- The club property is served by two narrow, winding private roads that are not suitable for the large expected amount of additional traffic.
- The proposed residences and parking would generate significant additional volume around Hommocks School, where traffic and safety issues are already a concern.
- Traffic congestion around Weaver Street, Boston Post Road, Hommocks School, town fields and residential areas near Hampshire would be made far worse.
Flooding Related Issues
- Hampshire is subject to chronic flooding. Large portions of the site have been inundated with flood waters in major storms – from the 1992 Nor’easter, which resulted in a tragic fatality due to flooding at Hampshire, to the more recent floods from Hurricanes Irene and Sandy and numerous other heavy rainstorms and unusually high tides.
- Adding 120+ units of housing to the property would put our first responders at further risk the next time the property is cut off by flooding. This will also raise the costs of and put pressure on the availability of local resources for the rest of the community.
- We believe that the developers’ stated plans to “control” flooding through the construction of large seawalls and other measures are grossly impractical and are likely to result in a more rapid rise in water levels if and when they fail. As Hampshire’s own consultant said to the Orienta Point Association: “Water always wins.”
Large-scale, high density development in a flood prone area is imprudent, especially given the current movement away from building in flood prone areas, as frequently noted since Sandy, including in a February 3, 2013 New York Times article. (“Cuomo Seeking Home Buyouts in Flood Zones”, The New York Times). http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/04/nyregion/cuomo-seeking-home-buyouts-in-flood-zones.html
Size and Scale
- The proposed building is 290,000 square feet—approximately the square footage of three Home Depots and larger than the entire Boston Post Road building of Mamaroneck High School.
- It dwarfs nearby structures. It is roughly 8 times the size of the existing clubhouse and 40-80 times the size of adjacent homes.
- It would undermine the residential character of the neighborhood and set a precedent for future zoning changes in other residential neighborhoods with zoning regulations currently in place to protect them.
- The Hampshire property is one of only seven “Critical Environmental Areas” in the Village. As a result, the Village’s own Comprehensive Plan (adopted in February, 2012), called for lower, not higher, density rezoning of Hampshire – either as recreational/open space or R-30. High-density development should be avoided at this site.
- The developers suggest that the project would be an attractive source of tax revenue. Our research indicates otherwise.
- Condominiums, such as those proposed by Hampshire, are taxed at much lower rates relative to comparably valued single-family homes. As a result of this difference, which has been highlighted in recent Journal News and New York Times articles, the municipal costs associated with the development will be greater than the additional tax revenue generated by the development.
- The development will, therefore, most likely increase our taxes. Independent analysis by our financial consultants, HR&A Advisors, Inc. (which looks at both revenue and the costs of municipal and school services) reveals a net cost to the Village and Town, with increased taxes for other residents.
- In addition, condominium development in our highly regarded school district will likely attract more school-aged children than calculated in formulas used by the developers. This would further burden the resources of our schools and lead to a net increase in school taxes for other residents.
- In summary, the development of the condo complex would come at great expense (economic and otherwise) to the residents of the Village and Town. The only beneficiaries of the development are Hampshire’s owners – Westport Capital (a distressed real estate investment private equity firm based in Westport) and Dan Pfeffer and members of his development group.
Light and Noise Pollution
This high-density development would add significant light and noise pollution to an otherwise quiet residential community. Reports of Hampshire’s current carting practices at unauthorized hours, as well as holding events that violate current zoning ordinances, already disrupt the community. Additionally, there are plans to include a 24-hour gym and a small movie theater for use by residents and club members, creating a continual flow of traffic at all hours.
Mr. Pfeffer has said that, as a Larchmont resident, he wants to leave a “legacy of open space.” This is misleading. Mr. Pfeffer doesn’t own the property and the owners want to maximize profit for their investors through the condo plan. The golf course cannot be fully developed so open space will remain regardless. Also, Hampshire will remain a private golf club, not public open space for public use.
In addition, there is also no guarantee that the club will continue to operate and remain as open, even if privately used, land. The ownership of the condo development will be separate from ownership of the remaining 100 acres that will operate as a golf course. It is quite possible that, even if the condo development is approved, the community will still be faced at some point in the future with another proposal to develop all or a portion of the remaining property.