Incorrect Resolution? - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2243995

Incorrect Resolution?

It might pay to review the resolution approving the 600-acre golf course resort in East Quogue (known as the Lewis Road PRD).

The property was originally governed by a 5-acre zoning standard, which means the owner of the 600 acres, Discovery Land, had the right to build 118 houses. Those houses could have been clustered on smaller-than-5-acre lots. However, the 5-acre zoning standard would not have changed; i.e., the space that opened up as a result of clustering the housing would have remained open in its natural state. Cluster zoning is an effective way to preserve a natural resource such as a Pine Barrens forest.

However, Discovery Land filed an application to build a planned residential development. Unlike cluster zoning, a PRD changes the zoning standard. Houses may be clustered on smaller lots; however, the space that opens up on a PRD is unbundled from the housing subdivision and may be sold as a separate parcel.

In other words, cluster zoning is different from a PRD, even though both zoning vehicles contain cluster housing. The open space on cluster zoning cannot be sold; the open space on a PRD may be sold.

The resolution approving the Lewis Road PRD described the property as follows: “The project provides for 433.7 acres of the property to be set aside as ‘open space’ (in conformance with town code). The project also provides for 75 percent, or 436 acres, of the property to remain in its natural state.”

Here’s the issue as I see it. The resolution did not indicate that the property is governed by a PRD, which allows the 400 acres to be unbundled from the cluster housing and sold. It must be noted that the golf course was arguably approved as an accessory to the clustered housing. Therefore, the golf course is part of the cluster subdivision — it is not part of the open space.

Discovery Land dedicated 200 acres of the open space to the town, but that still leaves 200 acres of open space that may be sold.

So the question appears to be: Why did Discovery Land file an application to create a PRD when it appears a straightforward cluster zoning application (even with a debatable golf course) would have guaranteed the preservation of open space in its natural state?

To put it another way, the resolution approving the golf course resort didn’t address the fact that the application was submitted as a PRD. Therefore, the resolution appears incorrect.

Susan Cerwinski

East Quogue