In the end, the status quo prevailed in East Quogue, and we can read into it what we may.
The bottom line though is people are happy with the way things are. That’s not to say some changes can’t be made.
The issue was whether to incorporate East Quogue — breaking away from Southampton Town and charting a new course.
The turnout, contrary to some comments, was solid, but lighter than expected given the magnitude of the proposal, although there are a lot of second homeowners who cannot switch their “primary residence” for fear of losing rent subsidies in the city, and others who simply couldn’t make it out here on a weekday, though they may have wanted to. Absentee ballots were not accepted as per a 2006 court decision on the matter.
The proposed Discovery Land development loomed over the proceedings, but this was not a referendum: Discovery owns the largest parcel of buildable land in East Quogue and is entitled to — and intends to — build a significant residential development. That debate is far from over, and should things change in town government down the road, East Quogue residents might rue the day they declined to control their own destiny. Remember, if one town board member voted the other way on the PPD issue, the full The Hills vision of luxury homes, a championship golf course, and marina rights would have been realized.
The Discovery Land package that promised to improve the school septic system, buy more fragile public land and preserve it, and provide financial incentives may likely be gone for good. And with that, the company will continue to circle, looking for an opening that will allow a variation of the original proposal to reach shovel-ready status. Its inherent right to build can’t be wished away.
The village proponents will likely be back next year. There was a bit of aggression between the two sides after the vote, which is understandable given the level of passion, but unfortunately neighbor was pitted against neighbor, a lose/lose situation for those who didn’t want to get involved but were, by definition, thrust into the fray anyway.
But for the moment, bucolic, sleepy East Quogue is the kind of place people want to raise a family and enjoy country life, and there’s nothing wrong with that.