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Aug 12, 2019 11:15 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Planning Board Hears Public Comments On Golf Course Resort Subdivision Application In East Quogue

The Southampton Town Planning Board held its second public hearing to discuss the latest proposal to build a golf course resort in East Quogue on Thursday. VALERIE GORDON
Aug 13, 2019 2:24 PM

Many new faces came out to voice opinions about a proposal to build a luxury golf course resort in East Quogue at the Southampton Town Planning Board meeting last week before the public hearing on the application was closed — though the arguments, on both sides, largely remained the same.

Those in favor of the proposal have repeatedly cited the economic and community benefits that would follow the application’s approval, whereas the opposition continues to argue that the development would be detrimental to the water and natural resources of the Pine Barrens.

The developer, Arizona-based Discovery Land Company, plans to build a 118-unit subdivision and 18-hole golf course on 588 acres along Lewis Road in East Quogue, which is situated in the environmentally sensitive site. The latest plan limits use of the golf course only to the residents of the subdivision and their non-paying guests, a limitation not in place under the developer’s previous proposal, known as The Hills at Southampton.

The Planning Board has been holding a public hearing on the preliminary subdivision application.

However, regardless of those restrictions, community members have argued that the herbicides and pesticides needed to maintain the golf course would remain the same and will contribute to further pollution of the groundwater.

“We cannot allow corporate interests to poison our water,” Marianne Decker of East Quogue said, addressing the board on Thursday, August 8.

However, Jessica Insalaco, an employee of Discovery Land, rebutted Ms. Decker’s testimony, citing her employer’s 904-page Integrated Turf Management Plan, which calls for polyethylene liners to be installed underneath the golf course greens to capture drainage water for irrigation purposes.

She added that the developer’s fertigation plan is also referenced in the Southampton Town Water Quality Improvement Project Plan, which estimates that the method would remove 60 to 80 percent of any contaminants, such as nitrogen.

“While the opposition may not want to accept it, the science is real,” she said. “The technologies are all proven — the commitments to all of this is real.”

As for the community benefits, proponents argued that the development would add a “much needed” tax base to the hamlet, estimating a 20-to-30-percent reduction in school tax bills.

Leslie Jones of Quogue predicted that the company would create jobs and would employ local businesses, such as plumbers, electricians and builders, adding that it would help revitalize the hamlet’s downtown.

Jeffrey DiLandro, who owns Ocean Electric in Southampton, pointed to similar facilities, including The Bridge Golf Club in Bridgehampton and Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, noting that his company was hired by both.

However, East Quogue resident George Lynch was skeptical. “Everyone here is familiar with the term ‘trade parade,’” he said, addressing the crowd on Thursday night. “It means that the material and the labor come from somewhere else in the morning, and the money goes back out somewhere else in the evening.”

Anne Algieri of East Quogue took it one step further, calling the business owners “short-sighted and selfish.”

“It’s not a bad plan for people who will benefit from it,” she said.

Following public comments, the Planning Board unanimously agreed to close the public hearing with the exception of a 10-day written comment period, to allow the Planning Department to review the submitted testimony and draft a report.

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Every day there are articles in varied newspapers on the problems with our drinking water and our bays yet this development is still being discussed. Shameful. All for the almighty dollar.
By zappy (65), east quogue on Aug 12, 19 8:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
How sophisticated are these magical polyethylene liners? - These will be one of the largest potential points of failure in this complicated process to prevent groundwater contamination. The tarps will protect us! thank you Jessica.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (741), southampton on Aug 13, 19 10:39 AM
I wonder if the residents that submit comments to the TOS regarding this issue will be served with another 500 page court document against them?
By 2329702 (67), East Quogue on Aug 16, 19 10:44 AM