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Oct 23, 2019 9:45 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: Town Planning Board Approves Lewis Road PRD Preliminary Subdivision Application And Findings Statement In Split Votes

Members and staff of the Central Pine Barrens Commission at a recent meeting. PRESS FILE
Oct 28, 2019 11:25 AM


UPDATE: Thursday, 9:30 p.m.



After hours of discussion on Thursday, the Southampton Town Planning Board voted in favor of the Lewis Road PRD peliminary subdivision application as well as the project's environmental findings statement.

The vote was split, 4-3, for both resolutions, with board members voting the same way for each. Board members John Zuccarelli, Philip Keith, and John Blaney and Vice Chair Dennis Finnerty voted in favor of the application and findings statement and Board Chair Jacqui Lofaro and board members Robin Long and Glorian Berk voted against them. Those who voted "no" were the most vocal during the meeting, sharing concerns with the way the documents were written out and the narrow time frame.

The 10 a.m. work session had a delayed start, beginning at 10:50 a.m., and ran until 3:45 p.m., spilling over into the afternoon work session that was supposed to start at 2 p.m. The work session took as long as it did because board members had just received the 26-page findings statement from their consultant, Michael Bontje of B. Liang Associates, minutes before the meeting commenced and they had to closely examine each section before voting on whether to approve it that afternoon.

The findings statement concluded that the project was compliant with the Central Pine Barrens Comprehensive Land Use Plan, or CLUP. The Pine Barrens Commission, which submitted 15 pages of advisory comments to the board one week prior to the meeting, assessed the project based on the same criteria and came out with the opposite conclusion -- that it failed to meet such standards. The conflicting outcomes gave board members much to consider and appeared to make it more difficult for some of them to come to individual decisions.

The votes needed to take place that day because the board was on an action deadline and members did not formally request an extension of time from the applicant, Discovery Land Company, prior to the meeting.

Ms. Long was very candid in expressing that she felt she did not have enough time to review all associated documentation in order to make an informed decision. Along with the findings statement document distributed that morning, board members were sent the Pine Barrens Commission's memo one week prior, on October 17, and Town Planner Kyle Collin's response comments three days prior, on Monday.

In addition to approval from the town, Discovery Land will have to get approval from the Pine Barrens Commission before moving forward with its plans.

ORIGINAL STORY:



The Central Pine Barrens Commission voted last week to send a 15-page advisory comment memo to the Southampton Town Planning Board for its consideration when deciding whether to approve the preliminary subdivision application for the Lewis Road PRD, the proposal to build a luxury golf course resort in East Quogue.

The memo was approved on October 16 — but the vote was not unanimous. Southampton Town Planner Kyle Collins, who sat in place of Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman at the meeting, was the only member to vote against the memo.

The staff comments assessed whether the project complied with the standards and guidelines set forth in the Pine Barrens Protection Act, breaking it down to individual points and reviewing various details of the project. It was sent to the five commission members to review prior to their October 16 meeting.

In the early morning hours before the October 16 meeting, Mr. Collins sent to commission members an unsolicited response to the memo that included extensive comments that he wrote in conjunction with Marty Shea, the town’s chief environmental analyst.

Mr. Collins prefaced his letter by writing that it “provides corrections and clarifications” to the commission’s comments, and that the commission staff did not have the “same amount of time to review” the volume of materials associated with the application. The response comments added six pages to the original memo.

Although commission members were allowed to give feedback on the draft memo before it was authorized, Mr. Collins’s letter was essentially ignored at the meeting. Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine made a motion to approve the memo as it stood, noting that the comments were “sufficient.”

“I didn’t know [Mr. Collins] was authorized to speak for Supervisor Schneiderman on that issue,” Mr. Romaine said later. “This was written at 3 o’clock in the morning the day before. Was that authorized by Supervisor Schneiderman? I don’t know. I’d never heard someone say Supervisor Schneiderman authorized this.”

On Friday, the supervisor said he could not attend the meeting because he was overseeing a flooding emergency on Dune Road in Hampton Bays that day. At the time of the interview, he said he had not seen Mr. Collins’s response to the commission, but he said that Mr. Collins had discussed with him the original memo and pointed out “where he felt errors were made in terms of factual info.”

Mr. Schneiderman continued, “[Mr. Collins] is intimately familiar with the application, and I wouldn’t expect the Pine Barrens Commission or even the Pine Barrens staff to have anywhere near the familiarity that Kyle has. This is factual information. I wasn’t looking for Kyle to provide his opinion — I was looking for Kyle to just correct factual issues.”

Mr. Collins did not return calls seeking additional comment.

Staff members had a month to prepare the advisory comments. Due to a misunderstanding, they learned only at their September 18 meeting that they received a request from the town to provide detailed comments on application documents they had in their possession since May. A memo had to be approved at the commission’s October 16 meeting so that Planning Board members could review it before their approval deadline of October 24.

The memo was signed by the commission’s principal environmental planner, Julie Hargrave, but she noted that staff members prepared the comments in a joint effort.

“There was a rush to meet a very limited time frame, so Julie Hargrave didn’t have the benefit of the time to fully review it and get all the information,” Mr. Schneiderman said in the interview two days after the vote.

Several members of the commission’s advisory committee, including Bob DeLuca and Dick Amper, the latter of whom is the advisory committee’s vice chairman, said they felt that Mr. Collins’s letter was meant to undermine the staff memo — and to push the town’s agenda, which they believe favors the application.

“My big concern is a process concern that this is supposed to be an objective review by staff of the commission, and throwing a monkey wrench in at the 11th hour to try and just, essentially, act as the applicant’s advocate doesn’t serve the interest of planning,” said Mr. DeLuca, who also serves as president of the Group for the East End.

“I have never seen a town government more openly and forcefully try to lobby for a project that is as threatening as anything that has come before the commission,” said Mr. Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society.

The Planning Board will consider the commission’s comments along with comments from other organizations as well. At its October 24 meeting, the board could vote to approve the preliminary application, or, if they need more time or materials, request another extension of time that the applicant, Discovery Land, would have to permit.

Mr. Amper pointed out that regardless of how the Planning Board votes, the Pine Barrens Commission by law would ultimately have to give the green light to the application before it can proceed. So he is “cautiously optimistic that the commission will do its job.”

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So what was the great Kyle Collins so intimately familiar with and his "correct" factual information he had that the Pine Barrens Commission or the Pine Barrens staff do not know? That he's the smartest person in the room.

Is Kyle looking to change the code to place 250 apartments on the back 9 ?
By ZGerry (50), Hamptons on Oct 23, 19 9:33 PM
Hills yes
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Oct 23, 19 9:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
Anyone else sick of hearing about golf?
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Oct 24, 19 8:17 AM
2 members liked this comment
This is once again an example of overlapping responsibility and authority. TOS TOS can come to any decision they want since the process or there lack of is "institutionally corrupt". We have a systematic failure here in the TOS and needs to be corrected with new leadership. Employees of the TOS should not have this much power. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Oct 24, 19 8:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
Interesting comments.

The part that catches my attention: "Staff members had a month to prepare the advisory comments....on application documents they had in their possession since May." followed by “There was a rush to meet a very limited time frame, so Julie Hargrave didn’t have the benefit of the time to fully review it...”

So apparently 5 months was not enough time for the commission to read the application. Sounds like school kids who had a semester to ...more
By bird (829), Sag Harbor on Oct 24, 19 1:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
So DeLuca and Amper believe correcting errors and clarifying information represents "throwing a monkey wrench in" which "doesn't serve the interest of planning?"

DeLuca believes having accurate information interferes with an objective review? And Amper thinks such viable information represents lobbying by the Town? Why don't these guys just admit they will do anything within their power or even abuse that power to make a mockery of the compatible growth provision in the pine barrens?
By VOS (1241), WHB on Oct 24, 19 2:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sebonic GC, Waterfront Great Peconic Bay, Cold Spring Harbor.on the west side No Environmental Issues. Golf at the Bridge over the aquifer, No Environmental issues. Atlantic GC built on prime farmland. No Environmental issues. All three of these have been built in the last couple decades This is all about NIMBYISM and that they don't want the area developed. Period. All the no's should band together pool their money and buy it outright. The fact is the property has rights, as is, so if you block ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Oct 24, 19 4:26 PM
2 members liked this comment
building another golf course over our sole source aquafer is irresponsible. Build of right or not at all.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 24, 19 4:45 PM
2 members liked this comment
It's illegal to wear two hats on an application. Kyle was working on the planning side for the town now he votes against the project on another board? The development should sue him personally for having a negative view on the project. His job is to be neutral and provide information for the planning board. More dirty tricks.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Oct 24, 19 5:06 PM
Stupid fills in for stupid.???
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Oct 24, 19 6:49 PM
Based on the quotes below it looks like the pine barrens association will vote this down.

"The findings statement concluded that the project was compliant with the Central Pine Barrens Comprehensive Land Use Plan, or CLUP.'
and ' The Pine Barrens Commission, which submitted 15 pages of advisory comments to the board one week prior to the meeting, assessed the project based on the same criteria and came out with the opposite conclusion -- that it failed to meet such standards. '

and ...more
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Oct 25, 19 9:37 AM
Railroad job! Article reports that "board members had just received the 26-page findings statement . . . minutes before the meeting commenced."

Really? "Minutes before the meeting commenced"? What kind of process is that? And don't tell me there was a deadline and the Board hadn't asked the developer for an extension. Do you mean to say that kind of oversight is enough to get this mighty project approved? Just like that?

Hooray for Robin Long, Jacqui Lofaro and Glorian ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 25, 19 10:43 AM
2 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Capt. Phil (64), Southampton on Oct 25, 19 3:17 PM
I second your "Hooray for Robin Long, Jacqui Lofaro and Glorian Berk."
By Julie Sheehan (11), East Quogue on Oct 26, 19 12:59 PM
Another kick the can down the road by town-let PBC decide. SHAME on cowards who voted in favor.Kudos to the minority against.
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Oct 25, 19 10:49 AM
3 members liked this comment
Coward? Do you really mean that? Back in the day you would have been called out, seconds selected, and weapons chosen. Might I suggest stuffed pillows at 20 paces? Why am I a coward for voting for an outcome that I believe is the best possible solution for this application? Do you truly understand that without approval this application will revert into another Southampton Pines? Is that what you want? Three courageous ladies, who are my friends (even after yesterday) voted their consciences, and ...more
By Capt. Phil (64), Southampton on Oct 25, 19 3:19 PM
crickets......Thank you Phil Keith. You are correct East Quogue did NOT want another Southampton Pines.
By EQmom (18), East Quogue on Oct 25, 19 4:56 PM
If golf course denied DLC quits.Another SH Pines-not profitable enough-not a done deal.U assume a golf course is better?This time u r mostly wrong.
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Oct 28, 19 2:04 PM
The elected board of the Town of Southampton Voted this project down. Now only to see it revived by an unelected board. This is what passes for the democratic process in the town of Southampton. The project goes forward and everyone on the Democratically controlled board gets cover. Remember Jay voted yes for this project. He cares about the environment. Remember that when you and your children are drinking the contaminated water in Hampton Bays that is only potable after extensive treatment and ...more
By HB salvation (27), Hampton bays on Oct 25, 19 3:26 PM
The water in Hampton bays isn't polluted because of a golf course or a septic system. It is polluted because a bunch of morons were trusted and handling a fire retardant chemical. The pollution in the water system in this state is mainly from farmlands and industry. Let's not lose touch in the reality of polluted water on this island
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Oct 25, 19 5:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
You understand that pollution can come from more than one thing at a time, right?
By Enviro Guy (55), Southampton on Oct 28, 19 7:59 AM
1 member liked this comment
IF you need a reason NOT to vote for Jay Schneiderman, now you have one.
Jay is at the call of DLC and he will do anything to make them happy.

VOTE ALEX GREGOR for SOUTHAMPTON TOWN SUPERVISOR ...

NOT IN THE PALM OF THE BIG DEVELOPERS.
By HamptonClassic (132), Southampton on Oct 25, 19 7:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
It’s very simple we live on top of our water supply what ever we put in to the ground ends up in our drinking water. The golf course in the effort to keep the course green will put many chemicals into the mix herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers and fungicides to mention a few. This right on top of the source aquifer for our water supply. Does Anyone drink straight tap water? The water coming out of our wells is not potable without treatment or extensive blending to bring it into acceptable ...more
By HB salvation (27), Hampton bays on Oct 25, 19 9:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
So Jay, Julie, Tommy and John illegally use Kyle Collins/Land Management to attempt to change code to place 250 apartments and a nursing facility with no budget plans of infrastructure updates on 10 acres on Montauk Hwy in HB. Anyone question Jay meeting with this developer years ago?

Politically this all stinks and SHTB talks out of both sides of their mouths to fit their agenda. We need to build to code, build proper infrastructure to support the current use. Period. .
By Hamptonsway (107), Southampton on Oct 26, 19 12:38 PM
HW, it is so obvious to those that watch this Board what actually goes on. I think you were at the HBDOD hearings - Kyle and Janice say "there is no project" while in a 2016 Independent newspaper article Jay says there IS and developer looking to develop the north side of Main Street. On top of that, during John Bouvier's term, they eliminate the PDD law at the recommendation of Kyle and Janice. So if they have been working with the developer as Jay stated int he 2016 article, then the HBDOD is ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Oct 27, 19 9:11 AM
1 member liked this comment
... so, who should we vote for?
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Oct 27, 19 10:03 AM
I believe you have two very different but competent candidates for Supervisor opposing Jay Schneiderman. Jay should be shown at this election that he can't just do what he wants and not be held accountable for it. Some of "his" decisions are now being litigated and there will be more to come if he continues running the Town Administration as his own personal staff.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Oct 27, 19 6:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
Bouvier voted the Hills PDD down!He stays.Vote for Alex Gregor!Jay goes-not to be trusted-onceRepublican,thenIndep,nowDem-whatever works.
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Oct 27, 19 10:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
ALEX GREGOR STINKS AS A POLITICIAN & HIGHWAY SUPER.
VOTE AGAINST ALEX GREGOR EVERY TIME.
By themarlinspike (542), Northern Hemisphere on Oct 28, 19 8:47 AM
Taz, totally agree with you - re-elect John Bouvier and vote for Alex Gregor for Town Supervisor.
Alex won't make backroom deals to give away a Town road to a golf course. In fact, Alex fought that action, He is a person to be true, not only for a few, but for all constituents in Southampton Town.

MAKE THE SMART CHOICE

VOTE FOR ALEX GREGOR FOR SOUTHAMPTON TOWN SUPERVISOR

By HamptonClassic (132), Southampton on Oct 27, 19 2:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
It would be no surprise to you and Taz that I disagree that John Bouvier deserves another term of office. For the most part over the past 4 years, it has been a "one party one voice one vote" on the Town Board. The Hills was probably one of the few, maybe even the only exception. They may say that it was just a coincidence and they independently came to the same conclusion but, what is that saying, "I was born at night, just not last night." Either they really don't know what is going on, or ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Oct 27, 19 6:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
There is a platform adopted and published by the Southampton Town Democratic Party. It’s comprehensive and detailed, addressing the whole range of issues before this community. It’s different from the local Republican approach. (I say “approach” because the Southampton GOP hasn’t put out a platform that I know of.)

The differences relevant to this discussion have to do with land use, regulation of development, water quality, remediation of environmental damage, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 28, 19 8:17 AM
Tommy John and Julie also campaigned against the CPI - but they voted in favor of it and made sure that they were there for the photo op at the groundbreaking.

I give you that, TB, the democrats stick together around here whether or not there is any real corroborating support for their decisions. The only recourse (other than voting them out of office) is now litigating the framework of the local government and each and every one of their decisions that is arbitrary and capricious. Some ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Oct 28, 19 2:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
Vote for people who are intelligent enough and motivated sufficiently to consider each and every situation on its own merits and who have the courage of their own convictions to decide solely on the facts of the issues rather than instructions from party heads interested only in furthering their partisan footholds and patronage.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Oct 29, 19 12:58 AM
VOS, if I wrote as well as you do, I would have written exactly that! It seems to me that we have now have 2 Town Board members now instead of 5 - Christine and Jay - and it seems that the democratic leadership thinks that is the way it should be,
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Oct 29, 19 8:14 AM
The SHTB needs to be balanced between all groups and parties. Jay is setting up a full democratic line up of the SHTB which will likely go with flow with little push back.
By ZGerry (50), Hamptons on Oct 29, 19 9:57 AM
Those looking for this combo:

Bill DeBlasio’s work ethic & competence
Donald Trump’s personal morality
Joe Biden’s intellectual firepower

...should vote for Alex Gregor for Supervisor.
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Oct 31, 19 11:26 AM
Where does support for SPECIAL PERMISSION to build a golf course complex in East Quogue come from?
I don't think it's local golfers, they can't play there. I think the traffic will increase, our water supply is below it, pesticides and effluent will flow downhill (GRAVITY) to Weesuck Creek and Shinnecock Bay. Where can support for this be coming from?
To date I think, the existing 5 acre building lot zoning has not been built on. I think SPECIAL PERMISSION is being "REQUESTED" to build this ...more
By MikeMirino (10), east quogue on Oct 31, 19 1:46 PM
Warren's proposed Medicare for All annual cost 52 trillion. Present Federal annual budget 4 trillion!!!!! All 12 Democratic candidates raised their hands when asked " Are you in favor of taxpayer funded health care for undocumented immigrants". Unions will not give up their hard won Cadillac health plans. I paid for medicare all my working life through payroll deduction, no choice. You want it, work for it. We will keep the White House, Senate and take back the House. We will pack the Supreme ...more
By P. Revere (152), hampton Bays on Nov 1, 19 12:25 PM
What does that have to do with the Town Planning Board approving the Lewis Road Preliminary Subdivision Application and Findings Statement?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 1, 19 12:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
P. Revere, if I remember correctly, you said you were a retired policeman. If I’m wrong I apologize. With that in mind weren’t you in the union?you had a hard won Cadillac health plan ? Just wondering
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Nov 1, 19 1:38 PM
Foreborn: I can always depend on you to respond rapidamente. Thanks. To answer your question, ABSOLUTELY NADA. Happy Thanksgiving. It's now November 1st and the market is surging. I am so happy and thankful to be an American and living on the East end.
By P. Revere (152), hampton Bays on Nov 1, 19 1:12 PM
You and me both, Paul. Not looking forward to all that raking this weekend, though!
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 1, 19 1:20 PM