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Jun 17, 2019 1:01 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Planning Board To Decide If Additional Environmental Review Is Needed For East Quogue Golf Course Resort

The Southampton Town Planning Board at a recent work session. VALERIE GORDON
Jun 19, 2019 12:07 PM

The Southampton Town Planning Board will decide whether a supplemental environmental review is needed for a proposed luxury golf course resort in East Quogue next week.

On Thursday, June 27, at 2 p.m. at Southampton Town Hall, the board’s consultant, B. Laing Associates, will present an analysis of a recent report provided by Charles Voorhis of Nelson Pope & Voorhis, who is representing the applicant, Arizona-based Discovery Land Company.

Michael Bontje of B. Laing Associates will then offer a recommendation as to whether a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS—part of the required State Environmental Quality Review Act review process—is needed in order to move forward with the project.

A previous environmental review was completed, and approved, by the Southampton Town Board for the applicant’s previous, nearly identical project, known as The Hills at Southampton.

However, after failing to secure a necessary change of zone for that proposal, the developer revised several aspects of the plan in order to adhere to existing zoning.

Under the current proposal, Discovery Land has agreed to limit the 18-hole golf course to only the residents of the proposed 118-unit subdivision, as well as their non-paying guests.

Originally, the developer planned to offer private club memberships in exchange for golf course access.

At a recent work session, Planning Board Chairwoman Jacqui Lofaro said that the board was reaching the end of its review.

“I feel like I’ve been in limbo for the past six months,” board member John Blaney said last week.

Since the application appeared in front of the Planning Board, Discovery Land has argued that an additional environmental review is not necessary as the changes made to the application were inconsequential.

In a recent letter to the Planning Board, Discovery Land’s representative, attorney Steven Barshov of New York City-based Sive, Paget & Riesel explained that any additional attempts made by the town to delay the project would likely result in an additional lawsuit.

In April 2018, Discovery Land filed a $100 million lawsuit against Southampton Town—specifically targeting board members John Bouvier and Julie Lofstad, who voted against the original application in 2017.

On Monday, Mr. Barshov declined to speculate whether his client would pursue legal action should the Planning Board require an additional review under SEQRA.

If the Planning Board determines that a supplemental EIS is not needed, the board has said that the application will be deemed complete.

From there, the plans will be forwarded to the New York State Central Pine Barrens Commission, which reaffirmed its jurisdiction over the project last month. The commission will then determine whether the project meets the guidelines set forth in the Pine Barrens Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

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This is the gun-to-your-head school of land use advocacy. These guys, Discovery and its representatives, are actually threatening a lawsuit if they don’t get their way. It’s like “Nice bank balance you got there, Southampton. Be a shame if anything happened to it.”

And it’s not just the Town that’s under the gun. If we go by what happened in the PDD vote, Discovery there sued two Town Board members individually for 100 MILLION DOLLARS! No typo there, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 18, 19 9:33 AM
1 member liked this comment
Don't worry Turkey, members of appointed boards in the Town of Southampton know that they are protected by the following Town Law:

§ 14-2
Defense and indemnification to be provided.
The Town shall provide for the defense of any Town officer or employee in any civil action or proceeding arising out of any alleged act or omission in which it is alleged that the officer or employee has violated the civil rights of the claimant, petitioner or plaintiff under §§ 1981 ...more
By cmac (184), EAST QUOGUE on Jun 18, 19 1:03 PM
Three problems with your post, cmac:

First, I'll admit I'm not deeply experienced in this area of the law, but I think you're on entirely the wrong track here when you cite an indemnification for claimed Civil Rights Act violations. Secs. 1981 and 1983 of the U.S. Civil Rights Act (Title 42, U.S. Code) have to do with racial discrimination or retaliation in employment, and deprivation of rights, privileges or immunities granted by law. That's not at all what would be involved here.

What ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 18, 19 4:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
Just out of curiosity Turkey, if a judge did in fact find that those Board members "acted arbitrarily and capriciously in voting against Discovery's application and that the standards they used for making their negative decision were not appropriate to the facts presented" do you think they should be held accountable?
By cmac (184), EAST QUOGUE on Jun 18, 19 5:46 PM
Cmac, you've dodged everything I wrote above -- which I'll take as acquiescence -- but I'll answer your question anyway: If a judge found as you described and the decision stood up on appeal, then what I think wouldn't matter because that decision would be the law.

That's one respect in which your question is pointless. Another is this -- I personally might or might not agree with the judge's finding, depending on the facts that came out on trial. (Yes, if I thought there were incontrovertible ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 19, 19 9:28 AM
Sorry, have to correct the above. Forgot Planning Board members aren't elected but appointed. Therefore, my comment about any arbitrary and capricious decision by them being a "factor in the next election" is incorrect. It should be a factor in the next appointment round, and perhaps secondarily, a factor in the next election of the Town Board members who appoint them.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 19, 19 9:35 AM
I am not going to argue a moot point with you Turkey. Next time you make a dramatic plea to protect the sovereignty of the Town take a moment to do a little research. Had you done so you would know that in 2014 an investment banker sued individual members of both the Town Planning Board and the Agricultural Advisory Committee for millions of dollars for denying his application to build a barn. However, because they were serving in their official roles for the Town, they were indemnified against ...more
By cmac (184), EAST QUOGUE on Jun 20, 19 9:50 AM
I'm really reluctant to prolong this, cmac, but in plain language, you don't know what you're talking about. You're continually making facile arguments that don't hold a drop of water.

Every lawsuit, every case, is an individual creature, with its own set of facts, its own parties, its own judge and its own counsel on both sides. A slight variation in any one of these -- minutely different facts, different contract provisions, different statutory provisions, a disagreeable plaintiff ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 22, 19 1:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
DLC is nasty and means to discredit them publicly by naming people in a lawsuit when they are indemnified and held harmless by law.We don't need or want this company as our neighbors.Bullies.
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Jun 18, 19 1:39 PM
3 members liked this comment