Submitted by Celia Felsher, President of Mamaroneck Coastal Environment Coalition, Inc:
Mamaroneck Coastal Environment Coalition, Inc. reported that over 130 Village of Mamaroneck residents attended a standing-room only community meeting held in the Mamaroneck Public Library Community Room on Tuesday, June 11th. The meeting focused on the proposed development of a 120 – 125 unit luxury condominium complex, with a 250 car underground garage and luxury condo amenities, on the Hampshire Country Club property, as well as land use and zoning issues throughout the Village of Mamaroneck.
Celia Felsher, President of Mamaroneck Coastal, explained that the Hampshire property was purchased a few years ago in a distressed real estate transaction by a private equity fund managed by Westport Capital, located in Westport, CT, and a small group of individuals led by national developer Dan Pfeffer, a resident of Larchmont. After indicating at the time of purchase that they had no plans to develop the property, they have now publicly announced their objective of having the property rezoned to permit the massive condo development, which the developers have likened to a Polo Club property in Boca Raton.
Ms. Felsher clarified to an attentive crowd that Mamaroneck Coastal is opposed to the rezoning and the development of the condo complex on one of only seven designated Critical Environmental Areas in the Village due to significant issues related to traffic, flooding, neighborhood character, noise pollution, development in a sensitive environmental area and other matters. Ms. Felsher further described that Village residents would most likely see increases in their real estate taxes as a result of the development and warned that rezoning the property to allow for the development would create a dangerous precedent for development throughout the Village.
Ms. Felsher also expressed concern over the developers’ bullying public relations campaign, threatening the community with a 106-home “McMansion” sub-division, destroying the entire golf course property, if they do not get their rezoning approved. Ms. Felsher made clear that this was an empty threat given that such a development would not be feasible or legal. The sub-division plan, requiring over 1 million cubic yards of landfill to significantly bring up the level of the entire golf course to meet FEMA guidelines, would create a solid waste landfill in the middle of Mamaroneck, on an environmentally sensitive floodplain and would violate Village Code requirements for flood plain property.
Ms. Felsher highlighted the relationship between the development issues at Hampshire and other land use issues throughout Mamaroneck Village, including proposals regarding development and business operation ordinances along Mamaroneck Avenue, and the lack of zoning and ordinance enforcement throughout the Village, including Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht Club. The discussion shifted to the many similar concerns shared by residents throughout the Village, which also include flooding, taxes, traffic and quality of life.
Ms. Felsher warned against succumbing to a “divide and conquer” campaign that attempts to pit one group of Village residents against another. Those in attendance expressed agreement, as well as a strong interest in continuing to bring people from various parts of the Village together to express their views to elected officials and other Village boards. Mamaroneck Coastal was widely praised for convening this community forum, Ms. Felsher concluded the meeting by stating, “If we as Village residents work together, we can be assured that development and land use in the Village of Mamaroneck will be reasonable, feasible, and consistent with our community values.”
Mamaroneck Coastal Environment, Inc. is grass roots not-for-profit corporation formed by Village of Mamaroneck residents to collect and provide information, and ensure appropriate consideration of policies and practices, relating to land use in Mamaroneck. You can obtain more information about Mamaroneck Coastal on its website, www.mamaroneckcoastal.org.