“A lot of the animals are dormant!” exclaimed “Chic” Voorhis, the Nelson Pope Voorhis partner whose firm’s self-proclaimed mission is to “neutralize” public opinion against development in the town.
He was addressing the Southampton Town Planning Board relative to the clearing practices that his client, Discovery Land, would utilize if given permission to develop the Pine Barrens with their massive golf course and housing development. Evidently, the numerous protected box turtles and amphibians and mammals that inhabit the property would be bulldozed into oblivion if Discovery gets its way.
Since they are dormant, they will not see the earth-movers rolling over them, crushing their shells and skulls as they, in fact, hibernate in the Pine Barrens.
The multitude of owl species that inhabit the pine and oak trees are active all year, but they are nocturnal, so they too won’t know what hit them as the trees they nest in are cut to the ground.
They propose using an ecologist to scour the land for these animals before they bring in the heavy machinery. What happens when they find one? Do they pick it up and throw it over a fence and out of the bulldozer’s path?
There are thousands of endangered reptiles, amphibians and birds that will be impacted if this project is allowed to move forward. No one thought of this — except the Town Board, which denied this project several years ago.
Now, as the Planning Board debates this project in a harried, haphazard manner, the fate of a pristine ecosystem lies in the balance.
Too often, the planning staff from the town answered valid questions from the Planning Board with “I think so” or “Correct me if I’m wrong” or “As far as I know.” Unacceptable.
This project has been on the table for close to 10 years, and they still don’t have a grasp on the issues. The further this thing moves along, the deeper the questions are, and the further the answers are from reality.
I suggest residents light up Jay Schneiderman’s phone line with calls in protest. Do the same with the Planning Board and Planning Department. Tell them that this proposed “sweep” of wildlife is an atrocity and the developer’s application must be denied.
At the final public hearing for this project, an East Quogue resident implored the Planning Board to show courage and not fear their baseless lawsuit, and protect the sanctity of the Pine Barrens and the natural beauty of the town.
We have no right to further decimate any species that roam this Earth. In fact, we are charged with protecting them, since the only real enemies they have are humans with outlandish development plans — such as this one.
William R. Kearns
One fine body…