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Mar 23, 2012 4:58 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Southampton Town Board Approves Purchase Of East Hampton's Share Of Poxabogue Golf Course

Mar 28, 2012 8:16 AM

The Southampton Town Board on Tuesday unanimously approved the purchase of East Hampton Town’s half-share of the Poxabogue Golf Course in Sagaponack Village, with little fanfare.

Following a quick public hearing during which no one spoke, the board voted to go through with the $2.2 million purchase of the 39-acre property, utilizing Community Preservation Fund proceeds.

The sale serves two purposes, officials said. It allows East Hampton Town to work toward eliminating $2.4 million in debt it still owes for its half of the course, and it rules out the possibility that private developers could come in and purchase East Hampton’s half of the course and build on it.

The towns jointly purchased the nine-hole golf course, which also includes a restaurant and pro shop, in March 2004 for $6.5 million, with Southampton using CPF proceeds for its half. East Hampton was unable to tap its CPF because the course is located outside of the town, and had to borrow the cost of its share of the purchase.

Financially strapped East Hampton Town is seeking to sell its half of the course to cut expenses. The town currently pays about $250,000 per year in debt payments resulting from the Poxabogue purchase. The East Hampton Town Board authorized selling its share in the course in October 2011.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst on Friday said that while she had some reluctance regarding the purchase, she would vote in favor of the acquisition.

“I’ve been very lukewarm about it myself,” she said. “I don’t buy the argument that doom, gloom and development would result if we don’t buy it.”

At the same time, Ms. Throne-Holst said, the upside of the purchase would be that any revenue generated by the course would now be reaped solely by Southampton, rather than split with East Hampton. “It makes sense that it is a Southampton-only entity,” she said.

Officials from both towns were unable to say exactly how much revenue was generated by the golf course in the years it has been municipally owned, but did note that all proceeds were funneled into a special joint reserve fund earmarked for maintenance of the course. According to East Hampton Budget Officer Len Bernard, as of mid-2011, there was about $400,000 left in the account. East Hampton would be entitled to half of whatever was in the account at the time of sale, he said.

Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi said he also supported the purchase, and that he believed there was an urgency to the acquisition to prevent a private entity from buying East Hampton’s share. “It locks up, in perpetuity, the preservation of that course,” he said. “We were contacted by people who had interest in the East Hampton portion.”

Mr. Nuzzi added that there was some confusion over the management of the course by officials from both towns that the purchase would finally settle.

East Hampton Town is prohibited, under the terms of its borrowing, to pay off the bond that financed the town’s half of the purchase until 2016, so the proceeds of the sale, $2.2 million, would be placed into a reserve account and used to make annual payments of about $220,000 for the next three years, Mr. Bernard said. In 2016, the remaining principal would be paid, saving eight years of interest payments, or about $288,000. The bond was scheduled to be paid off in 2023.

“It’s a good deal all the way around,” Mr. Bernard said of the upcoming sale.

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How much income and sales does the golf site produce?
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Mar 25, 12 11:46 AM
Are you suggesting the Wilpons consider developing this property ?
By Bill in Riverhead (190), Riverhead on Mar 26, 12 9:14 AM
Somehow this is going to get screwed up and we, the (golf-playing) people will lose.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Mar 26, 12 9:19 AM
Nice place to build more Condos
By patrickstar (67), hampton bays on Mar 26, 12 9:41 AM
Everyone needs a second home in Sagaponak
By patrickstar (67), hampton bays on Mar 26, 12 9:41 AM
I call BS on EH threatening to sell to a developer and/or something happening to this site where it is converted from a golf course to anything else. When east hampton bought it, it became public parkland under New York State Law (regardless of what funds they used to buy it). In order to sell it to a private entity, they would need to seek an alienation of parkland waiver which requires two approvals from the New York State Legislature. Good luck with that, I think EH is bluffing.

That ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Mar 26, 12 12:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
So I get this straight...the CPF is now used to stop developed land from being redeveloped to something else. So if the Town rather have a car dealership at a location rather than a developer build a supermarket, it can use the CPF to buy the car dealership? Same thing. The Town should not have bought it in the first place. Stay away from the private sector.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Mar 27, 12 11:03 AM
No, you did not get it straight. This was a viable CPF purchase because it's "open recreational space". It's the same as if the Town purchased a plot of land used as soccer fields by a private entity. A CPF purchase doesn't have to be woods or farmland...

The town bought this with CPF funds which means that the Golf Course will forever be accesible to Town Residents for their recreational enjoyment. A thirdy party runs the actual operations but a discount rate is provided to Town residents. ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Mar 27, 12 11:24 AM
1 member liked this comment
Sorry, I didn't realize it was a mandate of town government to provide "recreational enjoyment" at the taxpayers expense. The analogy was that the town purposely purchased a private ongoing entity to thwart possible development. What's to stop them from purchasing any other and converting it for public use to stop a development. I always thought that is why we have zoning laws....
By The Real World (368), southampton on Mar 27, 12 2:50 PM
So you would prefer the Town to provide 0 chances for recreational opportunity? All of those lifeguards we pay with tax dollars should be cut? And all of the money spent to maintain our ballfields should be cut as well right? Not to mention the "taxpayers expense" used to purchase this golf course came (mostly) from millionaires and billionaires trading real estate. The money didn't come from your general tax bill.

As for "what's going to stop them from purchasing any other [property[ ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Mar 28, 12 9:09 AM
I read the headline quickly and I thought it said Curse. But its Course...
By Grenadine (1), Southampton on Mar 27, 12 3:29 PM
"Not to mention the "taxpayers expense" used to purchase this golf course came (mostly) from millionaires and billionaires trading real estate"

Jealous, hey Nature....when properties come off the tax rolls, we all pay. Please don't confuse public safety a need to spend money for the sake of spending money...
Mar 28, 12 9:43 AM appended by The Real World
"Not to mention the "taxpayers expense" used to purchase this golf course came (mostly) from millionaires and billionaires trading real estate" Jealous, hey Nature....when properties come off the tax rolls, we all pay. Please don't confuse public safety with a need to spend money for the sake of spending money...
By The Real World (368), southampton on Mar 28, 12 9:43 AM
Thank you Southampton. And thank you East Hampton officials (that decision to sell WAS unanimous I believe ...). I am happy I won't be subsidizing golfers with my tax dollars any longer. Good riddance.
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Mar 28, 12 9:58 AM
Yup. Now we can use it to subsidize rich helicopter commuters.
By we could run this town! (129), the oceanfront trailer park on Apr 2, 12 7:08 AM
Real World,

We don't all pay when properties come off the tax rolls. Do your research. Providing open space, parklands and recreational opportunities actually increases property values. Residential development is almost always tax negative - it requires more in services than it provides in taxes.

Tell me Real World - how much have your Town Taxes gone up because of "properties coming off the tax rolls"?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Mar 28, 12 10:43 AM
Do you understand how taxes are levied? Maybe you need to take a course.

By The Real World (368), southampton on Mar 28, 12 10:46 AM
The most expensive crapiest driving range on Long Island. The course is 9 holes and an even bigger pos. The purchase was a waste of money from day one
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Apr 2, 12 10:45 PM