Mamaroneck Coastal has identified very serious concerns regarding the Hampshire proposed development.
Over Five Years of Construction
The development would create congestion, pollution and disruption around the Hommocks Middle School and throughout the Village with over five years of major construction, including thousands of trucks to import tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of cubic yards of fill, large pieces of construction equipment, huge amounts of supplies (to build a network of roads and the 105 homes and provide sewer, water, power and other infrastructure to the new development), and large numbers of construction workers. All vehicles, equipment and supplies will be directed down Boston Post Road and around the Hommocks School to the project site.
Hazardous Toxins & Contamination
Several test results from the site showed the presence of arsenic, lead and other toxins (not unusual for property that served as a golf course for almost 100 years). The presence of these toxins does not raise concerns so long as they remain undisturbed in land used only as a golf course. However, as huge portions of the golf course are excavated (including through blasting) to provide an additional 300,000 cubic yards of fill for the project, the arsenic, lead and other toxins on the site will be disturbed, leading to possible danger from airborne toxins to neighbors and students, staff and athletes who attend, or use the fields adjacent to, the Hommocks School, as well as pollution running into the adjacent Long Island Sound during rain and flood events.
Pressure on Our Schools
Enrollment in the School District has been consistently expanding over the last many years. In fact, enrollment over the last 8 years has increased by approximately 600 students – the size of an entire elementary school. Several elementary schools are currently beyond optimum capacity; the District has held meetings recently about this crisis. The addition of 105 new homes will significantly exacerbate the elementary school overcrowding problem, especially at Central School.
Damage to Our Environment
The project will destroy the largest remaining area of open space in the Village, which has been designated as a Critical Environmental Area, including the clearcutting of over 430 large trees, many of which are close to 100 years old. Additionally, the excavation, stockpiling and moving of hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of contaminated fill will lead to runoff of toxins into Long Island Sound (which abuts the property) during significant storms. The Project will also destroy an important migratory pathway for birds and the habitat for many other animals.
Increased Traffic Congestion
The only access roads to the proposed development are Hommocks Road and Orienta Avenue (to Cove Road). The developers have committed that all construction traffic (see note above) will be directed down Boston Post Road to Hommocks Road and then around the Hommocks School to enter the project site. This will create major traffic congestion and safety issues around the Hommocks School and at the intersection of Weaver Street and Boston Post Road, which is already over-burdened at times during school days and on weekends. Additionally, it is expected that approximately 200 cars (and many delivery and service vehicles) would be associated with the new homes. This will add to existing traffic along Hommocks Road and Orienta Avenue, and lead to increased congestion around Hommocks School and throughout the Village.
Greater Risk for Flood Damage
The property has been submerged in tidal floods several times in recent years (including in a 1992 Nor’easter when a local resident drowned when his car was washed off the road around the property), and with climate change the number and intensity of coastal storms is expected to increase. The design of the development will create a dangerous situation for residents and first responders in the event of significant storm surges. In a significant flood, there would be only one route, which is not wide enough for two-way traffic, available to enter or leave the development, and that road could be submerged in water making it impossible to use.
Negative Financial Consequences
The information in the DEIS regarding projected financial impact of the development on the Village is problematic. We believe that the developers’ estimated assessed values of the proposed homes, which were based on home located outside the Village, are overstated (leading to an inflated projection of additional tax revenues) and the estimated costs of providing services (especially with respect to impacts on our schools) are understated. Additionally, when taking into account the issues that will be presented for these new homes (contamination, flooding risk, etc.), together with the fact that adding over 20% to the available Orienta housing stock at one time will likely depress values throughout the area, the inflated values are even more problematic
Inconsistency with Village Comprehensive Plan and Prohibited Filling of Designated Flood Plain
The Village Comprehensive Plan notes the special status of Hampshire as a Critical Environmental Area and the largest open tract of land left in the Village and recommends that it remain as open space. In addition, Village law prohibits adding any fill at all to a designated floodplain, such as the Hampshire golf course, without obtaining a special variance following determination by the Planning Board that conditions required for the variance have been met. These required conditions cannot be met given the nature of the property and the way in which the property is proposed to be developed.
Illegal Use of Private Roads
The three roads proposed to be used for primary access to the community – Cove Road, Eagle Knolls Road and Cooper Avenue, are all private roads and Hampshire does not have the legal right to have those roads used for the proposed development.
VIABILITY OF THE CLUB; NEED FOR THE PROJECT
The developers have argued that the project is needed to preserve the viability of the Club. Contrary to this statement, evidence was provided showing that the current 18-hole club is viable. This is consistent with information distributed by the Club owners stating that the Club has been very successful in recent years. Evidence was also submitted that the project will actually jeopardize the viability of the Club, with downsizing the golf course to 9 non-continuous holes ringing portions of the housing development. If the Club were to fail the Village would be left with a large amount of mostly unusable land that would need to be managed. Thus, the primary “need” that would be served by the development is the need for the developers to maximum profits, after which they would be out of the picture with no responsibility or accountability for future outcomes of the Club or the remaining open space.