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Jul 12, 2016 4:15 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Makes Offer To Purchase The Hills Property In East Quogue

Southampton Town Board announces offer to purchase all 592 acres on Spinney Road in East Quogue, commonly known as “The Hills.”  JEN NEWMAN
Jul 13, 2016 12:11 PM

Members of the Southampton Town Board said on Tuesday that they have extended an offer to purchase all 592 acres on Spinney Road in East Quogue that would house the proposed development known as “The Hills at Southampton.”

Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the money to purchase the wooded land owned by the Discovery Land Company would come from the Community Preservation Fund, and if the purchase went through, the property would be preserved.

According to the supervisor, the board made a “significant offer” to the developers last Friday, but he would not disclose the exact amount, only that it was significantly more than Discovery Land paid.

“The CPF fund has adequate funds available to purchase this property if the offer is accepted,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “We will not need to borrow any additional funds.”

Town officials say the CPF has a fund balance of $92,734,000.

Wayne Bruyn, an attorney at O’Shea, Marcincuk and Bruyn LLP, who represents Discovery Land, confirmed that an offer was made but said he did not know how much it was. “I don’t have it in front of me,” he said. “I just forwarded it to my client, and they are looking at it.”

Mark Hissey, vice president of Discovery Land, was not available for comment.

Mr. Bruyn noted that his client “has made it clear” in the past that they are not willing sellers. “We have said that consistently through the process,” he said. “Whether anything has changed, time will tell.”

The town is currently in the process of considering a proposal from The Hills at Southampton which would feature 108 single-family homes, 10 condominiums and a golf course on 168 acres along Spinney Road.

“The ball’s in their court,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “I think it’s very important from a groundwater protection standpoint. We’re trying to see it preserved. We’re trying to acquire this. This, of course, only works with willing sellers.”

Opponents of the project—including Richard Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, and Robert DeLuca, president of Group for the East End—said that while they want to see the land preserved, they won’t see it as a victory until the developer’s application is off the table.

“I’m always optimistic, and to their credit this is an improved offer,” Mr. DeLuca said. “But as long as the developer has a live application, it’s difficult to see that they would just walk away from that.”

If the town does purchase the land, it would be the largest CPF purchase in the town’s history.

In 2010, the town paid $5 million to buy and preserve 150 acres in the hamlet known as “The Links,” which runs adjacent to “The Hills” property. Suffolk County pitched in the other $5 million for the 2010 purchase.

Tuesday’s proposal marks the second time that the town has attempted to purchase The Hills property. Officials explored the possibility in 2011, when they had planned to team up again with Suffolk County and split the cost of the acquisition. But former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy vetoed the purchase, which he said would have cost the county between $15 million and $30 million, stating that not enough of the land was environmentally sensitive.

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It would be nice if some of these houses were allotted for affordable/workforce housing since there is such a DIRE need.
By cjdinkelmeyer (3), Riverhead on Jul 12, 16 4:44 PM
2 members liked this comment
you should spell check your copy.
By golfstar (1), Southampton on Jul 12, 16 5:03 PM
SH town is buying and buying and do nothing with them!! They bought Neptune bar in H Bays and the other club near by and they sit locked and empty since.H Bays is dying ,the beaches are not cleaned at all,dead algae,pieces of wood from the ocean the garbage cans look awfull ,the pavilions at Tiana and Ponquoaque SCREAM renovation and NOBODY is doing nothing.The boutiques under Lady Hampton restaurant are closed at the beach there no one to sell you a bottle of water by the canal they closed 2 or ...more
By dany (22), Water Mill on Jul 12, 16 5:18 PM
Well when you went to a Town Board meeting and asked for answers to your questions and concerns, what did they say?
By But I'm a blank! (1274), Hampton Bays on Jul 12, 16 6:48 PM
2 members liked this comment
Those clubs/ Bars should never have been purchased. CPF is for open space, not to buy commercial property. One of ATH's back room deals, closing places like those bars took tax and tourism dollars away from HB.
By JM11968 (62), southampton on Jul 12, 16 7:48 PM
I don't go is a waste of time going and talking to the walls! I send them an email about big white Sikorski flying over HBays to Ehampton and they raised their shoulders that they are powerless! EH town is another story ,SH buys and buys and forget about "shopping".HBays is going down with so many depressive buildings closed and bought by the town who at least doesn't demolish them or renovate.All SH ton should be changed they know only to spend on properties and that's all! People start already ...more
By dany (22), Water Mill on Jul 12, 16 9:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
So many fallacies in what you write.

It takes time after purchasing property to hire consulting firms, to get public input, to determine budgets, to pass resolutions, etc. etc. etc. It cannot be done overnight.

In due time, the Town's plans for the Neptune property will be underway. The Town is on the fast-track to completing the park in the middle of HB. Ponquogue is slated for an update. The Canal Project was approved by the Board - they can't force the developer to begin ...more
By Nature (2952), Southampton on Jul 12, 16 11:04 PM
They ARE powerless over aircraft flying overhead.
You don't like Hampton bays, then stay away.
But please, take a basic English grammar course at some point.
By But I'm a blank! (1274), Hampton Bays on Jul 13, 16 12:15 AM
I'm half blind I write better than many,EH town are NOT powerless you must have family members in SH town you are defending them too much.If this a "fast track" with Neptune and the CPI then you have a problem with speed!
By dany (22), Water Mill on Jul 13, 16 6:51 AM
If an aircraft flies over any property in Southampton Town, the Town board has NO authority to regulate them. That was the point of your complaint. I'm not defending anyone, I am pointing out your shortfalls.
By But I'm a blank! (1274), Hampton Bays on Jul 13, 16 1:22 PM
Its what they want if they cant have waterfront homes then no one can
By joe hampton (2833), Hamptons on Jul 13, 16 10:36 PM
Jay Schneiderman has spoken of the same concerns that you have. He'd probably agree with you. He wants a revitalized HB.
By number19 (105), Westhampton on Jul 13, 16 11:38 PM
2 members liked this comment
The Links at East Quogue, next to The Hills property and an excellent comparable for an appraisal, was purchased by the TOWN & COUNTY in 2011, for $10,000,000 or $150,000 per acre.
By loxman (4), Remsenburg on Jul 12, 16 5:26 PM
Your math is incorrect.
$10,000,000, approximately 150 acres, $65,000 per acre.
By CleanWater (108), East Quogue on Jul 21, 16 9:17 AM
I agree that litter is a big issue out here....imagine the number of cigarette butts and other trash washing from the streets directly into the bays. More signage, enforcement and maintenance is necessary. On a high note, having open space versus more development is one way to protect this very fragile ecosystem. Congratulations to those who recognize how we all benefit, now and later, when preservation and protection become priorities of local government. Thank you!
By Beachcat (3), Hampton Bays on Jul 12, 16 5:39 PM
Mr. Schneiderman - your children, grandchildren and anyone who drinks our water thank you!!!

You're a smart guy.

Thank you.
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on Jul 12, 16 5:45 PM
Really?
By dnice (1933), Hampton Bays on Jul 12, 16 9:17 PM
WTF?
By Draggerman (640), Southampton on Jul 12, 16 10:56 PM
I applaud the town for their attempt to purchase this property. This will go a long way to keep East Quogue the nice little hamlet it is. I hope it goes through.

Thank you
By Frigate (1), East Quogue on Jul 12, 16 6:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
Amen!!!
By CleanWater (108), East Quogue on Jul 12, 16 7:14 PM
Great news! I really hope Discovery Land accepts the deal. I live in East Quogue, and want to preserve Weesuck Creek for future generations.
By Marbridge (1), East Quogue on Jul 12, 16 7:42 PM
2 members liked this comment
spend spend spend
By chief1 (2292), southampton on Jul 12, 16 9:04 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well, that is what the CPF is for, funded by dedicated monies to preserve valuable land from over development.
By number19 (105), Westhampton on Jul 13, 16 11:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
I like this. Truth is, development can't be undone. Just drive west to see our future if we aren't proactive with preservation. This is a very good idea and is what the fund is for; the good of our community present and future. If they are smart "the hills" should take the money and run. At least they will sleep well knowing that they didn't ruin a town's resources. As for the idea that the hills would help our school, I say just look at Tuckahoe. They know that golf courses don't help anything! ...more
By reelocal (4), Southampton on Jul 12, 16 10:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
Anna Thorne-Holst repeatedly told us that the Town presented an offer to the landowner and it was rejected and there was nothing the Town could do...looks like she didn't try hard enough or she was just pulling a Hillary on us. Either way she doesn't deserve any votes from Southampton.
By tom (48), Hampton Bays on Jul 12, 16 10:34 PM
That offer may have been rejected and there is no reason not to believe this offer also will be rejected. Nothing here speaks to the credence of Throne-Holst.
By VOS (953), WHB on Jul 14, 16 3:20 AM
There is a reason that this offer might be accepted:

This Town Administration is looking at this DEIS much more diligently then the last one.

The TERMINAL SHORTCOMINGS will not be over-looked this time.

How much is this acreage worth if you can only build 55 homes?

At the developers COST of $400,000 a 5 acre building lot (without the PDD change of zone) who is buying them? Any offer from the CPF should work.
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on Jul 14, 16 9:56 AM
The town purchases this 500 plus acres, and the taxpayers for EQ will then all have to pay the burden of the lost tax revenue in their property taxes next year. School district, fire district, highway and town services, because CPF purchased property doesn't pay into the town tax base. It just got more expensive to live in Southampton Town.

Not a good idea, for the town to be vacant property owners, look at the business property they already have that are in decay and need work. North ...more
By trurepublician (53), hampton bays on Jul 12, 16 11:13 PM
Doesn't anyone see the real problem? The town drags out Discovery Land's approvals, then offers to buy the property.
By Babyboo (204), Hampton Bays on Jul 13, 16 7:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
The Town isn't "dragging out Discovery's approvals".

Discovery isn't "entitled" to a change of zone - that dramatically increases density over our single source of drinking water.

If they want to move forward - all they have to do is make an application to build what they think is allowed by all of the current zoning laws.

The only things holding them up is their incredibly aggressive request for increased zoning and a new Town Board that isn't shortsighted.
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on Jul 14, 16 10:17 AM
1 member liked this comment
This IS environmentally sensitive property from the point of view of groundwatersheds. Levy lost my support when he vetoed. His position must be filled by someone with knowledge of hydrogeology and the will to serve the people.
By kuali (17), southampton on Jul 13, 16 8:16 AM
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE MAKE THIS DEAL HAPPEN!!!!!! Restore our faith in our elected officials! Discovery Land Company should know that without a golf course the 5 acre properties will be worth much less. If they refuse the Town's offer, the PDD should be rejected. DLC is not interested in the good of the people, just the good of their balance sheet.
By Taz (228), East Quogue on Jul 13, 16 9:21 AM
2 members liked this comment
Hats off to Jay Schneiderman and the Town Board for making a good move. If at first you don't succeed, keep trying, right? Let's hope it results in a deal.

Let's also hope that the Board keeps in mind that Discovery must have a profit line beneath which it makes no sense for them to develop this land as of right. Every dollar they spend and every bit of effort they put forth to secure a PDD has to tell you that the project is worth much more to them as a PDD (with golf course etc.) than ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1695), Quiogue on Jul 13, 16 10:13 AM
1 member liked this comment
Agree. Jay Schneiderman must have read "The Art of the Deal." :)

If this deal goes through, funded by CPF, a real marker will be laid down -- this new town govt is putting its $ where its mouth is relative to promising significant pro-water quality policies.
By number19 (105), Westhampton on Jul 13, 16 11:45 PM

Those who want this developed should just move west already. We are talking about pristine land that will effect more than just a vital aqueduct but also our bays and livelihoods.

Seriously, go buy a condo off William Floyd Parkway already and save us from your shortsightedness. Losing undeveloped land from the tax roles is the smallest of prices to pay! First off how much does unimproved land actually contribute currently? More importantly, develop it and it will be forever lost. ...more
By 14th generation LI'er (2), East Quogue on Jul 13, 16 12:21 PM
Sounds like a great plan, just what the east quogue school district needs, more money taken off the tax roles. I wish people in this town would stop demanding CPF purchase everything bc it is killing the water front resort business economy. There are young people and people under the age of 65 that want to live here and would like to have places to go, restaurants, nighlife, water front destinations, etc. I was fortunate enough to to grow up here and got to enjoy the town of the 90s, I went to summers ...more
By hamptons34 (30), Westhampton on Jul 13, 16 12:52 PM
3 members liked this comment
Sounds like a great plan, just what the east quogue school district needs, more money taken off the tax roles. I wish people in this town would stop demanding CPF purchase everything bc it is killing the water front resort business economy. There are young people and people under the age of 65 that want to live here and would like to have places to go, restaurants, nighlife, water front destinations, etc. I was fortunate enough to to grow up here and got to enjoy the town of the 90s, I went to summers ...more
By hamptons34 (30), Westhampton on Jul 13, 16 12:52 PM
You are conflating to different things. The Hills should not be developed a all it would not bring Jobs its a seasonal resort only! As for the old Drift and other Bars they should never have been bought with CPF founds as they are not open space, but commercial property. Unfortunately, they were poorly run and mismanaged over the years with caused their demise.
By JM11968 (62), southampton on Jul 13, 16 2:38 PM
Read up on PILOT funds that are taken from the CPF account to offset loss in tax revenue to school districts. Removing lots from the tax rolls is a non-issue, and not for nothing, but it's a complete fallacy that more development = lower taxes
By Nature (2952), Southampton on Jul 14, 16 10:10 AM
3 members liked this comment
Much in your letter has merit but if you think that the golf course will be required to pay any money at any time to the school you are mistaken. I live in Tuckahoe with FOUR golf courses and our tax bill is four times as high as southampton school for far less services. Our K-8 school is barely surviving and they keep it afloat by raising my taxes yet again.
By Raccoon mom (6), Shelter island on Jul 20, 16 5:44 PM
Please don't upset these idiots with the facts.

You know the truth - coming from Tuckahoe.

Golf courses pay about 1/4 of the taxes that residences pay - in Southampton or anywhere in New York State.

By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on Jul 21, 16 9:44 PM
I hear the natural drinking water is great in Kansas, the shell fish can be had that day and the pristine ocean views even better.
Who would trade that for some overpriced drinks at bars that attact Long Island's classist people along with there consumables?
This isn't about you or current generations this about the town's future. The hills is not a solution to our school district nor anything for that matter.
By 14th generation LI'er (2), East Quogue on Jul 13, 16 1:11 PM
Preserving the land is the right thing to do. THANK YOU for finally considering it. The generations to come THANK YOU! Please preserve this land!
By LocalEnthusiast (13), East Quogue on Jul 13, 16 5:53 PM
for or against,, don't us taxpayers need to knows the $$$$$$$ amount bid for this property by our "powers that be". The CPF fund is really ours since voted for it's existence so we should know how much of this fund we are spending. think it is a good idea but we need to know the dollar facts.
By xtiego (582), bridgehampton on Jul 13, 16 6:20 PM
Offers are kept private for a variety of reasons. Any offer that CPF makes is based on two (2) independent appraisals of a parcels worth, then those in charge can make an offer between those two numbers.

The main reason for keeping this information private until a deal goes through is:

In situations where a parcel is on the open market, it would behoove the Town to announce how much they are willing to spend, only for a private enterprise to offer slightly more $
By Nature (2952), Southampton on Jul 14, 16 10:13 AM
A little late in the game to make an offer to purchase this land.
By auntof9 (103), Southampton on Jul 14, 16 10:00 AM
There is a reason that this offer might be accepted:

This Town Administration is looking at this DEIS much more diligently then the last one.

The TERMINAL SHORTCOMINGS will not be over-looked this time.

How much is this acreage worth if you can only build 55 homes?

At the developers COST of $400,000 a 5 acre building lot (without the PDD change of zone) who is buying them? Any offer from the CPF should work.
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on Jul 14, 16 10:18 AM
The Town isn't "dragging out Discovery's approvals".

Discovery isn't "entitled" to a change of zone - that dramatically increases density over our single source of drinking water.

If they want to move forward - all they have to do is make an application to build what they think is allowed by all of the current zoning laws.

The only things holding them up is their incredibly aggressive request for increased zoning and a new Town Board that isn't shortsighted.
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on Jul 14, 16 10:19 AM
3 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By CaptainSig (636), Dutch Harbor on Jul 14, 16 8:09 PM
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