Mamaroneck Residents Slam Hampshire Club's Development Plan

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Celia Felsher addresses the Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees on Monday evening about plans for a Hampshire Country Club development. Photo Credit: Chaya Babu

MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Citing concerns related to the environment, safety, traffic and quality of life, more than 100 residents turned out to oppose the Hampshire Country Club's rezoning plans at the Village of Mamaroneck's Board of Trustees meeting Monday evening.

“The proposal of this development that includes a massive apartment complex and parking garage is grotesquely out of character for the surrounding residential environment,” said Celia Felsher, a member of the Mamaroneck Coastal Environment Coalition. She cited the Hampshire Country Club’s plans for an 11-fold increase in the current volume of its building.

Environmental issues and the well-being of the community were Felsher’s top priorities. In the event of a natural disaster, a dangerous situation would arise if the development moves forward, she said.

“The area would essentially become an island in the case of flooding,” Felsher said. “With a storm surge like that of Hurricane Sandy, this would place added stress on firefighters and emergency services who already work hard for the safety of the residents of Mamaroneck. And we believe this type of flooding will definitely happen again."

The development, which would significantly increase the traffic on Hommocks Road, has also drawn complaints about congestion around Hommocks Middle School.

“The access roads to the club cannot handle an additional traffic burden,” Felsher said. She cited an estimate of 1,000 to 2,000 one-way trips due to cars and delivery vehicles.

“The argument we heard at the open house that the rezoning will preserve land is disingenuous,” Felsher said.

The proposal would undermine zoning plans that have been a model for the state of New York, said Stephen L. Kass, a lawyer with Carter Ledyard & Millburn LLP who represents the Mamaroneck Coastal Environment Coalition. If the plan were approved, it would set a bad precedent for future development, Kass said.

“The Hampshire Country Club has an opportunity to submit a plan that is in accordance with current zoning laws, and the Village of Mamaroneck Planning Board can decide if changes ought to be made from there,” he said.

The plans are out of line with the community's goals and are only in the interest of the country club as a for-profit entity, Kass said.

Legitimate questions and concerns were raised and will be addressed by an environmental review board, Michael Zarin of Zarin & Steinmetz said in representing the Hampshire Country Club. “We want to start an open dialogue with the community about the studies and analysis that have been done so far,” he said.

But Zarin rejected the notion that the development would hurt Mamaroneck. “The Hampshire Country Club has a very unique position in the village’s master plan,” he said of the 116-acre site. “This is a proposal that is intended to increase and preserve the amount of open space.”

The Board of Trustees plans to withhold comment until the proposal is officially submitted, Mayor Norman Rosenblum said.

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ilovewp:

I could not agree with Teutonic and ewa more! Having to fight FASNY in White Plains with the likes of Michael Zarin representing them was not pleasant at all. Do not believe him when he says he wants to have an open dialog with the community. He told White Plains residents that and what it translated into was "listen to what we want...we know what is good for you." We are behind you Mamaroneck! Do not let the camels nose in the tent!

Tom Murphy:

Below is a link to a video that I made with Clark Neuringer discussing the issues and problems that are involved with developing this property and its implication for the whole Village. You will need to cut and paste into browser

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=the+tom+murphy+show+part+1&oq=the&gs_l=youtube.1.1.35i39l2j0l8.5070.6072.0.11042

ewa424:

Wow, Mamaroneck. The points raised in this article are eerily similar to those raised by White Plains residents who oppose the development of the former Ridgeway Country Club by FASNY. I expect that the developer's legal team will present arguments similar to those made for FASNY. After all, Michael Zarin is the lawyer for both projects. And "open dialogue with the community" means you will be subjected to a massive PR campaign. Also, just as in White Plains, Mr. Zarin is saying that the proposal will increase and preserve open space. How is that possible when they are proposing to erect a large structure on previously undeveloped land? Totally illogical! If you let them, the team of vultures working to create this project will pick your bones clean.

TeutonicTwat:

Oh great. Michael Zarin is also adding to Mamaroneck's flooding problem by working for FASNY's (French American School of New York) proposed project at the former Ridgeway Country Club property in White Plains - just upstream from you guys. Beware! Screwing towns through the destruction of old country clubs appears to be his specialty. And don't fall for the "open space" bait. You can negotiate for that with any developer, there are always better/more sustainable projects out there. Don't be bullied into a horrible project under the guise of fake environmental concern and "gifts" of preserves or conservancies (with inadequate parking and no security). Hang tough Mamaroneck!

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