wall hoping some will eventually stick is not a tactic that is working, but it sure makes his political nonsense stink.

There is no record; there are no facts. The claims he refuses to back up have been consolidated just a few posts above, claims he has never answered despite his protests to the contrary. ...more
By VOS (1011), WHB on Dec 2, 17 12:10 AM
Poison, poison, poison. VOS, you spend enough time in a toxic environment and you'll get toxified yourself. Be careful.

That's all I meant to say, but I can't sign off without adverting to one statement by you above: "There is no record . ." How can you say that? As you put it yourself, "two clicks would show" that I've been commenting on The Hills very extensively for a very long time now here on 27east. In addition, it's not hard to turn up my many letters to The Press and my many ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1762), Quiogue on Dec 2, 17 11:29 AM
Your "record" consists of dramatic empty claims. Nothing more. There is no substance. No support of your claims of people "hoodwinked," made "victims," no detail of "false promises and false claims." No facts to back up your ecological disaster scare stories. Precisely what we expect of partisan political hacks.

Unfortunately there are still people who buy into your BS and won't think for themselves. And more unfortunate is that apparently that now includes at least two elected ...more
By VOS (1011), WHB on Dec 2, 17 2:29 PM
Turkey- Actually you have provided nothing but your personal views, often unsubstantiated by any qualified sources, scientific or engineering facts. You’re entitled to post whatever fiction stories you conger up- but your posts and letters are fantasies. It’s tragic how you prey upon those who haven’t the resources or time to fact check your comments for themselves. Most recently are your unqualified postings that any homes in an AOR won’t sell, rendering the site unusable ...more
By Lion (260), southampton on Dec 2, 17 7:20 PM
The irony of this comment, Lion, has me rolling on the floor laughing.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (424), southampton on Dec 3, 17 7:12 AM
VOS and Lion, you guys kill me, you really do. As adlk etc. puts it, irony -- you are the Kings of Irony.

VOS, you really have the gall to talk about "mute puppets"? Seriously? If by that you mean the Democrats on the Town Council, you're flat out wrong. Jay Schneiderman has talked right along about his evolving view on The Hills. It looks as though he may come out at a place different from mine, but he sure hasn't been quiet about it. John Bouvier, Julie Lofstad and Tommy John Schiavoni ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1762), Quiogue on Dec 3, 17 10:53 AM
I explained how your assumptions and predictions on the viability of local real estate had more holes in it than cheap Swiss cheese. If you had a market study completed by a qualified staff and want to offer it up for review - I’d be very curious to read it and review its assumptions and variables. Pretty straight forward request but we both know it doesn’t exist. . Without it your post is pure personal opinion and speculation;those giant clown shoes should fit you nicely.
By Lion (260), southampton on Dec 3, 17 1:21 PM
My political views differ greatly from TB, that being said it's obvious to anyone without a stake in The Hills project that it's just ridiculous and irresponsible to build a golf course and condos on top of our drinking water supply.
By bigfresh (3029), north sea on Dec 4, 17 7:58 AM
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Lion, I admit my position re the market is my opinion. But it's you who's supporting the side that proposes to build the AOR development. As the proponents, it's that side which should be offering a market study to substantiate that there are buyers for the AOR, not I as the opponent. You want to do something there (or you use it as a threat if you don't get the PDD), then you show us it will sell, not the other way around.
By Turkey Bridge (1762), Quiogue on Dec 4, 17 11:22 AM
Turkey, you should have stopped at your first sentence, admitting the “marketing” analysis of the AOR is only your opinion. Second I do not support any side in favor of the AOR- I determined the proposed PDD has less potefor environmental impacts and should be approved.
The Town Board failed to provide other avenues for mixed uses including golf courses when it eliminated the PDD from the code. Thus by default, the AOR (5 acre subdivision residential dwellings) is the only developable ...more
By Lion (260), southampton on Dec 4, 17 5:33 PM
BF, The Pine Barrens Protection Act of 1993 established the Comprehensive Land Use Plan for the Central Pine Barrens. In doing so, it was recognized that there was no need to ban all construction throughout the area and established sections as unbuildable and others as compatible with development. The East Quogue site that Discovery owns is within the compatible growth area.

People with more education, knowledge and understanding of the science involved than you or I have made these ...more
By VOS (1011), WHB on Dec 5, 17 3:49 AM
Turkey, all your empty replies don't add anything to this argument, just as your still unsubstantiated claims add nothing. We're used to that, though from empty political barrels - you make a lot of noise but are full of nothing but air.

Even now, you can't address an issue without drawing your partisan lines. I don't use such terms as Democrats or Republicans because they are not important to the issue. Some day you may remove your head from the sand to understand there are much more ...more
By VOS (1011), WHB on Dec 5, 17 4:02 AM
I was on the fence when The Hills debate began. Golf course or as of right, it's all just managed decay - neither is good, so let's not make pretend that we are doing the environment any favors either way. Through the process, we saw Arizona based, Discovery Land, target a sitting councilwoman, and overtly attempt to influence the outcome of our local election. We've seen them plant their talking points on this site. We debate with people who clearly have a vested interest in a yes vote, though ...more
By Craigcat (187), Speonk on Nov 30, 17 3:54 PM
They lost me at "there will be golf."
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (675), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 30, 17 4:00 PM
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But whether or not they build via a PDD or AOR isn't it the same organization? Unless they sell the land, we end up with them one way or the other. Right?
By bb (743), Hampton Bays on Dec 1, 17 3:24 PM
Yes, and if it is the PDD then we have to trust them to manage it as they promised.
By Craigcat (187), Speonk on Dec 1, 17 4:12 PM
RealEstatemarket cannot support so many homesAOR.PDD guarantees 118 homes,golf course,community bldg w 2 levels of underground parking immediately.
By Taz (316), East Quogue on Dec 1, 17 4:03 PM
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