Last week, Susan Cerwinski challenged the Group for the East End’s charity event at The Bridge golf course [“A Disconnect,” Letters, July 7]. Ms. Cerwinski sees a disconnect between our “theory and practice” because we have opposed the expansive golf resort proposed by Discovery Land Company in the Pine Barrens of East Quogue.
Let me clear up any disconnect.
First, when The Bridge proposal came in as a zone change application with two golf courses, a conference center, over a hundred condominium units and residential lots, we opposed this project vigorously for the exact reasons we have opposed the Discovery Land proposal. The project was far too extensive for the limits of the land that it was proposed to be built upon.
Over the course of the proposal’s review, we litigated (as we have with the Discovery project) and sought a substantial reduction in the overall intensity of the final project.
The owner of the property listened, learned about the significance of the environmental resources contained on the property — and the project was dramatically reduced in both size and scale. In the end, the Bridge constructed a single golf course (confined to the disturbed footprint of the former Bridgehampton Racetrack), no conference center, no condominiums, and fewer than two dozen residential lots on a parcel of roughly 500 acres.
The Bridge went further in dedicating land and trail easements to the town and implemented the most comprehensive groundwater monitoring program ever proposed at that time. The final project was reduced by some 60 to 70 percent of its development potential under the law at the time. It was a good outcome.
Should Discovery Land wish to propose a 60 to 70 percent reduction in development intensity, we would be glad to listen. But, first, we also have to overcome the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals decision to allow full-service golf courses in the residential zoning district where this proposal is planned, and which we are still pursuing in the courts.
Finally, regarding the planned residential development, or PRD (cluster subdivision), at the moment, the Discovery development is in common ownership, under common application, and, to my knowledge, fully intended to be a single, integrated resort proposal. The open space provisions of the PRD are simply not the issue here. Rather, it is the ZBA’s allowance for a full-scale golf course alongside a full-density residential subdivision that’s at the heart of the problem.
So we have taken the exact same approach to our review of both the Discovery Land proposal and The Bridge golf course. The key difference, to this point, has been each owner/developer’s response to longstanding public concerns about the future of our water and Pine Barrens resources.
Maybe that can still change.
Robert S. DeLuca
Group for the East End
One fine body…