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Apr 4, 2017 3:30 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Trustees Request A Role In Review Of East Quogue Golf Resort Plan

The Southampton Town Trustees are demanding lead agency status with regards to all areas of
Apr 4, 2017 4:31 PM

The Southampton Town Trustees are demanding lead agency status with regards to all areas that fall under their jurisdiction—in this instance, the bottoms of Weesuck Creek and Shinnecock Bay—in relation to a proposed luxury golf course development targeting nearly 600 acres in East Quogue.

Dated March 26, the letter penned by the Trustees asks the Town Board to hand over its review of the potential impact of the development, called “The Hills at Southampton” and proposed by Arizona-based Discovery Land Company, to them. Stressing that they are “the owners in trust of the bottomlands” of all bodies of water in the town, including Shinnecock Bay and Weesuck Creek, via the 1686 Dongan Patent, the Trustees wrote that they should review any application that could potentially impact the town’s natural resources.

“We are saying if any portion of the project pushes into the Trustees’ jurisdiction, they need to work with the Trustees,” Trustee Scott Horowitz said on Tuesday, referring to the Town Board.

But Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, whose board is continuing to review hundreds of comments shared during four extensive public hearings held on the project’s draft environmental impact statement, said this week that he is not inclined to honor the request.

“We are the lead agency on The Hills,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “The Hills doesn’t affect the bay bottoms.”

Trustee President Ed Warner Jr. said this week that the letter submitted to the Town Board needs to be carefully reviewed, as it could be easily misconstrued to read that they want to assume lead agency status for the entire project. Rather, he noted, the Trustees only want a seat at the table if one of the project’s public benefits—which are required if Discovery Land wants the Town Board to approve special zoning called a planned development district—will directly affect the bay bottoms.

In their letter, the Trustees note that the public has expressed concerns over the development’s potential impact on the health of nearby Shinnecock Bay and the already impaired Weesuck Creek.

Discovery Land Vice President Mark Hissey said on Tuesday that his company is already doing its part to help clean up local bays, noting that last year it donated $1,500 to the Moriches Bay Project to help improve the quality of water in that nearby body of water. He added that one of public benefits of The Hills would be the donation of an estimated $500,000 to fund similar reseeding efforts in Shinnecock Bay.

“We recognize there’s an issue with a preexisting condition down at western Shinnecock Bay,” Mr. Hissey said. “Part of our project is we are giving close to a half million dollars to try to help the situation by way of shellfish seeding and eelgrass.”

Still, Mr. Warner and his fellow Trustees say they deserve a seat at the table when it comes to mapping a plan to restore Weesuck Creek and Shinnecock Bay.

“Whatever happens on the uplands should have zero effect on the bay,” Mr. Warner said.

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Where have they been for the past two years or more? Don't they read the paper?
By VOS (1241), WHB on Apr 4, 17 10:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
I smell a rat.

At best, this could be a clever delaying tactic. Does that mean the Trustees are on the developer's side? No, it could just be that someone sympathetic to the developer dropped the idea that the Trustees should be involved as a board, and the Trustees picked it up. This would be a natural ploy for an applicant desperate to gain some more time when time is running out and things are looking bad for the application.

Of course, it could be more than that. It could ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Apr 5, 17 11:02 AM
There are a lot of things the trustee president doesn't "get" and most of them are much simpler than this issue. Just worry about the clams
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Apr 6, 17 8:02 AM
You need not have a highly evolved olfactory system to smell what you smell. This move is so transparent you would think the players trying to perpetrate this would be embarrassed. But nothing embarrasses them. $$$$$$$$$
By CleanWater (122), East Quogue on Apr 5, 17 8:37 PM