Nearly four months after lifting a moratorium on development in East Quogue, the Southampton Town Board on November 25 accepted the final analysis of the environmental study conducted during the two-year-long development ban, which includes a recommendation to upzone some 900 acres in the hamlet to reduce density.
In adopting the findings of the environmental impact statement done on the hamlet, the town has effectively added the results to its Comprehensive Plan.
Enacted in April 2006, the moratorium, which covered an estimated 4,182 acres in East Quogue, expired on August 12 of this year.
During that time, the Bohemia-based consulting firm of Alee, King, Rosen and Fleming conducted the environmental study at a cost of nearly $250,000. The basic purpose of AKRF’s analysis was to establish land patterns and development guidelines in order to maintain the rural character and quality of the hamlet as it grew.
Al Algieri, president of the East Quogue Civic Association, told Town Supervisor Linda Kabot and members of the Town Board at Tuesday’s meeting that his group supported the finding statements and urged the board to accept one of the major recommendations of the study, that of upzoning some 900 acres, which is currently zoned for either 2- or 3-acre residential zoning, to 5-acre residential zoning.
The 900 acres are in a triangular swathe bordered on the southwest by Lewis Road and on the southeast by the Long Island Rail Road. The northern tip of the triangle is the midway point between the railroad tracks and Sunrise Highway.
If adopted by the board, the upzoning would reduce the amount of land in the hamlet available for development. That’s because a parcel zoned for 2- or 3-acre residential use allows for one house on that designated acreage. By upzoning the property to 5 acres, the number of houses allowed could be effectively reduced by half.
Much of the land in question is environmentally sensitive and in the Central Pine Barrens. According to Town Planning and Development Administrator Jefferson Murphree, the change in zoning would reduce the amount of lots eligible for development to about 70.
The board will decide on the upzoning recommendations when it meets on Tuesday, December 9, at 1 p.m.