Mamaroneck Coastal Environmental Coalition (Mamaroneck Coastal) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to obtain and provide information to the public regarding policies and practices relating to land use in the Town and Village of Mamaroneck. We also work to ensure this information is appropriately considered by government officials and other stakeholders when considering development plans and strategies. We focus primarily on environmentally sensitive coastal areas in order to (i) understand the impact of proposed development and zoning matters on the community, (ii) protect the local environment and (iii) maintain and encourage public access to open space.
2008 – 2014: Private Equity Acquisition and First Rezoning Request
Hampshire Country Club had been a private, membership golf club since the 1930’s. It ran into financial trouble during the financial crisis in 2008 and was acquired in 2010 by a group that initially indicated it would not develop the property. However, most of the funding for the acquisition was provided by a private equity firm (Westport Capital) specializing in distressed real estate, and shortly after acquiring the property the owners proposed that part of the property be rezoned to allow for the development of an over 300,000 square foot 121-unit five-story luxury condominium complex with a 250 car parking garage.
The request to consider rezoning was rejected by the Village Board of Trustees. Hampshire sued the Village following this rejection, claiming the rejection violated Federal Constitutional rights and also State administrative law. The Village won both of these lawsuits.
2016 – 2020: Private Residential Development Proposal
As a result of the refusal to consider rezoning, in 2016 Hampshire’s developer-owner and their private equity backers submitted to the Planning Board a proposal to build a “planned residential development” development consisting of 105 homes (44 single-family homes and 66 town houses) on a portion of the golf course property. The proposal would have reduced the golf course to 9 non-contiguous holes ringing portions of the housing development.
However, the golf course is located on land that is below sea-level, prone to flooding, and is highly environmentally sensitive. So, following extensive, detailed review by the Village of Mamaroneck Planning Board, this proposal was rejected. The board cited several reasons for this rejection including [Adopted Findings]:
- Risks from Flooding: Lack of access for First Responders and Lack of Egress for Residents during storm surges, when the property is completely inundated with many feet of sea water
- Disturbance of a Critical Environmental Area due to the need to cover Hampshire’s flood prone land with hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of soil
- Traffic and Construction Disruption for 6-7 Years while up to 52 daily truck trips would be made to the site in order to bring in dirt and other construction materials
- Significant Construction Noise during the 6-7 year construction period
- Destruction of a Habitat for Migratory Birds
- Significant Loss of Open Space in a Critical Environmental Area
Despite this rejection, Hampshire’s owners appealed the decision, asking the court to overturn the Planning Board’s Decision. The court declined to do so and instead asked the Planning Board to revisit a small handful of specific reasons for the rejection. These included: revisiting the open space impact, a recalculation of the amount of excavation required, a review of a last minute plan by Hampshire’s owners to offset flooding with a hydraulic sea wall, and a disclosure of the addresses of Planning Board members. While the Village has appealed this decision, and no decision is expected for several years, the housing project would still be subject to Planning Board approval under the same terms for which it was rejected in the first place.
2023: Hampshire’s Owners Attempt to Revive Rejected Rezoning Request
Throughout the process, Hampshire’s owners made it clear via its Draft Environmental Impact Statement and in its statements to the community that its real objective was not to build the 105-homes, but instead to use the approval of this plan to pressure the community to support a rezoning for the condo development.
So, after 13 years of failed efforts, Hampshire’s developer-owner and their private equity backers are now trying to revive the long-dead condominium proposal by driving a wedge through the Mamaroneck community. In order to sway public opinion, they have offered to donate 7 acres of land to the Mamaroneck School District should their development plans be approved by the Village. While the offer of “free land” may seem attractive at first glance, it is in fact a poisoned chalice. The land is polluted, unstable, and prone to flooding. Moreover, allowing the development would cause massive problems for the Village of Mamaroneck for which the majority of Village residents would receive no benefits.
MCEC’s goal is to educate residents about the grave concerns raised by this project.
Board and Officers
Board of Directors
- Celia Felsher
- Jane Herzog
- Tripp Lane
- Stuart Seltzer
- Celia Felsher
- Stuart Seltzer
VP and Treasurer
- Jane Herzog
VP and Secretary