first_imgThe Long Island Pine Barrens Commission wants more information before it decides the fate of a controversial luxury 118-unit golf resort in East Quogue.The board members at a Riverhead Town Hall meeting February 19 gave Discovery Land Company until March 4 to provide it, although only having until April 20 to decide whether or not the project complies with strict regulations. A simple 3-2 majority is all that’s needed, and if Discovery Land does not receive approval, the battle will most likely end in court.“The Lewis Road planned residential development and its predecessor, The Hills at Southampton, are the biggest and baddest development proposals ever presented to the Pine Barrens commission,” Long Island Pine Barrens Society Executive Director Dick Amper said. “Long Island voters have put up more than a billion dollars to preserve the island’s premier ecosystem. What they’re doing is basically urbanizing our natural treasure.”Some environmentalists say the project would endanger trillions of gallons of pristine drinking water. On the 600 untouched wooded acres next to pastoral farmland — in the Pine Barrens core preservation area and its compatible growth area — Discovery Land is looking to build an 18-hole private golf course, a luxury clubhouse, baseball field, basketball court, four pickleball courts, a fitness center, and a pool in addition to the seasonal homes.While Discovery Land claims golf courses don’t pollute, “it’s almost impossible for them not to,” argued one speaker at the podium.“They spray a lot of stuff on there to control the grass and keep the fairways,” said another. “It’s a lot of pesticides.”The Arizona-based company, which owns 23 other luxury developments across the world, including Dune Deck in Westhampton Beach, has said it will leave more than half of the land in its natural form, comply with all with all regulations, and monitor and clean the runoff before it flows back into the ground.“We will apply the minimum amount of chemical usage,” Nelson, Pope & Voorhis, LLC development consultant Chic Voorhis told the five-person commission made up of the town supervisors from Riverhead, Brookhaven, and Southampton, plus the county executive and a representative from the state Department of Environmental Conservation. “This project is net negative in terms of nitrogen.”Amper, who authored the 1993 Pine Barrens Protection Act, which limits permitted development, said Group for the East End presented a list of violations of state environmental law, including the State Environmental Quality Review Act. Group for the East End is a nonprofit that fights when lands, water, and wildlife are threatened.“There is a well-documented water quality crisis in the Town of Southampton and across Long Island,” Amper said. “Drinking water and surface waters have been contaminated in almost every hamlet in the town.”Toxic chemicals like perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) have been detected in drinking water supplied in Speonk, Westhampton, East Quogue, Hampton Bays, Bridgehampton, and surrounding areas.“Harmful algal blooms and depleted oxygen plague the surface water in these areas,” Amper continued. “These water quality issues are a public health threat and have also resulted in beach closures, fish and turtle kills, and flooding, which undermine our marine economy. Any new development is expected to increase nitrogen in the area threatening the already impaired water bodies of Weesuck Creek and western Shinnecock Bay.”Discovery Land has been trying to secure the necessary approvals to build for more than five years. Southampton Town already denied it once in 2017, when it was known as the Hills at Southampton. The project is now under a different zoning plan and a new name and has Southampton Town approval. In May 2019, the Pine Barrens Commission asserted its authority over what is now known as the Lewis Road PRD, kicking off a 120-day deadline that ends with a decision.Westhampton Beach resident Billy Mack said he’s seen firsthand the diligence and concern that Discovery Land applied while developing Dune Deck.“They create and maintain pristine properties,” he said. “They have gone out of their way to be sensitive to the local issues and concerns. I am a lifelong resident of the area and I consider myself an adamant protector of our natural environment, and I can say with complete confidence that I support this project. I think you will see very clearly hat this is not a ‘big bad development’ but that it’s what we all should be working toward, which is smart development.”Half those at last Wednesday’s meeting were in support of the project’s approval, including the Long Island Builders Institute, and Southampton Business Alliance, which said it could use the economic boost.“There’s a lot of environmental guidelines that they have to follow and they will follow because they’re going to have to,” Roses & Rice owner and East Quogue Citizens Advisory Committee Secretary Cathy Seeliger told CBS New York. “They will contribute to the lowering of taxes.”Those against also included the Southampton Town Civic Coalition, the Shinnecock Indian Nation, and assemblymen Fred Thiele and Steve Englebright, of Setauket, among others.“The Town of Southampton has taken numerous actions to protect drinking water, including up-zonings to reduce density and the intensity of land use,” added Thiele, a former Southampton Town supervisor and original Central Pine Barrens Commission member who assisted in the drafting of state legislation and the original comprehensive management plan for it. “From a perspective of water quality and open space preservation, it has long been understood that the subject property has special attributes worthy of protection,” Southampton Town Civic Coalition President Andrea Spilka said.Those opposed also fear the approval of the project will set a bad precedent.“It’s a natural forest that exists in very few places on Earth,” East Quogue resident Bill Kearns [email protected] version corrects the Southampton Town Civic Coalition President is Andrea Spilka Sharelast_img read more

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first_imgFour out of five adults in England and Wales would be unable to pay for a lawyer were they accused of a crime, according to a survey of the likely impact of the government’s planned legal aid cuts.They would have to represent themselves or even remortgage their homes, it revealed.A Populus poll commissioned by the six bar circuits and Criminal Bar Association showed that, under the reforms, 80% of adults would be unable to afford the average £10,000 legal fees incurred for a three-day trial, and would be forced to represent themselves.Of the 2,036 adults who took part, 75% said that a person accused of a crime who cannot afford to pay their legal fees should be entitled to financial help.As the government, and justice secretary Chris Grayling (pictured), plan to introduce wide-ranging cuts to legal aid, including a £37,500 eligibility cap, 64% of respondents said there would be more miscarriages of justice and wrongful convictions as a result.More than half, 60%, said the cuts would hit those on middle incomes hardest.Asked if they would be comfortable being represented by G4S or Eddie Stobart, 16% and 20% respectively said they would be.Commenting, the leader of the North East Circuit, Alistair MacDonald QC, said the results show that many Britons will be faced with ‘financial ruin’ if they are put in a position were they have to defend themselves in a criminal court.He said the £37,500 household disposable income cap for legal aid eligibility will hit ‘hard-working families’ the hardest, many of whom could have to remortgage their homes.MacDonald said: ‘The losers will be law-abiding citizens on modest incomes who defend their homes against intruders, accidentally clip a cyclist in their cars, or who are simply among the many each year accused of crimes they haven’t committed.’If the proposals are implemented, those who qualify for legal aid will lose the ability to select their lawyer and will instead be allocated one by the state. MacDonald said this would render the ‘globally renowned’ British criminal justice system ‘unrecognisable’. Join our LinkedIn Legal Aid sub-grouplast_img read more

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first_imgDuke Williams, here with Sammie Coates (18) has been dismissed from the Auburn football team.Duke Williams, here with Sammie Coates (18) has been dismissed from the Auburn football team.As crazy as this sounds, Duke Williams and Auburn are better off without each other.Williams wasn’t playing with the same fire and energy that electrified Auburn’s offense last season. He didn’t give off the same spirited vibe that made him so entertaining to watch.Auburn was clearly having issues with him on and off the field. Auburnsports.com has reported that Williams was involved in “an off-the-field incident at a local nightclub” this past weekend.That appears to have been the final straw for Auburn, but the football program and Williams were no longer on the same page and when arguably your best player becomes a distraction, it’s time to part ways.“When individuals fail to meet the expectations of our program, there has to be consequences,” said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn in a statement. “I gave D’haquille the chance to prove himself. I am disappointed that it did not work out.”I said before the first game that Duke Williams wouldn’t make it the whole season. He doesn’t think rules apply to him.— David Mobley (@DavidMobley_) October 6, 2015//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsThere is always more behind a statement. Way more. Williams will have his say to explain his side about his time at Auburn, but for now, I can only shake my head at a situation that went from bad to worse when it appeared so promising just a year ago.Williams had a chance to write the following story: Kid overcomes a rough life to reach super stardom. Now he’ll have to continue that journey elsewhere and has made the road far more difficult to [email protected]@FootballAU What’s the other side of story on releasing Duke Williams?!?! It gotta be another side! #auburn#auburntigers— B.Day (@MrConsistent21) October 6, 2015//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsYou’d think Williams had everything to play for this season. Top 10 draft pick. Huge contract. Dream to play in the NFL. National championship. SEC championship.Instead, he didn’t play like an All-American and future high-first round pick should. Williams caught just 12 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown in five games this season. To put that in perspective, Williams caught nine passes for 154 yards and a touchdown in his Auburn debut last season against Arkansas.At this moment, this doesn’t looked good for him, but Williams will get a shot to play at the next level and can now put all his energies into preparing for the NFL combine. This isn’t the ideal way to go about it. He’ll miss the structure of playing for a team, but based on how things were going at Auburn, he wasn’t responding well to it, either.So maybe he’s better off doing his own thing realizing if he fails, it’s all on him, not anyone else. His draft stock has taken a ginormous hit, but he’ll wind up in someone’s NFL camp. Trust and believe that.Has someone ever killed their draft stock without getting arrested as quickly as Duke Williams— Jordan Ney (@jsney20) October 6, 2015//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsI’m sure his influence in the locker room was significant at Auburn because he has an engaging personality. I keep going back to the YouTube video of him motivating his teammates at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College before a game.Williams had the locker room buzzing with his pep talk.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB_vk2RQ29k&w=420&h=315%5DNow take that same guy with the wrong attitude. That can create division in the locker room. Not saying he caused that, but Williams was a leader on that team. If he wasn’t motivated or driven, that can rub off on younger players. I noticed him after the overtime win over Jacksonville State laughing and joking as if Auburn had won by three touchdowns. Didn’t look good at all.When you really think about it, Williams didn’t come to Auburn to play two years. He wanted to make his first year at Auburn his last and move forward to the NFL.Then he got hurt. Williams injured his knee against Texas A&MThen he got in trouble. Williams got suspended for the Outback Bowl.Then he started tweeting about transferring in the spring.Duke Williams being dismissed is a huge step as far as discipline..Got mad respect for him and wish him the best!!— Coach Jay (@Jerrious2) October 6, 2015//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsWilliams wanted to be in the NFL, not college. I can only speculate this because Auburn never made him available to the media this season. What I do know is Williams missed six practices for what Malzahn categorized as a disciplinary issue. He clearly wasn’t following rules, but Auburn brought him back and he started in the season opener against Louisville.However, Malzahn put Williams on a zero tolerance policy, something I’m not a fan of. If you have to take that course of action to keep a player in line, that player, to me, is too far gone to reel back in.Auburn isn’t without fault on this. Malzahn didn’t appear to do enough to get him the ball. Williams had his share of drops, which shouldn’t be the case for someone of his talent, but there were times he was open and didn’t get the ball. He got tattooed a couple of times going over the middle as well.lol duke williams is gone like it makes a difference when there’s no one to throw to him anyway— have a good tim (@turbojunker) October 6, 2015//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsThe Tigers have changed starting quarterbacks from Jeremy Johnson to Sean White and haven’t committed to White moving forward as Auburn is on a bye week before playing next Thursday night at Kentucky. The offense has become one dimensional. Now it probably wouldn’t be if the quarterback play was better, but Williams hasn’t done his part either to help the offense.Last week, I asked Malzahn what was going with him and specifically questioned if Williams was engaged. Malzahn indicated the latter wasn’t a problem. He said Williams was facing double coverage early in the Mississippi State game, but said he had figure out a way to get him the ball.“There’s nothing that Duke’s doing wrong or he needs to do better,” Malzahn said.A week later, Williams is no longer at Auburn. As crazy as this sounds, it’s for the best for both.Auburn’s football ticket woes raise major questionslast_img read more

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