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Southampton Town Candidates Sound Off: The Hills Project in East Quogue

Find out which candidates support the project and which don't.

The East Quogue community has been divided a project, known as the Hills, which aims to bring a championship 18-hole golf course and 82 homes to 400 vacant acres on Lewis Road.

Those in support say it will be a boon to the economy, while other argue the project is bad for the environment.

Recently, Patch asked Southampton supervisor candidates, Anna-Throne Holst and Linda Kabot, as well as town board candidates, Brad Bender, Frank Zappone, Sanley Glinka and Jeffrey Mansfield, their thoughts on the proposal. The following is a round-up of what they had to say. 

Supervisor Candidate Responses: 

Throne-Holst:  The hills project is similar to the Canoe Place Inn PDD. Right now, the town board must determine if it should allow the developers to move forward to the formal application and enter the public hearing phase. That said, I think recognizing the environmental sensitivity of that proposal is important.

Kabot: I am in favor of continuing the review process for the Hills Planned Development District (PDD).  The purpose of the hearings to date on a pre-application was to determine whether or not to encourage the developer to file a formal application and proceed with detailed environmental review of the proposal.  As this proposal includes an 18-hole golf course and multi-unit resort housing development, it will require a full-blown scoping session and preparation of an Environmental Impact Study, should the Town Board vote affirmatively on the pre-application that is currently pending.
It is very early in the process for me to offer substantive comments, other than to note that the proposal appears to be consistent with the East Quogue Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) which had ample public participation and was adopted in 2008 as an Update to the Town’s Comprehensive Plan.  Upon preliminary review, I also perceive the proposed project to be more beneficial to the community than a straightforward subdivision of 80+ single family homes, similar to the “Southampton Pines/Chardonnay Woods” developments.  Such as-of-right residential development, rather than resort development with attendant covenants that the Hills proposes within the context of a PDD, would generate many school-age children and the resultant concern for increased school taxes.  The PDD proposal also has been presented as providing over 75% of the site area as preserved forested land, and that is exclusive of the golf course acreage and without any outlay of community preservation funds.

Town Board Candidate Responses: 

Bender: 
The property should be preserved. As this piece is atop a critical aquifer this is the most logical action.

Glinka: This project could provide a significant impact to the area.

Zappone: As you know, the town had made an offer to purchase this property through the CPF funds, everyone's first choice. But, the owner rejected that offer. The CPF law requires that any offer for such properties made by the town must be based on two independent appraisals and an offer price cannot exceed that appraisal by more than 10 percent. That is a legal constraint. I do feel that the as of right for this property presents some very real concerns primarily too much density in a sensitive aquifer area.  As a result, the PDD process may be the best way to protect the interest of the community which rightly focus on density and impact on the aquifer. The PDD process allows for the town to exercise control over the site issues and over the waste water treatment requirements as well as meaningful community benefit requirements. The as of right process eliminates those controls. That said, I think the best option available to the board, unless the developer would reconsider the CPF offer, to protect the interest of the community is to move forward within the PDD process and see what design options the developer can present. The board, of course, has the right to reject any design presented.

Mansfield: The Hills proposal is in its infancy. I understand the concerns about the project’s location over our precious aquifer, but I believe this proposal needs to be fully vetted, because in our haste to protect water quality, I see the possibility that we could end up with an "as of right" development that ends up being denser and doing more damage to the aquifer. Finally, we need to look carefully as to how the project will impact the local schools and business district from a perspective of tax revenues versus services used. I promise that I will be with the residents on this process every step of the way.

To find out how the candidates feel about the Canoe Place Inn project in Hampton Bays, click here.  

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