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.