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Feb 24, 2016 11:00 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

'The Hills' Developer Expects To Submit Tweaked Draft Environmental Study Next Month

Feb 24, 2016 12:53 PM

The developer behind a proposed luxury golf course resort targeting nearly 600 acres in East Quogue most likely will resubmit its draft environmental impact statement to Southampton Town next month.

Mark Hissey, vice president of the Arizona-based Discovery Land Company, said this week that his team has been working hard to fix the draft document, commonly referred to as a DEIS, since the Southampton Town Board deemed it “incomplete” on February 9.

“I just did a review yesterday of all the individual items that we pulled out, and we got between 30 and 40 percent of it done already,” said Mr. Hissey, noting that he expects it to be finished sometime in March. “Hopefully, everything will be good and the town will have 30 days to review it.”

The developer is seeking the town’s approval for a planned development district, or PDD—a zoning mechanism that allows increased density in exchange for perceived community benefits—that would allow Discovery Land to build 95 single-family homes, 13 clubhouse cabins and 10 clubhouse condominiums, along with an 18-hole golf course, just off Spinney Road.

While Hissey and his team were working to update the DEIS so it can be resubmitted, they launched a new campaign for their project—one that has been criticized by project opponents as falsely inflating the community benefits of the project. Al Algieri, president of the East Quogue Civic Association, said the fliers greatly exaggerate the developer’s “as of right” use for the property, noting that a large chunk of the land cannot be developed.

Specifically, one of the postcards being circulated state that, if the zoning change is not granted, the developer can build an 118-home subdivision that would generate double the amount of nitrogen that would be produced by the golf course resort.

“Their statistics showing what the PDD has to go through to be approved, and what the as of right has to go through to be approved, is 100-percent wrong,” Mr. Algieri said. “When the town sent back their DEIS one of the main things was that they did not address the ‘as of right’ properly.

“I think it’s just another form of their publicity that’s not true,” he noted. “It’s very simple.”

About two weeks ago, residents of East Quogue began receiving mailings from Discovery Land, postcards outlining the project’s proposed community benefits. The first states that the development would generate some $5 million per year in annual taxes with adding no full-time students to the East Quogue School District. It also notes that the developer would be donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to the district for various upgrades and scholarships. The back of the postcard lists points from the rejected DEIS.

A second postcard was sent to most homeowners on the western side of the Shinnecock Canal. That one detailed some of the project’s environmental benefits, such as the reduction of nitrogen entering local waterways. That was sent to more people because the benefits would also impact those in the surrounding communities, Mr. Hissey said.

“The first one, which pertained to the school district, was just [sent to] East Quogue because the school issue is just for them,” Mr. Hissey said.

He added that the company intends to offer similar mailings in the future.

“The purpose of these cards is that we just want people to sit back and to look at the facts,” Mr. Hissey said. “I think that we have tried our best to put together something that is really going to be for the greater good of the community.”

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... enough with the bluster and robo-written letters to the editor. When all is said and done, every community and level of government will come crashing down on this thing. The facts will speak for themselves. "Putting together something" great for the community, a la Donald Trump, is not workable with this project. Nassau county is in a water crisis because of a disregard for protecting their water supply while at the same time fostering big development.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Feb 24, 16 12:18 PM
What has Dr. Gobbler said about the project? Has he given us a written response to the Environmental Impact Study yet?
By CleanWaters (80), Southampton on Feb 24, 16 1:29 PM
I got yet another mailer from the Hills in my PO box. They say the complete study can be found through the town clerk. I looked. Not true.
The DEIS was returned as incomplete and inadequate by all three consultants, including Dr. Gobler according to the press.
By CleanWater (122), East Quogue on Feb 27, 16 3:11 PM
Al Algieri is right to say that not all of the 600 acres can be developed as of right, so let's not go thinking that the as of right alternative would be an unmitigated disaster.

Also, it's clear that as of right is not as good a deal for the developer as the PDD, or he wouldn't have applied for the PDD. So how much worse is the as of right route? Enough that the developer will walk away entirely if he doesn't get the PDD? Enough that he'll risk less and build less than he could?

We ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Feb 24, 16 2:45 PM
2 members liked this comment
Mark Hissey is the same guy who represented Michael Pascucci in the Sebonac Golf course PDD (formerly the Baybery Land estate). Unlike Bayberry Land, there's no pledge for an all organic golf course at The Hills. Another disaster in the making.
By kvetch (14), Southold on Feb 24, 16 3:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
Michael Pascucci wanted Sebonac to be organic. He tried. It didn't work.
By CleanWater (122), East Quogue on Feb 25, 16 5:39 PM
Anyone see the video of Sebonack's superintendent spraying toxic chemicals?
They removed the video from the web! But, my hat is off to Sebonack for at least trying to go "chemical free".
By FiddlerCrab (96), Westhampton Beach on Feb 27, 16 9:40 AM
The Hills' Developer Expects To Submit Tweaked Draft Environmental Study Next Month

Report from Kyle Collins:
"Based on the findings of these reports, the Department of Land Management recommends that the Town Board deem the Hills at Southampton DEIS incomplete and inadequate for public review."

Read the reports.

Seems like a lot more than a "tweak" is needed here.
By CleanWater (122), East Quogue on Mar 15, 16 8:42 AM
The Town Board doesn't need to pay consultants to review 'The Hills" massive request for a zone change --- all the board needs to do is read the developers many circulars and infomercials for all the information. They wouldn't misrepresent anything, would they...?
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on Mar 19, 16 12:26 AM