A Massive High-Rise Condominium in a Quiet Residential Neighborhood Currently Zoned for Recreational Use Only
Hampshire's condo development plans, the so-called “The Residences at Hampshire”, 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.
An Eyesore in Orienta
At 380,700 square feet on 11 acres, the proposed “Residences at Hampshire” would be a massive condominium complex and 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.
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.
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.
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.
Unlikely Benefit to the School District
To sway public opinion in favour 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”.
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.
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.
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 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.
The bottom line:
The consequences of rezoning to allow the project would be severe and fundamental for neighborhoods around the Harbor and for the entire Village of Mamaroneck. The benefits of the “gift” to the school if it even occurs are likely to be limited, if any, and are vastly outweighed by the costs to our community.