Mamaroneck Coastal
Environment Coalition

Protecting the Future of Mamaroneck

Keeping Residents Informed – Protecting Our Environment – Maintaining Open Spaces

Our Concerns

A Massive High-Rise Condominium in a Quiet Residential Neighborhood Currently Zoned for Recreational Use Only

Hampshire's condo development plans call for the construction of a 380,700 square foot, five-story, 121-unit luxury condominium with an indoor swimming pool, restaurants, a movie screening theatre, and an underground parking garage for over 200 cars. The building would contain approximately 239 bedrooms and 300 new residents.

Listed below are the MCEC's concerns with this project.

Opening the Entire Mamaroneck Harbor Up to Rezoning and High-Rise Development

The Hampshire clubhouse property is currently designated a “Marine Recreation” Zone, which limits use to recreational and social activities. Many properties along the Mamaroneck waterfront are zoned in that same way or designated as “Marine Commercial”, such as boatyards and other marine-related commercial facilities. Under state law, the Village cannot selectively rezone one area without allowing rezoning in other similarly zoned areas. This would open the door for boat yards and clubs throughout the Village of Mamaroneck – in Orienta, along Route 1, and Shore Acres -- to be transformed into similar high-rise condo developments. Such development would drastically increase traffic, overburden our schools, social services, and infrastructure, and fundamentally change the character of our small coastal community.

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An Eyesore in Orienta

At 380,700 square feet on 11 acres, the proposed massive condominium complex would tower over all other buildings in the area and fundamentally change the nature of this quiet, residential neighborhood. This puts the proposed structure at approximately 10 times the size of the existing structure of 35,000 square feet that sits on only 4 acres. For perspective, it would be more than one and a half times the size of the largest Costco in the United States.

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Traffic Jams on Local Roads

The addition of hundreds of residents with their own approximately 200 cars plus associated delivery trucks, service vehicles, and guests for the 121 condo units, would lead to frequent traffic jams on the only two roads leading in and out of the complex—Hommocks Road and Orienta Avenue. This overwhelming addition of vehicles would greatly exacerbate the current traffic that builds at Hommocks Middle School during drop-off and pick-ups and create safety risks to residents, students, and staff.

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Years of Heavy Construction

Excavation and development of this high-rise condominium would require years of heavy construction and the removal of thousands of tons of dirt. Trucks, workers, and equipment would be directed either down Hommocks Road, worsening our traffic issues in front of the middle school, or down Orienta Avenue, causing significant traffic jams on those small roads as well as significantly increasing risks to residents, Hommocks students and staff.

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Environmental Damage to a Sensitive Area

Hampshire Country Club is in an environmentally sensitive area along the shoreline and is home to many migratory birds and other animals. Most of the club is also below flood level and prone to frequent flooding. The construction of a high-rise condominium in this area would cause immediate and lasting harm to these ecosystems.

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Unlikely Benefit to the School District

To sway public opinion in favor of their plan, Hampshire's private equity-backed developer-owners have offered to give seven acres of land to the Mamaroneck School District if the rezoning is approved. However, the proposed new school facilities are located on land the district already owns and can be built without the “gift”. The additional land would be used to create a parking lot, reconfigure Hommocks Road, and hold a playing field. It is likely that after review of the land and its issues, the land will be deemed unsuitable for its intended use as it is contaminated, consists of land fill, and sits below flood level with high risk of frequent flooding. It would cost millions of dollars that the school district cannot afford to rectify these deficiencies. Ultimately, the School District is therefore likely to reject the “gift”.

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No Benefit for Much of the Village of Mamaroneck

Even if the land being “gifted” were usable for the schools, it would provide very little benefit to the people of the Village of Mamaroneck, 40% of whom are in the Rye Neck school district—not the Mamaroneck school district. Instead, most of the supposed benefits would go to the residents of Larchmont. Mamaroneck Village residents would end up bearing the costs of years of construction, traffic jams, pressure on services, and a fundamentally changed waterfront and Village character.

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Empty Threats of the Housing Development on Club Property

The developers argue that if they don't get the rezoning for the complex, they will push for plans to build the 105-home residential development proposed years ago. This is an empty threat and residents need to know that the application to build the development was rejected in connection with a detailed Environmental Impact Statement. While Hampshire has sued the Village to overturn that decision, the Village will almost certainly prevail, and the denial will be upheld.

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Danger to Residents in the Case of Flood or Other Emergency

Hampshire's surrounding area is largely below flood level, leaving it at risk of frequent flooding. During these flood events, there is no safe egress or access route to the property. Hampshire's proposed residential development would be a significant health and safety risk for residents and first responders. This was one of the major findings of the Environmental Impact Statement for the previously proposed housing development and is equally true for the proposed high-rise condo development. Previous plans have been rejected for these safety concerns before, so why should they be accepted this time?

The Hampshire property was configured through filling in a salt marsh and has successfully operated for most of the last 100 years as a golf and recreation club. It is best designed for that continued use.

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Beware Of The False Choice

The developers’ ultimate objective is to build their grossly oversized 120-plus unit luxury condominium complex (the so-called “Residences at Hampshire”), which is much more profitable for the developers than the housing development. They made that clear in the DEIS and in statements and communications made to the Planning Board and to the community. The strategy is to have the public falsely believe that there is a choice that must be made – the housing development or the condo complex. That is not the case. The developers want residents to believe that, as the lesser of two evils, the community must support the condo development.

There are serious issues for the Village with the condo complex, so rezoning for that development should not be approved:

Setting a dangerous precedent.

  • The area on which the condominium complex would be built is in the Marine Recreation Zone. This designation limits the uses that can be made of the property. Residential units are not permitted. Therefore, to allow for development of the condo complex, the Village Board of Trustees would have to rezone the property. Rezoning of property currently zoned Marine Recreation could lead to a rezoning of other Marine Recreation and Marine Commercial properties for similar high-rise condo development – in areas such as the boatyards on Rushmore and the other clubs in Orienta. Immediately the values of those properties would skyrocket given the ability to build high rise condos, and we would face a significant risk that our harbor will be surrounded by high rise development. This would significantly increase traffic and  adversely impact the character of the Village, which has until now resisted high-rise development surrounding its harbor area.  It could also, conversely, have a negative impact on the value of single family homes in Orienta and other areas close to the harbor.
  • The significant flooding and egress and ingress risks for residents of the condo complex would be the same as those that exist for the housing project. 
  • There would be negative impacts of construction and congestion in and around Orienta and the Hommocks Middle School.
  • Possible failure of the remaining golf course given that it would be owned by a shell entity not in control of the facilities included in the condo buildings.

The developers falsely claim that without development the golf club would fail and therefore development is necessary in order to retain any of the current open space.

Development of the golf course is NOT the way to keep the current open space:

  1. Expert analysis has been submitted showing that the 18-hole golf course is viable. This analysis indicates a value for the club, continuing operating as a club, of approximately $5 million, which is consistent with the current owners' own valuation for the property as an operating golf club (without development).
  2. A bona fide offer to purchase the property at a consistent value was submitted to Hampshire. The purchasers would continue operating the property as an 18-hole golf club and offered to allow the property to be rezoned as open space in perpetuity.
  3. Under the developer's plan to build 105 single family homes, the golf course would be reduced to 9 holes. Expert analysis has concluded that the 9-hole golf club would be less viable than the current 18-hole golf club.
  4. The developer claims that developing the property would improve the likelihood of continued viability of the club. However, proceeds from sale of homes or condo units would go to the property owners and not to the golf club, and the expert analysis shows that only a minimal number of additional members would be provided by the new development.
  5. The golf course is currently thriving and with over 500 members is firmly profitable.
  6. The developer's plans puts the viability of the golf course at serious risk as even the condo development would likely require Hampshire to downsize from an 18 hole course, which would lead to significant loss of membership and associated financial resources needed to support the club.
Other alternatives must be reviewed. One alternative is to have the entire Hampshire property rezoned as open space/recreation like the way in which the Town of Mamaroneck rezoned Bonnie Briar Country Club several years ago, thereby ensuring that the property will remain as open space in perpetuity. Other alternatives include much more modest development – in line with the true as-of-right development of approximately 20 homes.
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