Pine Barrens Commission To Review Impact Of Proposed Luxury Golf Development

The state commission in charge of protecting the Long Island Pine Barrens reaffirmed its authority to review a possible 600-acre golf course and housing development in East Quogue. This pleased environmentalists who were concerned that developers were trying to evade scrutiny.

For over four years developers have been trying to build a luxury residential community and golf course. The project would add a coveted tax base to the South Fork: high income earners who don’t enroll kids in school. Environmentalists say the proposed site is critical to the Island’s groundwater quality. In addition to increased traffic, they are concerned the fertilizer and pesticides that come with an 18-hole golf course could harm the aquifer under the Pine Barrens.

After several heated debates, the five-member Pines Barrens Planning Commission voted to review the project once after the Southampton town planning board finishes its review.

Richard Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, was cautiously optimistic when the town of Southampton voted to give the Pine Barrens Commission review authority.

“That’s the good news. Whether the developer goes along with that, and the town insists that they do, is still out.”

The developer is Discovery Land, an Arizona-based company that specializes in golf residential communities. A representative for the company left the meeting without commenting on the commission’s vote. But in a letter sent ahead of the vote, the company said the move was premature because the project hasn’t been finalized yet.

By Charles Lane, Margaret Osborne and Taylor Beglane, WSHU

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