What is Mamaroneck Coastal?
Mamaroneck Coastal Environment Coalition (“Mamaroneck Coastal”) is a not-for-profit corporation. A grassroots, citizen–led volunteer organization, Mamaroneck Coastal was formed in response to the plans of the owner/developers of Hampshire Country Club (HCC) to seek a major zoning change that would enable them to build a five-story, 290,000 square foot,125-unit condominium complex with a 250+ car underground parking garage.
While our initial focus has been the proposed development of the Hampshire, Mamaroneck Coastal is committed to ensuring rational land use policies and practices throughout the coastal areas of Mamaroneck, including Mamaroneck Village, Town of Mamaroneck and Village of Larchmont.
Why is there concern about this development project?
- Dangerous Precedent: Granting a zoning change to allow high density residential development in an area designated Marine Recreation would be a dangerous precedent that would set the stage for requests to rezone other waterfront and environmentally sensitive properties. A pioneering waterfront plan and careful zoning currently protect the Village of Mamaroneck and its waterfront, even in the face of development pressures that have changed other communities.
- Taxes: The development is likely to increase our tax rates due to lower tax rates paid by condominium owners, leading to a net cost to the Village.
- Traffic: High density development will exacerbate already difficult conditions near Hommocks School, town fields and nearby roads.
- Flooding and Safety: Residents will be put at risk and our community resources will be further burdened in times of emergency by high-density development on a historically flood-prone site.
- Scale: The planned building would be grossly out of character with the neighborhood, dwarfing surrounding single-family homes. The complex is planned to be 5 stories high (higher than the Avalon in Mamaroneck) and equal in size to 3 typical Home Depots, with 400+ parking spaces above and below ground.
- Open Space: The promise of a “legacy” of open space is misleading. Most of the golf course cannot be feasibly or legally developed so it will remain “open space” regardless; and the open space legacy will be for a continued private golf course operation – not public open space
What are Hampshire’s Options?
- Hampshire has the following options:
- Operate Hampshire solely as a golf and recreation club in accordance with current zoning requirements. Hampshire representatives have stated publically that the club currently operates at more than break-even and at or near membership capacity. Hampshire could therefore continue to operate solely as a private membership club with no property development, which was the stated goal at the time of purchase.
- Develop the property in a manner consistent with existing zoning and approval processes. Any development plan would then go through established land use processes for review and approval – the same processes that would be applicable to all other Village property owners.
- Develop the property in a way not currently permitted – by seeking a rezoning to permit the development of a high-density apartment building complex. This is the course Hampshire has stated it wants to pursue. Hampshire would have to petition the Village Board to change the zoning laws for this to happen.
Mamaroneck Coastal firmly believes that rezoning to allow for high density development is the worst option for all of us. The Village Board has the right (and would avoid extensive legal proceedings and related costs) to decline to consider this request for rezoning. The only beneficiary of the proposed rezoning would be the owner/developer who would be receiving a significant economic windfall at great expense to the community with higher taxes and reduced quality of life. The owners of Hampshire bought the property with full understanding of applicable zoning and building/operating restrictions, which were factored into their purchase price.
If any development is considered, it should be development consistent with current zoning laws and only after the proposal has gone through established land use review and approval processes. This development should go through the same approval processes that all other property owners would have to go through. The owners of Hampshire should not be allowed to circumvent the system
Mamaroneck Coastal also urges the Village Board to consider rezoning Hampshire as “open/recreational space”, as suggested in the Village’s Comprehensive Plan and as successfully accomplished by the Town of Mamaroneck when they rezoned 428 acres to open space on three parcels including Bonnie Briar Country Club and Winged Foot Country Club.
To achieve its objective of getting the property rezoned to build the condo complex, Hampshire has put forth an exaggerated subdivision plan that is illegal and not approvable. It consists of a threat to build a subdivision of 106 single-family McMansions. This would require over one million cubic yards of fill to raise the level of the golf course to meet FEMA and Village flood requirements. It would create a landfill, which is not permitted in a flood plain. Residential homes also cannot be built in this environment. See “The Developers’ Threat” under Rezoning Concerns for more information.
What is Mamaroneck Coastal Doing Now?
Mamaroneck Coastal is informing the community about local land use issues through community meetings, direct mailings of brochures and informational flyers, Facebook, email, Letters to the Editor, news articles, press releases, and this website. We have successfully encouraged hundreds of residents to write to the Board of Trustees and will continue these efforts.
Mamaroneck Coastal has retained the Carter Ledyard & Millburn as legal counsel. Mamaroneck Coastal also retained HR&A Advisors to provide financial and tax analysis, Happold Consulting to provide hydrologic (i.e., water-related) and other environmental and technological advice and Lisa Liquori to provide planning advice. The advisors were engaged to ensure that we are armed with fact-based legal, technical and economic information in order to develop thoughtful positions.