Hampshire’s Rezoning Objectives
The project Hampshire has put forward is not permitted under the zoning that applies to the property. Hampshire is, therefore, seeking to have the portion of the property on which the condominium complex would be built rezoned in a manner to precisely meet it development objectives.
Problems with Rezoning this Site
A portion of the property to be rezoned is currently in a Marine Recreation zone. This would create an especially dangerous precedent. Other waterfront properties along Boston Post Road, in Shore Acres and Orienta would be threatened with the risk of rezoning. For any of these properties, high-density residential development would likely be the most profitable use of land, but rezoning to allow such development would be detrimental to the surrounding neighborhoods and deprive the entire community of our unique marine and recreational assets that serve as a model for other communities.
The Developers’ Threat
In reaction to community resistance to the proposed re-zoning and massive condominium complex, the developers have threatened the community by saying they will go forward with an alternative plan to carve up the golf course into a subdivision of 106 McMansions. Since over 80% of Hampshire falls below the flood plain, the property would need to be raised and leveled in a way that is illegal and un-approvable. The developers say they will bring in tens of thousands of truckloads of landfill to raise the elevation to meet new FEMA and Village flooding requirements. This impracticable plan is also environmentally disastrous; it is a callous but empty threat by the developers in order to make the condominium plan look more attractive as the lesser of two evils.
- An international hydrological consulting firm has estimated that over 1,000,000 cubic yards of fill would be needed to bring the site to required FEMA levels, including what Hampshire and Mr. Pfeffer have estimated to be approximately 50,000 truckloads of fill brought to the site.
- This would create a massive “solid waste management facility” that would require a permit, unlikely to be granted, from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The DEC would be extremely unlikely to grant a permit to create a solid waste landfill on an environmentally sensitive floodplain.
- A solid waste management facility is a “use” not permitted in the R-20 residential and MR zones for which the property is zoned.
- Village law prohibits any substantial filling of a flood plain for any development.
For a more detailed discussion of the facts and law, please consult the letter from Carter Ledyard and Millburn to the Village Board of Trustees (link). This letter makes it clear that the proposal to create a landfill at Hampshire is an empty threat that the developers are using to intimidate the village into granting a zoning change.
The Right Approach
A developer pursuing an “as of right” development plan typically submits a site plan to various village and other government agencies in the first instance. Through an established review process, a plan would then emerge that appropriately analyzes and addresses key issues related to the site and surrounding areas, such as flooding, traffic, etc. Mamaroneck Coastal believes that a development plan should be submitted that adheres to existing procedures and conforms to current zoning and other development limitations and restrictions.