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Oct 9, 2019 7:45 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Quogue Residents Will Vote On Village Incorporation Next Week

Yard signs in East Quogue for the village incorporation. ANISAH ABDULLAH
Oct 10, 2019 1:52 PM


What started as a grassroots campaign by a group of residents two years ago to create a village in East Quogue, has turned into a divisive election that will bring residents both for and against incorporation to the polls next Thursday.

The special election, held by the Suffolk County Board of Elections, is happening on Thursday, October 17, from noon to 9 p.m. at East Quogue Elementary School. Results of the vote will be announced shortly after the polls close that night.

The East Quogue Village Exploratory Committee had spent the last two years developing a plan to incorporate the hamlet, which included submitting several petitions to the town, hosting community meetings and fundraising events, composing a comprehensive budget and creating a three-year plan for the future, if the village were to be formed. The committee’s 15 members will see if their work paid off come Thursday.

“We’re definitely excited that we have made it this far,” committee Co-Chair Karen Kooi said. “We’re working hard for next Thursday to get the word out about the vote and hope that people will look at the facts and make a decision based on the facts.”

Many residents remain unconvinced that becoming a village is the best decision for their hamlet, as some are content with the way things are now and some are still skeptical that the incorporation will occur in the manner that the committee says it will, despite efforts by members to quell any concerns.

Much of the community skepticism stems from Discovery Land Company’s application currently before the Southampton Town Planning Board that proposes to build a luxury golf course resort in East Quogue. Residents have said that they believe Discovery Land is behind this push to become a village, but committee members have denied that claim.

Committee members previously said that their reason for forming two years ago was because of the town’s handling of Discovery Land’s original application. They have also said recently that Discovery Land has no influence on the committee’s incorporation efforts.

Some residents who are against the golf course proposal fear that if the plans do not get approved by the town, Discovery Land will turn around and submit them to the Village of East Quogue, which would technically be permitted once all necessary village boards, legislation and codes are created. Nothing to that end has been confirmed or denied, and it is unclear whether that has even been a topic of discussion.

Plans are currently moving forward with the town, and the Planning Board is expected to decide on the approval for the preliminary subdivision application on October 24.

“The decisions going forward will not be ours. They will be the decisions of the people who get elected, and that will be made by the people of East Quogue, who choose the people to be elected,” Ms. Kooi said on behalf of the committee. “We’ve prepared as much as we can with a budget that works and with a plan that works. After that, it’s up to the people of East Quogue.”

“We are not here to rule East Quogue. That is not our intention at all,” she continued. “We’ve done our work.”

Ms. Kooi noted that only one of the committee’s members had expressed interest in running for village office, although she did not specify who or which position. One member, former Southampton Town Supervisor Patrick “Skip” Heaney, declined to say whether he is interested in running for mayor.

The divisiveness for the vote is visible throughout the hamlet. A short drive through the neighborhoods reveals a clear divide, with countless yard signs posted along the streets either for or against the incorporation, some that show discord between direct neighbors.

White anti-village signs read, “Vote No to Higher Taxes,” while blue and yellow pro-village signs read, “Keep Taxes Low, Protect East Quogue,” and “Lower Density = Lower Taxes, Local Control = Local Values.”

If the hamlet were to be incorporated, the committee asserts that property taxes would raise by only about $50 per year for a house assessed at $500,000. The reason for such a small tax increase is because the village would continue to use Southampton Town’s police, highway and parks departments, according to committee members. Taxes that residents already pay for those services would carry over.

This model mimics that of the Village of Sagaponack, which established a similar intermunicipal agreement with the town in 2006, less than a year after incorporating. Committee members saw the success of that agreement and have said that it could work in East Quogue as well.

Kathleen Murray, the deputy town attorney, pointed out that such an intermunicipal agreement would have to be established and negotiated between the current Town Board and whomever would make up the East Quogue Village Board.

The attorney also noted that Southampton Town residents should not be impacted if the village incorporates.

“Whatever services the village wants to procure from the town, the town would typically provide to them at the cost that it takes for the town to provide those services — so no gain and no loss to the town,” she wrote in an email. “The town is not in the business, so to speak, to make money or to lose money on any incorporation in terms of providing services — it just has to cover its costs.”

The exploratory committee is hosting a final informational meeting on Thursday, October 10, one week before the vote, at 7 p.m. at East Quogue Elementary School.

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Nothing “grassroots” about being backed by a corporation.
By 2329702 (67), East Quogue on Oct 10, 19 11:53 AM
......and having an employee of that corporation, Jessica Insalaca, as a spokesperson fo this "grassroots" group
By zappy (65), east quogue on Oct 10, 19 12:41 PM
3 members liked this comment
Wham bam the village is a scam
A tool for developers to transform pristine land
A Playland for the exclusionary that's what there might just be
Unwelcome are most others who can't afford the fee.
The Bay can't afford it either and Neither can the soil
Greed fed monsters commonly
cause folks blood to boil.
By MikeMirino (10), east quogue on Oct 10, 19 4:15 PM
I attended the informational meeting tonight and the committee's dais was wide. Their Attorney had 50 years of experience working on Village matters. That is remarkable, he answered many questions. My question however did not make the time cut. Does there exist on Long Island, an Incorporated village that has a separate gated community within it's borders?
By MikeMirino (10), east quogue on Oct 11, 19 1:33 AM
Hi Mike, I can tell you that Northaven right here in Sag Harbor does. But other than that without doing a tremendous amount of work and researching the hundreds of villages one by one we can't answer that question with any certainty.
By David Celi (1), Hampton Bays on Oct 11, 19 8:32 AM
1 member liked this comment
I went to EQVEC meeting for the first time on Thursday. They had 10 plus speakers about why we should incorporate, they had us write any questions we had on index cards but because of the length of speakers very few of the questions were actually answered. What a huge waste of time that meeting was, it was more like a pro village presentation. I wanted my questions answered not to attend a pro-village, pro-Hills rally. Which was exactly what it was.
"Committee members previously said that ...more
By Miss K. (103), East Quogue on Oct 13, 19 2:02 PM
3 members liked this comment
In addition to sending anonymous mailers, the opposition has now sunk to attacking the character of committee members. We are all apparently in it for personal gain. We couldn’t possibly be doing this because we care about where we live, right? So I ask you this…what is the personal gain for driving the ambulance, for fighting fires, for serving on the school board, the PTO, the CAC, the Historical Society, the Chamber of Commerce or the Beautification Committee? What is the personal ...more
By cmac (184), EAST QUOGUE on Oct 13, 19 2:50 PM
2 members liked this comment
Who is "the opposition"? Anyone who doesn't want to pay an additional tax bill or add yet another layer of government? It's odd that you view us as "the opposition", like you are running for political office. We are all in the same community. BTW, I didn't send out "anonymous mailers", but whomever sent the mailers, thank you, as it made all residents now aware of the vote, a lot of our older citizens aren't on social media.
By 2329702 (67), East Quogue on Oct 14, 19 8:53 AM
1 member liked this comment
What's wrong with mailers being anonymous?
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Oct 14, 19 11:05 AM
2 members liked this comment
CMAC I do not know you but with all due respect can you promise us that none of the businesses owned by members of the East Quogue exploratory committee will have contracts in the future with discovery lands Lewis Road development? I think a lot of residents are concerned with possible conflicts of interest. Thank you.
By 2329702 (67), East Quogue on Oct 13, 19 3:32 PM
Of the 15 member committee there are two businesses that could possibly bid for work should Southampton Town approve the Lewis Rd PRD. Coincidentally they are both electricians so they would have to bid not only against each other, but other electrical contractors as well. There is no guarantee that either would win the bid and with all due respect, there are much easier ways for them to get business.
By cmac (184), EAST QUOGUE on Oct 13, 19 3:57 PM
Any local business that advocates to increase my taxes so that they might gain business from the 130 new homes that may be on the horizon will no longer be getting my business.
By zappy (65), east quogue on Oct 15, 19 8:43 AM
2 members liked this comment
I’m not talking about TOS. I’m talking about the potential EQ village. Yes I am aware of the two electrical companies but you’ve failed to address the other business owners. Plus your own family business.
I think there’s better ways to gain representation other than changing our hamlet into a village. Have any committee members ever run to be on the Southampton Town board?
By 2329702 (67), East Quogue on Oct 13, 19 4:11 PM
I failed to mention my own family business? You asked about businesses that could have contracts in the future with Discovery's Lewis Rd development did you not?
By cmac (184), EAST QUOGUE on Oct 13, 19 4:20 PM
Every member of this "Exploratory Committee" is a Discovery Land groupie. They all drink the Kool Aid. I went to the first public meeting of the "Exploratory Committee" at Dockers. To paraphrase...the first sentence spoken was "Welcome!" The second sentence was "We are forming this committee so that we can approve the Hills Project. The third sentence was "Gee, maybe we shouldn't be saying this?"

CMAC, whether you have a business interest in the Hills or not your "Exploratory Committee" ...more
By wil (5), East Quogue on Oct 13, 19 8:00 PM
3 members liked this comment
I am not in EQ and usually don't weigh in, but I don't understand why people are conflating the Hills with the Village. Maybe some of the same people supported the Hills and are part of the Committee, but I don't see the direct connection. Maybe that was just the tipping point for the movement. As a HB resident who is completely frustrated with the lack of representation on the TOS Board (even though we have a resident on the Board), why wouldn't people want some control and self-determination? ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Oct 14, 19 7:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
I believe that Discovery will have the last laugh when they award all of their work, if this debacle does come to pass, to the loyal Long Island Builders Association lobbyists who were at all of their meetings despite living in areas as far away as Northport. They are using the EQVC as shills and pawns.
By zappy (65), east quogue on Oct 14, 19 11:57 AM
1 member liked this comment
G. A. - Your input is welcome. You don't have to be an EQ resident to see through this sham. The Hampton Bays incorporation was more locally focused. The EQ incorporation is strictly a corporate affair

It is known fact that The Hills - Discovery Land connection with this "Committee" is from DAY 1. The "Committee" does not deny this - they would just rather not discuss it. It just doesn't fit the latest "local control/lower taxes (laughable) and less density" narrative that they are now ...more
By wil (5), East Quogue on Oct 14, 19 7:31 PM
3 members liked this comment
East Quogue Village residents will still have all the services that Southampton performs for all Town taxpaying residents including Police, Highway, Parks, and others. The Village has the option to opt out of any Town services. Highway, Police, and Parks are not going to be one of them. These Town services will continue as is.
By A Great American (103), East Quogue on Oct 14, 19 11:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wil, one of my main issues that the hamlets have NO representation on the TOS Board since it is an at-large council and the chief executive officer (Supervisor) has too much power. The villages are protected by their government plus the village government is a vehicle to raise money (even from the TOS as in the case with WHB Main Street re-development). I am transferring my frustration about the situation in HB on EQ. My pet peeve is too many people who don't live in an area have a lot to say ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Oct 15, 19 6:18 AM
2 members liked this comment
GA: I could not agree with you more that a village structure would absolutely enhance local control for EQ residents and if this was the real and honest driving force of the Committee I would vote "Yes" for incorporation. However, local control and less density are only catch phrases recently adopted by the Committee to defect their real goal which is to be the water carriers for an Arizona based, privately held corporation. The goal of Discovery Land is to suck a ton of $$$$$$ out of the well of ...more
By wil (5), East Quogue on Oct 16, 19 8:40 PM
2 members liked this comment
Th village structure affords the area self determination. The local people decide not some unelected board. There will be elections if you don't want Discovery Lands vote in a slate of anti golf course trustees and Mayor. The tax disparity alone is enough to embrace the village form of government. All the villages pay a much lower tax rate than the hamlets and have much better governmental services like code enforcement.
By HB salvation (27), Hampton bays on Oct 15, 19 11:08 PM
HB: Rather than going through all of the hassle of getting together a "...slate of anti golf course trustees and Mayor." it is far easier to simply vote "NO" to incorporation. This Village idea will go down in flames tomorrow and I do hope all of the well meaning volunteers on the Committee and their handlers at Discovery Land will please accept the vote and stop dividing the community. EQ is a great place with fine people. Let's keep it that way. PLEASE.
By wil (5), East Quogue on Oct 16, 19 8:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
Who is Richard Blows and why is he sending my stepdaughter and I personal letters urging us to vote yes?????
By 2329702 (67), East Quogue on Oct 16, 19 10:47 AM
Privacy violation-I got email to vote yes.How did they get my personal email address?What type of people want to run EQ?VOTE NO!!!
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Oct 16, 19 11:28 AM
1 member liked this comment
Discovery Land currently has a $100 million lawsuit against the Southampton Town Board challenging their denial of The Hills PDD. Let’s say the new Village of EQ is created and for some reason rejects Discovery Land”s new building plan (everyone knows it’s coming.) Who foots the bill for the new $100 million lawsuit against the Village of EQ? This has been asked quite a few times in various forums but I have yet to hear a clear answer.
By reddog14 (2), EQ on Oct 16, 19 3:45 PM
4 members liked this comment
... at the end of the day, the only thing the committee behind this incorporation can guarantee is second tax bill with a tax increase - they have admitted it.

Schneiderman has put forth a town budget with a 6% tax decrease for 2020.

The reason incorporated villages have fallen apart is because they can not raise enough revenue to sustain themselves. The only alternative is to raise taxes. This is why Mastic Beach went down the tubes.

Stick with a 6% tax decrease and ...more
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Oct 16, 19 4:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
What hysteria ultimately what happens with Thursday’s vote will really not decide if Discovery Lands gets its golf course. The village government however is an Important protection for residents of EQ. This is especially true in a town that is looking to Urbanize areas to locate workforce and affordable housing. Look what is propose for Hampton Bays. A huge residential development that will crush home owners with even higher taxes. The area is already struggling with highest tax rate in the ...more
By HB salvation (27), Hampton bays on Oct 16, 19 7:34 PM
It appears that those who support the Incorporated Village will gain personally. TAXES WILL INCREASE SUBSTANTIALLY with no added benefits. VOTE NO
By kpjc (161), east quogue on Oct 16, 19 9:35 PM
3 members liked this comment
just got a robocall from one of the Committee Members, how did they get my cell phone number?! I NEVER get robocalls on my cell. VERY UNHAPPY THE COMMITTEE IS MINING MY PERSONAL DATA! Shows clear desperation on their part!
By 2329702 (67), East Quogue on Oct 17, 19 10:48 AM
Spoiler alert- it didn't pass. I hope Discovery Land gets the hint that we don't want them here in any capacity. Sell the land back to the town. Cut your losses and leave.
By LocalEnthusiast (23), East Quogue on Oct 17, 19 9:47 PM
3 members liked this comment