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Jan 1, 2013 2:21 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Poxabogue Sale Will Be Finalized Sometime In Early 2013

Jan 8, 2013 10:45 AM

East Hampton Town’s sale of its share of the Poxabogue Golf Center to the property’s co-owner, Southampton Town, has been more than a year in the making and won’t be finalized until sometime this year.

The closing has been held up over an error in the way the Sagaponack Village executive-length golf course, driving range and restaurant was classified in state legislation that authorized East Hampton Town to sell its portion of the 39-acre property to Southampton Town for $2.2 million, according to State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. in a recent email.

According to state law, the sale of parkland requires an authorization by the legislature, Mr. Thiele said in an email. A bill to allow the sale of the nine-hole course was introduced, approved and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this year—but since the property was improperly classified, the bill needs to be amended and reintroduced, Mr. Thiele said.

The mistake was discovered when Southampton Town approached Mr. Thiele sometime in November to ask whether it could use Community Preservation Fund revenues to purchase the restaurant on the site, he said. “In reviewing the survey and description, it becomes obvious that the towns provided the wrong description for the property,” Mr. Thiele said. “The description only covers a portion of the property to be conveyed; therefore, they have not been able to close. I have now gotten the correct description and will be filing a correction bill this month that the legislature will adopt early in 2013.”

The rerouting of helicopter traffic to East Hampton Airport over Southampton Town homes last summer also could be a reason for the holdup on the sale, guessed East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, if politics were the reason.

“The only event that transpired that would have caused perhaps a political delay was the fact that Councilman [Dominick] Stanzione rerouted aircraft over many of Southampton and other towns’ constituents,” he said. “I would hope that there not be a cause-and-effect associated with that decision by a single councilperson, but it is obvious that many of the neighboring towns were clearly upset at that change of aircraft routes.”

Mr. Stanzione didn’t return a call or an email seeking comment. Southampton Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato, however, maintained that “one thing has nothing to do with the other.”

“I can’t close on a property that I don’t have title insurance on,” she said. “And if East Hampton doesn’t have the authority to sell the property to the Town of Southampton, I can’t close on it. It would be completely irresponsible of Southampton Town to close on the purchase without East Hampton having the authority to close on it. We have been willing, ready and able to close.”

The two towns purchased the land in March 2004 for $6.5 million, partnering to keep the course out of the hands of a developer who wanted to build houses there, and maintaining it as a municipal golf facility. Southampton Town used CPF proceeds to buy its share; East Hampton Town couldn’t tap its CPF because the course is located outside of the town, so the municipality had to borrow its share of the money. Selling its share in the course would help financially strapped East Hampton Town reduce its debt load.

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