Your recent article “Pine Barrens Commission Hosts Supporters And Opponents At Lewis Road Public Hearing” [27east.com, February 26] demonstrates that the proponents of this development project are at the end of their rope. They have tried and tried but they still can’t marshal a convincing argument for the proposal — and what they were reduced to at the February 19 public hearing was laughable.
Referring to the previous iteration of this project, “The Hills at Southampton” planned development district, Discovery Land Company attorney Wayne Bruyn stated that the application there wasn’t denied — it just wasn’t approved. That’s like saying the shooting victim wasn’t murdered, he just didn’t continue living after he was shot.
Discovery planning consultant Chick Voorhis said the area involved is already in use, citing ATV activity and illegal dumping. In fact, though, you always have some ATVs and dumping in the woods; the Voorhis argument is like saying a tract of forest is already in use because squirrels use it to gather nuts.
Mitch Paley of the Long Island Builders Institute claims that there have been numerous times since the 1990s when parcels in the proposal could have been moved into the strictly protected Core Preservation or Critical Resource Areas, and they weren’t. So what? That’s like saying we haven’t put the cash in the safe before, so we shouldn’t do it now.
These strained, pathetic arguments posed by the professional supporters of the golf resort show us how very little they have to offer in the proposal’s favor. The non-professional boosters are caught in a he said/she said contest with the opponents over who represents most East Quogue residents — a contest of limited relevance, because the project’s ill effects will reach far beyond East Quogue.
The broader view necessitated by that wide reach was expressed by Assemblyman Steve Englebright. As a co-sponsor of the original Pine Barrens Act, he knows the law’s purpose, and he said that the Lewis Road subdivision is precisely the sort of thing the act was intended to prevent. Mr. Englebright stated that this project will “permanently compromise” the groundwater on which we all depend so completely.
It’s clear that this development will be a devastating blow to eastern Long Island, and the Pine Barrens Commission must do its job and stop it now.
Mr. Lynch is the treasurer of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee — Ed.
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