Residents sound off on proposed golf resort

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EAST QUOGUE -

Residents sounded off Monday on a controversial plan to build a spacious golf resort in East Quogue.

The Hills at Southampton is a golf course and seasonal resort proposed to be built on 600 acres of land in East Quogue. Part of that land is on the Pine Barrens, which means in addition to receiving approval from town officials, the state Pine Barrens Commission will have to approve it, too.

At a meeting Monday night at the East Quogue School, many residents supported the development, saying the alternative -- a residential subdivision -- would add more people and burden the school district.

Others said the project would be damaging to the environment and negatively affect water quality.

The Southampton Town Board was slated to vote on accepting the environmental impact statement and zoning for the project, but the public comment portion of the meeting went into the night. That vote is now expected to take place during a Dec. 5 meeting.

Arizona-based developer Discovery Land Co. said it has done all that the town has asked of it.

"What I hope comes out of this meeting is sanity," said Mark Hissey, the company's senior vice president.

Hissey said he believes those who oppose the project represent a minority of residents and that Discovery's plan addresses all environmental concerns.

"We want to be a good neighbor and help where we can," he said.

Those opposed to The Hills said they plan to continue fighting against it.

Town officials said they expect a final vote on the project by the end of the year.

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