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Apr 10, 2012 4:50 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Local Lawmakers Back Stony Brook Southampton Rezoning Proposal

Apr 10, 2012 5:22 PM

Local lawmakers want to ensure that the Stony Brook Southampton campus remains dedicated to higher education by establishing a new Southampton Town zoning district for the property.

New York State Senator Kenneth P. Lavalle, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., Robert Reeves, the school’s director of the Stony Brook Southampton MFA in writing and literature, Robert Ross, the vice president of community and government relations at Southampton Hospital, the entire Southampton Town Board and others gathered at the 82-acre campus in Shinnecock Hills on Tuesday morning to announce a plan to form a new zoning designation—University-25—for the property.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said the measure to rezone the land is a response, in part, to recent talks that the campus should be sold and developed.

“It’s an institution that has been part of our community tapestry for many, many years, and for some of us, the idea that use could be changed is just not acceptable,” said Ms. Throne-Holst on Monday.

The Southampton Town Board will discuss the measure at its work session on Friday, Ms. Throne-Holst said. Eventually, the proposal would need to be vetted by the public at a hearing before it can be voted on and approved by the Town Board, Ms. Throne-Holst said.

Under the U-25 zoning, the land could be used for a college or university, and other related uses, such as institutes, hospitals, museums, theaters, laboratories, marine stations, radio stations and other nonprofit enterprises, according to a statement released by Mr. Thiele’s office. The land is currently zoned for 1.5-acre residential lots, according to Jennifer Garvey, a spokeswoman for Ms. Throne-Holst.

About 30 people attended the press conference, said Laura Stephenson, Mr. Thiele’s executive assistant. Officials praised Stony Brook President Samuel L. Stanley for supporting the plan.

“New York State made an investment in the Southampton site being a higher education facility and an investment in the economy of the East End,” Mr. LaValle said in a statement. “The town’s action will cement the state’s vision.”

Officials at the conference also spoke about the Peconic Institute having a home at the campus. The Peconic Institute is a new sustainability organization that will serve all five East End towns that aims to enhance the region’s rural character and natural resources by hosing forums and conducting research.

“The marriage between higher education and business is clearly the economic plan for Long Island’s future through institutions such as Stony Brook, Brookhaven Lab, Hofstra, and Cold Spring Harbor Lab,” said Mr. Thiele in a statement. “Unless we establish our own centers of higher education excellence, the East End will be left at the gate. This proposal is a major step to insure that we are part of Long Island’s future and not an economic backwater.”

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Reverse spot zoning (on land currently owned by the State of New York) may appear at first blush to be a wonderful idea. However. it is somewhat disingenuous to rezone Shinnecock Nation ancestral lands for educational and/or charitable purposes without so much as a mention of a Native American Museum and Learning Center.

I, for one, wonder how the members of the Shinnecock Nation feel when they see the statement: "It’s an institution that has been part of our community tapestry ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Apr 10, 12 9:27 PM
Not easy to find something wrong with this idea, but NTiger managed it. Must have stayed up all night to come up with this one. Can't help thinking NT just wants to beat up on Anna Throne-Holst with whatever limp stick he can find. Same-old, same-old.

Chief 1, on the other hand, makes a good point point in the comment below. It ought to be possible to include some profit-making, job-creating enterprise of a tech/educational nature in the permitted uses without rolling over for the developers. ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Apr 11, 12 2:41 AM
Hey George Lynch. If an article is posted at 4:50 p.m. and a comment is made at 9:27 p.m.m how does it get to be "must have stayed up all night to come up with this one". Like all your other comments here and presumably elsewhere George, not a whole lot of fact.

Southampton College, George was established in 1963. Do you know when the Shinnecock Nation was established George? The fact that none of the elected officials present and reported upon thought to even mention the Native Americans ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Apr 11, 12 5:52 PM
"Stayed up all night" is a figure of speech indicating a great effort. It needn't be taken literally to express that you must have had a very hard time coming up with an objection to a proposal that most people support.

The day that someone actually associated with the Shinnecock Nation raises this objection, I'll pay attention. Until then, we both know that you're not their spokesman. Indeed, they might well be offended by your use of them as a means to attack your political adversaries.

Just ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Apr 12, 12 4:29 AM
Another mandate by goverment to do something that will never succeed or make a profit. God forbid if some Hi Tech company wanted to take over the land and create jobs. Nope we will continue the status quo of setting up for failure. By the way stop the politically correct bs of a Native American museum this state is BROKE and has no business funding anything like it!
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Apr 10, 12 10:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
Ah, step one for the placement of the new Southampton Hospital. And a perfect location it is for that - and a medical teaching facility for nurses, doctors, etc...
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Apr 10, 12 10:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
By Hamptons Seashell (34), Southampton on Apr 10, 12 11:47 PM
Why not re-zone the property to establish a new Southampton Hopsital, and also move the Town of Southampton town hall and other offices. The current Southampton Hospital has been looking for a new location to build a new facility, well the location has access to CR39 as well as Montauk highway with existing traffic lights. As for the Town of Southampton town hall, has anyone tried getting a parking space while visiting. You could move the parks and rec, public safety office, the courts system ...more
By trurepublician (53), hampton bays on Apr 11, 12 8:23 AM
1 member liked this comment