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May 12, 2017 5:36 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Supervisor Reverses Course, Seeks To Throw Out PDD Law Without Replacing It

Councilman John Bouvier, left, Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and Councilwoman Christine Scalera. AMANDA BERNOCCO
May 17, 2017 11:25 AM

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman’s abrupt decision to kill the municipality’s controversial planned development district law—dropping plans to replace it with a revised and updated version, as he previously suggested—is being hailed as a victory by environmentalists, and as a setback by those representing the construction industry.

If things progress as the supervisor plans, the current year-long moratorium on planned development districts, which is special zoning that requires Town Board approval and permits developers to circumvent established zoning in exchange for community benefits, will be extended by three months. That will give board members additional time to erase the legislation that was written into the town code in 1995 and updated dozens of times since then.

Led by Group for the East End President Robert DeLuca and Long Island Pine Barrens Executive Director Richard Amper, local environmentalists have been pushing for the legislation’s repeal since 2015, charging that it mostly benefits would-be developers by allowing them to greatly increase their potential profits in exchange for minimal community benefits—when the system, they’ve argued, should work the other way.

Their push for repeal hit a fever pitch in response to an application filed by Discovery Land Company of Arizona that is seeking a PDD in order to build a 118-unit luxury development featuring an 18-hole golf course on nearly 600 acres in East Quogue, the largest undeveloped tract of land remaining on the South Fork.

“I would say the announcement comes as welcome news … ” Mr. DeLuca said on Tuesday. “This particular tool isn’t doing what we intended it to.”

Mr. DeLuca, who said he has assisted town officials as they’ve attempted to “do surgery” on the law and improve it over the past decade, explained that the original intent of the PDD law—which, he said, has since been lost—is to provide specific benefits to the community that could not be achieved through traditional zoning, such as the construction of a senior center or hospital.

Mr. Amper agreed with that sentiment, adding that the town failed to define what constitutes a community benefit, allowing the developers to control the conversation and, in turn, retain the power.

“PDDs are ‘Let’s make a deal’ zoning,” Mr. Amper said. “They were intended to be used by the government to allow developers to build what the town needed. But it has turned into a tool for developers to build what they want—whether the land is zoned for it or not.”

The supervisor announced his intention to kill the law less than a day after he called for a special meeting on Thursday, June 1, at 1 p.m., at which he intends to ask his fellow Town Board members to extend the current year-long moratorium on PDDs by another three months.

When reached on Friday afternoon, Mr. Schneiderman explained that they need to extend the moratorium that is set to expire on May 31, because otherwise the door would be open for new PDD applications.

He emphasized that the updated plan is to kill the law and not replace it. He noted that a public hearing will be held on Tuesday, June 13, also starting at 1 p.m. at Town Hall, during which he intends to introduce legislation to have the PDD law removed from the books.

“It just can’t be fixed,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “It’s too problematic of a law. It’s not going to be replaced.

“Since the moratorium, no one was able to ask for a PDD, and I want to keep it that way,” he continued. “If the law is passed, no one would be able to ask for one again. The Hills [at Southampton] would be the last PDD to be considered by the town.”

But not everyone is pleased with that decision.

Mitchell Pally, chief executive officer of the Long Island Builders Institute, an Islandia-based organization that represents contractors and developers, said he was disappointed to hear about the pending fate of the PDD law.

“I was involved when the PDD statute was originally enacted by the town,” Mr. Pally said this week. “We believe it’s a very integral part of making sure that a project meets both the economic and environmental needs of the community, as well as provides community benefits … We still are hopeful they keep the PDDs.”

Mr. Pally pointed out that his organization has spoke in support of several PDDs proposed in Southampton Town over the years, including The Hills.

“We think the statute provides more benefits to the town than not having the statute,” he added. “Unfortunately, what happens is that people don’t like decisions proposed by the Town Board, so they attack the legislation … That is clearly what has happened in the town.”

At last Thursday’s work session, Mr. Schneiderman called for a special meeting on June 1 to discuss extending the moratorium on PDDs though, at the time, he did not say the ultimate goal was to kill the law. In his annual “State of the Town” address given in late April, the supervisor stated that town officials intend to repeal and replace the law, suggesting that they have been making headway in completing modifications to the legislation.

At the same work session last week, Mr. Schneiderman stressed that town officials have been working hard on revising the law, stating that they need some additional time to finalize the proposed changes. “I don’t want anyone to think we’ve waited a year and did nothing,” he said at the meeting.

“It’s been exhausting,” added Town Councilman John Bouvier.

If the board agrees to extend it, the moratorium’s expiration date would be pushed back to September 1—though that end date would be moot if the board agrees to eliminate the law, possibly as early as June 13.

Town Planning and Development Administrator Kyle Collins, who sat on the committee charged with reviewing the PDD law, said the biggest issue the public had with the legislation was that it lacked consistency and predictability—both of which, he stressed, are important qualities for all land use decisions.

“There’s not enough predictability in the PDD process,” Mr. Collins said, flatly.

When reached on Friday afternoon, Town Councilman Stan Glinka said he was surprised to learn that the supervisor wants to eliminate the law. “I was a little shocked … that’s why I’m anxious to have the public hearings and I’m anxious to see what they came up with as a committee.”

When asked if he would support repealing the law, Mr. Glinka said he is reserving his opinion for now. “It’s not a matter of what I think, it’s what everyone else thinks,” he said. “That’s the way I’ve always been. Until we have the hearing, I don’t really know. I know there was some grumblings that were positive and were negative.”

Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera said on Friday that she was unaware of the supervisor’s plans to kill the law, explaining that she did not sit on the committee charged with reviewing the legislation.

“I’m looking forward to them putting forward something,” Ms. Scalera said. “I would have hoped we would have gotten more public hearings prior to this.

“I’m looking forward to the public hearing,” she added. “I’m completely open-mined. If the community doesn’t feel this is something we want, I don’t think we should do it.”

Earlier this year, Mr. Schneiderman said the committee currently reviewing the PDD legislation was leaning toward repealing the current version of the law and replacing it with a new one. In addition to the supervisor, Mr. Bouvier, Mr. Collins, Town Attorney Jim Burke, Assistant Town Attorney Carl Benincasa, and the principal planner for the town’s Department of Land Management, Janice Scherer, also serve on the review panel.

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The Town calls that a "committee" - who picked the committee members - the EQCA and the HBCA? Sorry Councilpersons Scalera and Glinka, this deal was done before it started.
By HB Proud (780), Hampton Bays on May 12, 17 5:54 PM
Is that Burl Ives?
By Draggerman (688), Southampton on May 12, 17 6:27 PM
The PDD legislation has been an abomination from the onset. Throw it out.
By SPCarr (16), Southampton on May 12, 17 7:16 PM
WAY PAST TIME

It just doesn’t make sense.

On the one hand, our supervisor and Town Board are poised to eliminate the planned development district legislation due to the fact that it has become grossly distorted over the years and turned into nothing more than a vehicle for overdevelopment and speculation. While on the other hand, these same officials have been deliberating endlessly on whether or not to grant a PDD zone change to a billion-dollar out-of-state development ...more
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on May 18, 17 9:37 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well played, Jay...

I've been thinking about why he would do this for the last few hours. I think I've got it: Jay is a very seasoned politician-not a compliment, I assure you. If he shuts down all further PDDs, he can allow "The Hills at Southampton" to pass. "It was already in the pipeline" "It met all criteria"...

Any one want to wager?
By Draggerman (688), Southampton on May 12, 17 8:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
I would wager that Jay will vote down the HILLS. He is very smart & he has been on the east end of Long Island for a very long time. He "gets it".

Why would any honest politician or knowledgable person allow more chemicals to be introduced when EVERYONE is talking about cleaning up our waters!

Steve Bellone, Bridget Fleming, Ed Romaine and many other east end public administrators know that if we don't have clean water - we will not have a healthy business environment and a safe ...more
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on May 12, 17 11:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
In this newspaper - on April 27th, 2017 - an article quoted
Dr. Christopher Gobler.

"A newly submitted report, researched by one of the East End’s most well-respected water quality experts, challenges the science used and conclusions reached in the draft environmental impact statement filed by the Arizona developer pushing for a zoning change that would permit the construction of a luxury golf resort in East Quogue.
In his highly anticipated report filed last month with Southampton ...more
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on May 12, 17 11:19 PM
Scrap PDD?

Better than banning DDT.
By Mr. Z (9525), North Sea on May 13, 17 12:33 AM
DDT saved an estimated 500 million lives before it was banned.
By dnice (1989), Hampton Bays on May 13, 17 12:56 PM
It also killed millions.

It's a carcinogen.
By Mr. Z (9525), North Sea on May 13, 17 8:00 PM
That is false
By dnice (1989), Hampton Bays on May 14, 17 8:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
It supposed to provide a good community benefit, however this just doesnt seem the case in regard to the size and scope that these developers obtain or try to obtain. Lets be clear its all about making more profit thats was a PDD does,and in exchange the community receives a payoff. The canal is going to be ruined by the Rechlers, The Cty rod 39 shopping center fortunately is now a no go. These developers know exactly what they are buying before the buy it and know excatly how much profit they can ...more
By North Sea Citizen (454), North Sea on May 13, 17 6:22 AM
so because something is not executed properly (say like the DWI Laws in SHT), scrap the whole thing? Fabulous idea.
By HB Proud (780), Hampton Bays on May 13, 17 6:41 AM
The PDD law has been nothing but a scam that has allowed developers to get around existing zoning in exchange for a nebulous concept of "community benefit". No definition of the benefit by the way. Scrap this crap and build as of right or not at all.
By bigfresh (3020), north sea on May 13, 17 7:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
SCRAP THE SANDY HOLLOW SECTION 8 HOUSING PROJECT.
REPLACE IT WITH BEAUTIFUL OPEN SPACE.
PROTECT OUR LOCAL DELICATE ENVIRONMENT.
PRESERVE, PRESERVE, PRESERVE & PRESERVE.
By pw herman (725), southampton on May 13, 17 8:34 AM
"The Hills [at Southampton] would be the last PDD to be considered by the town.”

There you have it... If it was being shot down, Jay would have said so. Or at least hinted to...
By Draggerman (688), Southampton on May 13, 17 9:17 AM
So we may as well throw out all those Comprehensive Plans the town has spent so much effort to assemble while passing moratorium after moratorium while preparing them.

"§ 330-240
Findings and purpose.
[Amended 10-23-2001 by L.L. No. 43-2001]
A. 
It is hereby found and determined by the Town Board of the Town of Southampton that there exists in the Town vast but diminishing natural resources and tracts of land deserving of preservation and maintenance for ...more
By VOS (1010), WHB on May 13, 17 2:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
From SHPress on Jan. 9th, 2017

An impartial professor, Dr. Christopher Gobler - whose advice was sought by Jay Schneiderman and before that, Anna Throne-Holst - was quoted by Amanda Bernocco for the Press:

Dr. Chris Gobler, a marine science professor at Stony Brook-Southampton and arguably one of the region’s most respected water quality experts, shared for the first time this week that he thinks that a luxury golf course resort community proposed in East Quogue would add ...more
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on May 13, 17 5:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
The Master Plans, the PDD law, etc. all needs to be reviewed and updated on a basis...it is just plain lazy inept government planning departments that recommend to scrap some laws and implement recommendations from Master Plans. These people would not last a day in the real world.
By HB Proud (780), Hampton Bays on May 13, 17 7:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
Why do you think they try so hard to stay in their's?
By dnice (1989), Hampton Bays on May 13, 17 7:34 PM
Dr. Christopher Gobler says the Hills is the worst option.

And so do:
New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele
Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming
Former Southampton Town Clerk Marietta Seaman
Former Southampton Town Trustee Fred Havemeyer
League of Women Voters of the Hamptons
Hampton Bays Civic Association
East Quogue Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC)
East Quogue Civic Association
Southampton Town Civic Coalition
Clean (Citizens for ...more
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on May 13, 17 10:07 PM
This could have been written yesterday - but it was written 3 years ago !!!

Date: Jul 3, 2014;
Section: Letters to the Editor; Page: A12 VIEWPOINT

A Threat To Prior Environmental Victories
BY CAROLYN ZENK

The Hills at Southampton’s proposed change of zone, from 5-acre residential to a Mixed-Use Planned Development District (MUPDD), in East Quogue, on the largest remaining Pine Barrens tract—436 acres—should be vigorously opposed by the Southampton ...more
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on May 13, 17 10:16 PM
The same Carolyn Zenk who is the underling to Mr Ron Kass. The same Ron Kass who gets a golf membership at Hampton Hills at a nominal cost for what reason exactly? The same Ron Kass who cries wolf about maintenance of turf grass poisoning the aquifer while keeping his own lawn in astonishingly pristine condition?

Ms. Zenk is hardly a bastion of integrity or professionalism. She has used the words "fraud", "dupe" and other slanders when not knowing the meaning of those words and based on ...more
By Mark Hissey (167), East Quogue on May 19, 17 12:04 AM
REMEMBER SANDY HOLLOW !!!
REMEMBER THE ALAMO !!!
By pw herman (725), southampton on May 14, 17 10:24 AM
It seems very short-sighted that the PDD law would simply be repealed and not replaced or updated. Remember, there was a time where there was thought to be a real need for a zoning mechanism that resulted in the PDD law, not just over one town administration. I don't remember at the time people coming out to complain bitterly about this concept.

So, in my opinion, one town administration just killing it outright may have unanticipated negative consequences down the line. While I would ...more
By Rickenbacker (228), Southampton on May 15, 17 10:17 AM
1 member liked this comment
Can you give examples of PDDs in the recent past and specify the benefits to the community? The intentions of the PDD law has been turned upside down, IMO.
By Taz (316), East Quogue on May 15, 17 10:26 AM
1 member liked this comment
It seems to be that "scrapping" the Law is the lazy way out...we had a year...did nothing...so we need to show something for our work..ok .let's..SCRAP it...Same thing with the implementation of some of the decade old master plans.."what? we don't need a new horse and buggy road? ..but that is what the Master Plan says...that is what the community wants". It must be nice having a job that has no accountability.
By HB Proud (780), Hampton Bays on May 15, 17 1:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
As I have previously stated, the PDD scam only provided a benefit to the developers, allowing them to avoid zoning requirements in return for a never defined concept of community benefit. Building as of right seems like the sensible thing to do.
By bigfresh (3020), north sea on May 15, 17 5:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
Way Past Time

It just doesn’t make sense.

On the one hand, our supervisor and Town Board are poised to eliminate the planned development district legislation due to the fact that it has become grossly distorted over the years and turned into nothing more than a vehicle for overdevelopment and speculation. While on the other hand, these same officials have been deliberating endlessly on whether or not to grant a PDD zone change to a billion-dollar out-of-state development ...more
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on May 18, 17 9:38 AM
You might want to look into an actual scientific argument for your claims about a golf course. If you do it right, you'll see that your statement is absolutely without merit. Here's a tip. FOIL the monitoring results on Golf at the Bridge and Sebonack. You'll see that the results are nothing like what you fear. Moreover, before you tout your predictable statements about the consultants being on a payroll, please note that the company undertaking it is Legette, Brashears & Graham. The very same company ...more
By Mark Hissey (167), East Quogue on May 18, 17 10:05 PM
Well said Mr. Havemeyer. DLC is procrastinating because they know they don't have the votes. They are a highly experienced developer with mega bucks and highly paid consultants, yet they needed 4 attempts at a DEIS before they got it accepted? A deadline of May 15 was 45 days after the comment period ended on 4/1 and the FEIS should be ready. Now they "hope" it will be ready at the end of the month. And if it is "incomplete" it will be bounced back to them for yet another try to get it right. ...more
By Taz (316), East Quogue on May 18, 17 10:40 AM
2 members liked this comment
Nobody is procrastinating. An FEIS can only be prepared when the specific questions have all been submitted to the applicant by the Town to answer. You need to familiarize yourself with the process. The process dictates that you get it right and complete and then it gets voted on. The 45 day limit is to protect the applicant and not the Town so that the Town doesn't endlessly procrastinate.

You seem to be speculating wildly that this is some elaborate strategy to stall. You have no evidence ...more
By Mark Hissey (167), East Quogue on May 18, 17 9:54 PM
So your position is to boot out elected officials, who through the SEQRA and town's planning process, to which they are sworn to uphold pursuant to State and local law, and replace them with a handful of puppets selected to carry out your bidding.
By Lion (260), southampton on May 19, 17 6:22 AM
2 members liked this comment
Did I click "Like" here? Mistake, mistake. Meant to reply, as follows:

Lion speaks of "a handful of puppets selected to carry out your bidding," but I'd call them democratically elected representatives responsible to the will of the people. That's how a democracy works, as ably described by Taz three posts above, speaking of the pro-Hills and anti-Hills candidates being activated and motivated by their respective supporters.

That's how we do it in America, and Lion is even ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1762), Quiogue on May 19, 17 10:45 AM
What does the science even matter when there is no community benefit? Such a waste of time.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (424), southampton on May 19, 17 10:58 AM
Yeah, sure, as if the mopes involved in small town politics (and national as well) actually believed they are "responsible to the will of the people" rather than their cronies who keep that machine grinding up tax dollars and spitting out more lifetime funding for the hacks and their hangers on.

Everyone would be laughing at that machine if only it actually served the people without extracting cash at every turn rather than fueling its perpetual motion.
By VOS (1010), WHB on May 19, 17 2:36 PM
The elected officials who are in office don't finish their terms until midnight December 31,2017. The TAZ comments display a complete lack of understanding of their sworn duties. Please TB, refrain from your condescending responses such as how "we" do it in America, as if "I" am to be discounted by "you". Quite a contrast to the model democracy "you" support, (providing the model suits your personal perspective).
By Lion (260), southampton on May 19, 17 4:55 PM
Why does science matter... ? Mmm, There's a pile of sand somewhere with a small hole in it... about the diameter of your hat size. Really? Your posts of past suggested you had a bit more on the ball than this last one. I'm disappointed.
By Lion (260), southampton on May 19, 17 4:59 PM
And George, Strunk & White antiquated as it my be, suggests composition be designed with brief statements. A suggestion that all windbags should consider, "man."
By Lion (260), southampton on May 19, 17 5:15 PM
Three replies from Lion. Guess I hit a nerve. So they're puppets if they don't agree with you, but OK if they do. Brief enough for you, man?
By Turkey Bridge (1762), Quiogue on May 20, 17 11:37 AM
1 member liked this comment
One reply was for Taz one for the comment from the post above best described as a word jumble with cleavage and yours. No nerve stuck, so put a band aid on that ego and do feel better soon.
By Lion (260), southampton on May 20, 17 4:10 PM
lions, the science doesnt matter because it relates to a project that should not be approved.

If there is no intrinsic community benefit from the project then the PDD application should be rejected.

I'm suggesting that the cart is being put before the horse here. Why waste so much time debating the underlying science of a fictional project?
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (424), southampton on May 20, 17 4:17 PM
So Lion, if what you say is true, how come two of your replies purport to address me by name? Getting careless, man. Also, how about telling us whether you too are being compensated by Discovery Land or any related person or entity?

BTW, excellent point, adlk . . .
By Turkey Bridge (1762), Quiogue on May 21, 17 10:55 AM
1 member liked this comment
If you think this morning's commute through Hampton Bays/Shinnecock Hills was bad, just wait until the CPI opens and has to shut down traffic on part of Montauk Highway when there are "events." Second home values will plummet.

The days of the glorious CPI are long gone. It may be a nice idea, but it does not belong at the current location. Rechlers , , , move on.
By jgordon (7), Shoreham on May 18, 17 11:46 AM
The Rechlers wanted to build at the site and were stopped. Don't blame the PPD Law, don't blame the Rechlers. Blame those that wanted to save CPI and sold their souls and the souls of the rest of Hampton Bays to do so.
By HB Proud (780), Hampton Bays on May 18, 17 5:42 PM
2 members liked this comment
REMEMBER SANDY HOLLOW !!!
REMEMBER THE ALAMO !!!
By pw herman (725), southampton on May 21, 17 11:00 AM
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