Southampton delays vote on proposed golf course

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SOUTHAMPTON -

The Town of Southampton has decided to delay a vote on a proposed golf course that has been met with opposition.

The Hills at Southampton project calls for a sprawling, 18-hole golf course and 117 homes on 600 acres of land in East Quogue.

Residents, and even some town council members, were expecting a vote Tuesday night on the project's environmental finding statement, but they instead heard from dozens of people on both sides of the argument.

Councilwoman Julie Lofstad said she would have voted against the latest environmental report for the development if given the chance.

"I believe the public wants and deserves to know our position," she said.

Environmentalists contend that the plan would be disastrous for water quality.

"Nitrogen is the No. 1 contaminant that comes from wastewater," said Richard Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society. "It also comes from fertilizers; golf courses have both."

But the company looking to build on the land says a golf course would be more beneficial to the environment than any other kind of development by using fewer pesticides and less water and fertilizer than traditional lawns.

"It's called an integrated turf health management system," said Mark Hissey, senior vice president of Discovery Land Co. "You put the absolute minimum in there, and you have only products that go through a triple level of check as to whether you can use them or not."

Still, dozens of residents argued against the project.

"I thought Pine Barrens was protected property," said East Quogue resident Lance Corey. "I thought it was a protected watershed."

The matter is set to be discussed one more time at a public hearing Oct. 19 in East Quogue.

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