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Dec 6, 2016 2:32 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hills Opponents Offer Alternative Plan For East Quogue Property

The Southampton Town Board during The Hills public hearing. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Dec 6, 2016 3:58 PM

For nearly three years, the developer behind a proposed luxury golf course resort, called “The Hills at Southampton, which targets nearly 600 acres in East Quogue—the largest swath of undeveloped land remaining on the South Fork—has repeatedly stated that it could always build 118 single-family homes on its property “as of right” if the Southampton Town Board rejects its change of zone application.

But on Monday night, at the second of four public hearings on the planned development district application filed by Arizona-based Discovery Land Company, which attracted several hundred people, environmentalists and project opponents once again disputed those claims. But this time they provided an actual plan that, they say, puts 88 residential units on the property under current 5-acre residential zoning, the most restrictive in the town—creating a resort-style development that would not require a change of zone.

Bob DeLuca, president of the Group for the East End, a nonprofit based in Southold that often reviews the potential environmental impact of proposed developments, and Lisa Liquori, an environmental planning consultant and a former East Hampton Town planning director who was hired by the Group to come up with an reduced density plan, on Monday argued that Discovery Land is not guaranteed 118 units “as of right”—and that a reduced density plan, like they one they provided with only 88 residential units, about 25 percent fewer—could be mandated by the town via the planning process.

That proposed reduced impact alternative under existing zoning, which was presented by Mr. DeLuca and Ms. Liquori for the first time at Monday night’s hearing at the East Quogue Elementary School, clusters 64 lots that can accommodate single-family homes, as well as space for 24 cottages, and some sort of pool, along with a spa and fitness center. It also permits the construction of an equestrian lodge, horse paddocks and a 100-foot-by-200-foot horse riding arena—but no golf course.

“We want to show you what good planning and good development design can look on a development like this,” Ms. Liquori said while addressing the board, prompting a roar from audience members opposed to the project.

Others who took to the podium on Monday night again reiterated their belief that the developer has been incorrectly stating, at various hearings and its own advertising mailed to homeowners in western Southampton Town, that it can construct up to 118 single-family homes “as of right.” Some went as far as to call those claims false, charging that Discovery Land is trying to build support for its project, which also calls for the construction of an 18-hole golf course, by repeatedly stating that it could still build 118 homes even if the town rejects its planned development district application.

“There is no such thing as ‘as of right,’” Carolyn Zenk, a former Southampton Town Board member and an environmental attorney, said from the podium, adding that the draft environmental impact statement approved by the town lacks the proper yield maps for the land, which is actually several properties, not all of which are interconnected. “It’s a lie that’s been perpetuated by the developer.”

Ann Algieri of East Quogue, the spouse of East Quogue Civic Association President Al Algieri, also argued that the developer’s “as of right” claims are incorrect as they fail to take into consideration the strict building restrictions on portions of the land, part of which falls in the compatible growth area of the Pine Barrens.

“There is no ‘as of right,’” Ms. Algieri said, echoing Ms. Zenk. “Under the state environmental review act—SEQRA—there is no right that allows a developer to destroy the environment.”

But Discovery Land Vice President Mark Hissey, who has stated that the developer’s plan for 118 homes and a golf course is the more environmentally friendly option on the table as his company plans to install an on-site sewage treatment facility for the homes and also line the course’s greens and tee boxes—all to limit the amount of nitrogen entering the groundwater—dismissed the proposal presented on Monday when reached on Tuesday.

The company had presented a reduced density plan, as requested by the town, which showed 94 units scattered on the site. But Mr. Hissey rejected the sketch provided by Mr. DeLuca and Ms. Liquori, which trades the golf course for a resort setting that would feature an equestrian element instead.

“We’re just not in the equestrian business, to be honest,” Mr. Hissey said of the proposal by Mr. DeLuca and Ms. Liquori. “It’s like trying to force us to open a steak restaurant when we’re good at making Italian food.”

He later added: “The whole idea that they were making a presentation—sort of proposing a project on land they don’t own—seems pretty bizarre. I never heard of that happening before.”

In a prior interview, Mr. Hissey had explained that calculating the number of homes that could be constructed on the site requires only basic division: He argues that the developer can build 118 homes because it owns 592 acres, and the zoning for the land is 5-acre zoning.

“People will say, ‘But you can’t develop all of that,’” Mr. Hissey said at the time. “But that doesn’t mean that you lose those development rights.”

Wayne Bruyn, the attorney representing Discovery Land, said during Monday’s public hearing that 11 different alternatives were included in the developer’s draft environmental impact study, which was deemed complete in September by the Town Board. He also noted that the document provides different options, including one that proposes only 94 units along with an 18-hole golf course.

“Several comments suggested we didn’t consider alternatives,” Mr. Bruyn said, referring to some of those who addressed the board during the first public hearing held in mid-November. “[The DEIS] addresses seven different alternatives.”

Those attending Monday night’s hearing remained split on the application filed by Discovery Land, with an equal number of opponents asking the Town Board to either approve or reject the plan.

The developer is looking to build 118 residential units and an 18-hole golf course on 168 acres near Spinney Road in East Quogue. The units would include 95 single-family homes, 13 clubhouse cabins and 10 clubhouse condominiums. The remaining land would be left as open space.

If the town rejects the application, the developer still insists that it could construct up to 118 residential units on the property—a statement that continues to be challenged by project opponents, including those who are charging that the developers have failed to factor in the topography of the land, as well as the need to set aside space for the installation of roads and drainage, and other elements of the planning process. Those factors, opponents argue, should reduce the number of units that the developer is allowed to construct if the Town Board rejects the application.

Many of those same individuals point out that Discovery Land originally intended to build 82 homes and a golf course. But in February 2014, shortly after the Town Board approved its pre-application, officials representing the developers announced that they were buying two additional nearby properties, called the Kracke and Parlato properties, and transferring their development rights to the main lot—a move that, the say, would allow them to build an additional 36 units. Those properties total 156 acres and sit about a half mile east of the main Hills property.

The third hearing on the application’s draft environmental impact statement will be held on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, at Southampton Town Hall and begins at 6 p.m.

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110 summer homes on 600 acres is not intense use of land. Ridiculous
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 6, 16 2:57 PM
Continued NIMBYism in the Hamptons.
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Dec 6, 16 3:04 PM
who is the nimby please? the lcoals who live here or the development company from Arizona that isn't developing Arizona ?
By david h (405), southampton on Dec 9, 16 6:52 PM
It should be noted that many proponents of the golf course project have a direct tie to DLC. Money is flowing in the direction of residents who are compensated in one way or another for their positive comments. Jobs at Dune Deck, cash and/or promised deals are all the order of the day for DLC in their fervent race to make this golf course development a done deal. Opponents of the project have nothing to gain but peace of mind that the water and land will remain free from the cesspool of pollutants ...more
By EastEndJoy (16), East Quogue on Dec 6, 16 4:44 PM
If not a direct tie to DLC then to the lobbyists, The Long Island Business Institute. In fact, in the October 2016 newsletter which can be found online, LIBI requests that all of their members jump on board and help promote this project for their fellow member, DLC. That is where the carpetbaggers at the meetings are coming from.
By zappy (65), east quogue on Dec 6, 16 7:34 PM
Do you have a link to that article? I'm fuming mad at that collaboration...incredible. Thank you!
By dalapine (5), hampton bays on Dec 13, 16 10:21 PM
“The whole idea that they were making a presentation—sort of proposing a project on land they don’t own—seems pretty bizarre. I never heard of that happening before.”

As I watched this presentation I thought "These people have jumped the shark". proposing that a developer redo his entire site plan, change the very nature of the project is preposterous. DLC knows what sells. They have an excellent track record of success. Bob Deluca is a Bureaucrat. He's never ...more
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Dec 6, 16 5:23 PM
EEJ hope u have proof of your comments and if so please expand on who is reaping the benefits.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Dec 6, 16 5:38 PM
If you attend the meetings and listen carefully, you will quickly realize that those speaking in favor are those from the Long Island Builder's Institute, although Lois Fricke the Operations Director for these lobbyists failed to mention her affiliation last night. There are a myriad of real estate agents, landscapers, pool companies, restauranteurs hungry for new customers, and the few local people recently hired by Discovery in positions such as director of marketing or other positions. They ...more
By zappy (65), east quogue on Dec 6, 16 7:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
I listened intently as those for and against "The Hills" spoke last night. Those of us who live in EQ chuckled as we heard a couple speak in favor of the project. What struck us as particularly funny was their perception that "The Hamptons" needs this golf course and most "Hamptonites" favor this project because of the golf course. Sadly this mind set is not what defines the majority of those who live in EQ. It was a very long public hearing and one of the residents who lives in EQ got up and ...more
By crusader (391), East Quogue on Dec 6, 16 6:32 PM
Agreed however, didn't the Peconic Land trust offer to purchase the property? Why isn't that still on the table? I'm afraid I was out of town and couldn't attend the meeting : (
By dalapine (5), hampton bays on Dec 13, 16 10:29 PM
Mouthampton pleased explain to confused me who the NIMBY is ?
Is it the development company from arizona or the east quogue'rs ?
I can't figure out because nimby makes me think the Arizona Corporation could build all this in their own backyard..
By dave h (193), calverton on Dec 6, 16 6:47 PM
Most in East Quoque live in a year round house on a quarter acre. These are houses basically used 3 months a year on 5 acres. Can you say ignorant hypocrites?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 6, 16 6:53 PM
Its not the houses rather the golf course that is the problem. Current zoning is in place to allow them to build houses. They want to change the zoning to allow a golf course. BTW I am not an ignorant hypocrite!
By crusader (391), East Quogue on Dec 6, 16 7:20 PM
I am an East Quogue resident and an avid golfer. I moved to East Quogue for its charm and beautiful water access. As their website clearly describes, DLC's marketing approach is to sell their projects as a destination resort - 95% to 100% of buyers do not use it as a primary residence. We are not a destination resort - we are a community.

If you want to join our community, please do, yet accept us for what we are - a 12 month community that is inclusive - not exclusive to the fly over ...more
By kjmraven (19), East Quogue on Dec 6, 16 9:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
“The whole idea that they were making a presentation—sort of proposing a project on land they don’t own—seems pretty bizarre.'

just saying -- this is true. It's between the community in East Quogue,The town, and the developer. Who are these guys? Why do they even get the podium, and who is paying them?
By fire11 (276), east hampton on Dec 6, 16 10:58 PM
“The whole idea that they were making a presentation—sort of proposing a project on land they don’t own—seems pretty bizarre.'

just saying -- this is true. It's between the community in East Quogue,The town, and the developer. Who are these guys? Why do they even get the podium, and who is paying them?
By fire11 (276), east hampton on Dec 6, 16 10:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
As the environmentalist attorney said at last nights meeting -
"Why substitute the developers 'science' for the Town's science".

The Cornell study (done at this site) told the Town they could protect our drinking water and run-off to the bays by limiting pesticides, fertilizers, carcinogenic chemicals, etc - by up zoning the entire area to 5 acres per home. The Town adopted their recommendations!!!

This became the 'Aquifer Protection Overlay District'.

This ...more
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on Dec 7, 16 9:34 AM
Every large development built in the Town of Southampton in the last 25 years had to be CLUSTERED on less land than the zone
calls for:
If zoning called for 1 home per 5 acres === what must be built is 1
home and 4 acres of open space (in these developments).

The current law says: subdivisions must be clustered and provide (at least)
65% contiguous open space.

These laws that are currently on there books today.

By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on Dec 7, 16 9:47 AM
We must all remember, this is not some arbitrary piece of land. IT IS THE PINE BARRENS!!!!! Let them build a "nitrogen neutral" golf course (they don't mention pesticicides, fungicides and other treatmenrts they will use to keep the course PGA approved) on land that is not protected by so many agencies. BTW, how will they dispose of the grass clippings full of nitrogen from the 100 acre golf course?
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Dec 7, 16 11:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
omg your right they will need a truck
By Undocumented Democrat (2065), southampton on Dec 7, 16 1:49 PM
They will need a truck.... deals off
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Dec 7, 16 1:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
Of all the speakers at the 12/5 hearing (over 100 people reserved speaking slots), the most touching, and the most deceived, were a few parents of East Quogue school children pleading for the project's approval. They believe The Hills will benefit the money-strapped local school financially, by grants and taxes, so that their kids will receive a better education.

We all know there's nothing that gets to us more than a mother or father begging on behalf of their child. The developer knows ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 7, 16 11:52 AM
The Hills will not only add to the school districts budget, but it will also benefit the East Quogue Fire District.

Before you start saying that this project will ultimately add students to the school district, you should probably do some research on DLC. They don't allow year round use of properties. Period.

By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Dec 7, 16 9:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
Your arrogance is stunning. Your contempt and disrespect for these parents is repulsive. You are insinuating that these parents aren't intelligent enough to make the right decisions for their families.

Shame on you.
By Mark Hissey (171), Melville on Dec 7, 16 10:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
That's Turkey Bridge in a nutshell... |

By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Dec 8, 16 6:54 AM
Whoaaaa! Turkey Bridge may be many things -- "Doctrinaire Democrat" comes to mind -- but "arrogant" certainly isn't one of them.

C'mon, now!

By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Dec 8, 16 8:33 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Dec 8, 16 9:50 PM
Well the property was on the market for years. Too bad none of you environmentalists put your money where your mouths are and bought it back then. Now it's a choice between 3 months of weekend use (golf course) or 365 days of full family use (as of right). 42 days is less than 365 days. Something is getting built. Simple math points to the golf course being better.
By Gillnetter (105), Hampton Bays on Dec 7, 16 11:52 AM

Stop being a hater Its not about the golf course and you know It. Its about your sleepy village and the over zealous traffic cop that lets you speed only if he went to High school with you!
By Undocumented Democrat (2065), southampton on Dec 7, 16 1:43 PM
So the one with the GOLD wins, nevermind the laws or the health of the peons. Your choices are simplistic, as you admit. There is much much more to consider. If this goes through, it will be apparent to all that it is a big mistake. Then it will be too late. Good luck to us all.
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Dec 7, 16 12:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
All I know is if we let them build the golf corse Suffolk county will have a harder time putting in section 8 hotels like the one we had to fight off 2 years ago !

Resort community equalls a nice place to live wise up!
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Dec 7, 16 1:53 PM
2 members liked this comment
Algieri is entitled to his opinion of the project, he is not entitled to his own set of facts. His manipulation of News12 with his doomsday assertions is typical of his exaggeration and manipulation of the the truth to convince others his way is the only way. It is not surprising in the least to see his boorish behavior come to the forefront as he attempts a stronger rule over his self-claimed fiefdom.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 7, 16 3:30 PM
2 members liked this comment
to Mark Hissey:


"Your arrogance is stunning. Your contempt and disrespect for these parents is repulsive. You are insinuating that these parents aren't intelligent enough to make the right decisions for their families.

Shame on you."

Shame on YOU, Mark Hissey, for your ludicrous and paradoxical allegation that Turkey Bridge has disparaged parents by exposing the Discovery Land Company's underhanded, ...more
Dec 8, 16 8:18 AM appended by highhatsize
I had forgotten that you are an executive of the DLC. So your personal contempt for your readers is, in reality, merely an extension of you company's contempt for E. Quogue parents.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Dec 8, 16 8:18 AM
Well said Highhat! I am disgusted by the assumption that we local residents are ignorant and can't detect their shams nor see through their smokescreen of testimonials from those in LIBI. Once they get approval, they will be on their way. They don't care about the locals despite Mark Hissey's crocodile tears for Maria Dadino.
By zappy (65), east quogue on Dec 8, 16 9:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you, Frank Wheeler, I'd agree that arrogance isn't one of my many failings (though maybe it's arrogant to say that). Highhat and zappy have it right in outing Mark Hissey's clumsy attempt to turn the argument on me. "Ludicrous and paradoxical." Nicely observed as usual, Highhat.

Of course it's Mark Hissey who should be ashamed for what I still call the near-criminal ploy of hoodwinking parents and exploiting their most fundamental impulse to advance their kids.

Let me ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 8, 16 10:55 AM
1 member liked this comment
The Best & The Brighest - all in a devious scheme to harm East Quogue & Southampton:

Robert Deluca (President of Group for the East End) , Al Algieri (President of East Quogue Civic Association), Richard Amper (Executive Director of the Pine Barrens Society), Janice Landis (President of Hampton Bays Civic Association), Ron Kass (President of CLEAN), Andrea Spilka (Southampton Water Alliance), William Kearns (Water Alliance), Cornell University, Joan Hughes (East Quogue Citizens ...more
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on Dec 8, 16 1:06 PM
2 members liked this comment
I find the many people who are upset because children might come to the school terribly selfish. If one wants to live in an all adult community please do so. I have always found that a community without children is a dying community. I would not be unhappy with the as of right plan with 100+ homes and children. Certainly the average assessed valuation of these homes is above the town average and they would be paying relatively more taxes. I do live in East Quogue, do not have children, and ...more
By Greg129 (5), East Quogue on Dec 8, 16 1:27 PM
Greg...catch up, dude! ...it's not that local people want to prevent more children from attending EQ elementary school...
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Dec 8, 16 7:12 PM
Mark Hissey said;“It’s like trying to force us to open a steak restaurant when we’re good at making Italian food.”

Yes Mark, it is as if you bought a book store, zoned for a book store, and you want to open an Italian Restaurant and the environmentalists have pointed out that a steak restaurant would be much better for the community.

So maybe you change to a steak restaurant or start learning how to sell books,
By CleanWater (122), East Quogue on Dec 9, 16 6:41 AM
2 members liked this comment
Correction: I've been calling this proposed project The Hills at East Quogue, but it's officially The Hills at Southampton -- yet another lie by the developer.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 10, 16 9:59 AM
Not a lie at all will the Hills not be part of Southampton

News Flash East Quogue is part of Southampton !
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Dec 14, 16 7:49 PM
1 member liked this comment