Deer are feasting on the wildflower meadows planted at , a 50-acre high-end subdivision that has lain dormant since the economic downturn.
After spending millions on mature trees and other landscaping for the project, real estate developer Bob Gianos is not happy about the pests, like any local gardener dealing with deer. He’s hoping to cull the deer population at Olde Towne by obtaining a nuisance permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The permit would allow him, or hired hunters, to kill deer on his property year-round with shotguns.
His attorney, Frank Isler of Riverhead, went before the Southampton Village Board last Tuesday at the request of the DEC to ask that a private road bisecting Gianos' property not be considered an official “street.” The village code, written in 1938, prohibits hunting within 500 feet of a street. If the village grants Isler's request, Gianos will be able to secure a nuisance permit from the DEC.
But, the proposal was met with concern from the village board, even though Mayor Mark Epley proposed allowing a deer culling program with bows and arrows in 2009.
“I have real issues with the gun part of this,” village Trustee Nancy McGann said.
No decision on the request was made at the meeting. Epley said the village would meet with the DEC in the coming weeks to discuss it further.
“We are a victim significantly, though we have tried to plant deer-resistant material,” Gianos said. “It’s tremendously accelerated in commercial operations. The nursery men have tremendous losses associated with deer population. There’s a true economic impact.”
Other than the tree-lined road leading off Old Town Road into the subdivision, Gianos would have permission to cull the deer population from the DEC, without involving the village, Isler said. Once within the confines of the property, hunters would be 500 feet from neighboring Wickapogue Road, Pheasant Lane and Old Town Road, Isler said. Of the 50 acres the developer bought, six are a dedicated village park, Isler said.
Village Trustee William Hattrick asked about the type of ammunition the hunters would use, but Isler said he did not have any details on it.
Epley said he would consider the change if the hunting is only done in the quiet months from January through March. Isler said the permit would allow hunting year-round.