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Feb 10, 2015 1:24 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Four New Houses Could Replace Old Quogue VFW Building

Feb 11, 2015 1:04 PM

The Quogue Village Planning Board on Saturday will review an application that seeks to subdivide the old Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5350 property off Montauk Highway into four lots, each capable of accommodating a single house.

The 4.4-acre property that hosted the VFW for decades was sold to 125 Montauk Highway Group LLC in November for $1.4 million, and the plan to subdivide the land comes less than two months later.

According to planning documents, the residentially zoned, triangle-shaped property that sits at 125 Montauk Highway, and currently features a baseball field in addition to the main building and parking lot, could eventually have a common driveway that begins at Montauk Highway and runs north, linking the four lots.

The first lot, which will sit closest to Montauk Highway, will measure 1.07 acres, according to the application. The second, directly to the north, will be 1.06 acres; the third, farther north, 1.12 acres; and the fourth, at the northernmost tip of the property, 1.23 acres.

Colin Bester of Westhampton Beach, the co-owner, with wife Heather, of R2Q Construction LLC and the listed contact on the planning application, did not return calls this week seeking comment. According to the company’s website, R2Q focuses on classic contemporary and shingled homes. It is not immediately clear if Mr. Bester is the only person involved in 125 Montauk Highway Group LLC, but he was the lone listed contact on the site plan application.

At Saturday’s meeting, which begins at 4 p.m. at Village Hall on Jessup Avenue, the Planning Board will review the application for the first time. It is not immediately clear if a public hearing will be set at that time, however.

In August, Quogue Mayor Peter Sartorius told a potential buyer, Kenneth Tedaldi of Quogue, that only three homes could be built on the land, citing a review completed by Village Building Inspector William Nowak and an appraiser with the Southampton Town Community Preservation Fund. At the time, Mr. Tedaldi said he spoke to a surveyor who informed him that the land, in fact, could host up to four homes.

When reached Monday, Mr. Sartorius said that nothing has changed since the summer. “I guess the developer decided to squeeze in four [lots] and was able to do so,” he wrote in an email.

Mr. Nowak did not immediately return calls seeking clarification.

Members of the VFW, meanwhile, are still trying to raise funds in order to renovate their new post, the former Finn McCool’s building at 101 Old Riverhead Road in Westhampton Beach. The nonprofit bought the property for $1.38 million in November from EK Riverhead Partners LLC.

The post is hoping to attract new members from the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing, who are based at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton and just up the road from the group’s new headquarters. Membership in the Quogue outfit has dwindled to about 125 members, and are mostly veterans from Vietnam and earlier wars.

The post needs to raise about $100,000 in order to renovate the building. To help raise money for the renovations, the post started a GoFundMe campaign, which has received more than $5,000 so far. Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/hta6i4 or by mailing checks to VFW Post 5350, P.O. Box 79, Quogue, NY, 11959.

Most recently, the post canceled its Valentine’s Day fundraiser due to a lack of ticket sales. Members are planning a spring event at the Boardy Barn in Hampton Bays but have not released specific details yet.

Post members originally listed their former Quogue property, which is zoned for residential use, for $1.8 million last year. Some locals tried to lobby both Quogue Village and Southampton Town to join forces and purchase the land.

But after a handful of meetings with village and town officials went nowhere, the post began looking elsewhere. Mr. Sartorius and Mary Wilson, the manager of the town’s Community Preservation Fund, toured the property last year, with the town later making an offer that was rejected by the post. Both Ms. Wilson and Mr. Hughes have refused to disclose the amount of the offer made by the town. Quogue Village never made an offer for the property.

More than 100 people gathered inside the Quogue Community Theater in June to discuss the idea of the village purchasing the land. Ideas shot down by the village included configuring the property for a baseball field, making it a playground, constructing tennis courts or building a community center on the land. Residents argued, ultimately in vain, that Quogue’s purchase of the land would allow the village to decide its future rather than a private developer.

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