Southampton Town Planning Board Finds Two Sensitive Projects Have No Environmental Impact - 27 East

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Southampton Town Planning Board Finds Two Sensitive Projects Have No Environmental Impact

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Students arrive at the Tuckahoe School Tuesday morning for the first day of the 2015-16 academic year. ALYSSA MELILLO

Students arrive at the Tuckahoe School Tuesday morning for the first day of the 2015-16 academic year. ALYSSA MELILLO

Students arrive at the Tuckahoe School Tuesday morning for the first day of the 2015-16 academic year. ALYSSA MELILLO

Students arrive at the Tuckahoe School Tuesday morning for the first day of the 2015-16 academic year. ALYSSA MELILLO

Wendi Blair created the exhibit, "A Tribute to All Fishermen," by compiling a selection of photos taken on the Montauk docks since 2006. MICHELLE TRAURING

Wendi Blair created the exhibit, "A Tribute to All Fishermen," by compiling a selection of photos taken on the Montauk docks since 2006. MICHELLE TRAURING

author on Oct 16, 2018

The Southampton Town Planning Board is allowing two proposed developments in a sensitive area on the border of Bridgehampton and Water Mill to advance without further archaeological or environmental review.

The Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton wants to construct a teaching facility and expand its driving range on its 204-acre golf course. It will, however, require the relocation of some of the wetlands flora and fauna that the course was built around.

Nevertheless, Planning Board members said the 3,643-square-foot mostly underground teaching center will not significantly impact the environment, and no environmental study would be required under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, or SEQRA, as long as the club’s operations and maintenance staff continued to steward the property.

“The Atlantic Golf Club has in 28 years been a good steward of the wetlands,” the project’s architect, Anthony Panza, said at an October 11 meeting. “They want to continue that practice by doing something bigger and better.”

As per recommendations made by the town’s Conservation Board, the loss of wetlands would be offset by creating new wetlands adjacent to an existing freshwater pond to the northwest. There is also a turtle and frog management plan being considered to catch and relocate the wetland creatures from a pond proposed for drainage.

“It would be more productive to the wildlife instead of being smack in the middle of the golf course,” Planning Board Chairman Dennis Finnerty said.

There may be a five-year maintenance agreement with yearly monitoring and reports to follow the progress of the wildlife and replanting of native flora.

The same green light from the Planning Board was given to a proposed business park farther south on Scuttle Hole Road—no state environmental study will be needed.

The planned development of two industrial buildings, each 15,000 square feet, and a 4,947-square-foot office building, are about 500 feet away from where a 1,000-year-old skull was found on the site of the former St. James Hotel in Water Mill in 2006.

Board members sounded the alarm for extensive archaeological surveys when the plan was first brought forward in August—notably, after similar human skeletal remains thought to be Native American were found at a construction site in Shinnecock Hills earlier that month.

Last month, a shovel test—the process of digging between 3.3 feet and 10 feet into the ground to analyze the sediments—was conducted, and no archaeologically sensitive material was found.

According to recommendations made by the Planning Department, there were no traffic, water quality or wetlands issues either with this proposal, despite its location near the busy intersection of Scuttle Hole Road and Montauk Highway, and near state and town-regulated wetlands

Reports prepared by the Planning Department that led to the Planning Board’s decisions to not conduct the environmental reviews were not provided to The Press, which filed Freedom of Information Law requests for the documents.

Both developments still need to get site plan approval from the Planning Board before the projects can advance.

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