Letters to the Editor from opposing sides: the developers of the The Residences at Hampshire in Mamaroneck, followed by the Mamaroneck Coastal Environment Coalition on the issue of flood safety at the site:
To the Editor,
As a civil engineer with Kimley-Horn, one of the nation’s premier planning and design consultants, I’d like to apply my 28 years of experience to provide some clarity on the issue of flood safety as it pertains to The Residences at Hampshire in Mamaroneck, one of our recent design projects.
My colleagues and I have devoted considerable time and resources to evaluating floodplain management at the development site. The Residences is designed not only to keep its residents safe according to current flooding patterns, but also to address even the most drastic credible estimates of sea level rise in the future. Even if the current FEMA 100-year flood level were to rise an additional four feet above its current 12-foot elevation, the homes would remain out of harm’s way during the worst flooding.
In addition – for the first time ever – there will be a safe exit route out of the neighborhood for residents on Cove Road and Eagles Knoll Road in the event of a flood. This route would provide safe passage for all homeowners (not just those living in The Residences) and emergency vehicles during storms.
The question raised repeatedly by the Village Planning Board is whether or not this new elevation would redirect flood waters or a surge from Long Island Sound onto adjacent properties. Both we and the Village Board’s experts have cited Flood Model data indicating that the development would not result in any such displacement.
The data and studies confirming the flood-soundness of The Residences has been thoroughly vetted by the Village Planning Board’s experts and made available to the public for months, if not years. They have accepted our modeling, as well as the conclusion that the proposed development would not exacerbate flooding in the neighborhood. Therefore, as we approach the end of the SEQRA review process, we are confident in the data and modeling presented in the draft FEIS. The place to find the facts about The Residences is within those studies, publicly available on the Village of Mamaroneck’s website, as the approval process continues.
Michael Junghans, PE
Kimley-Horn of New York, PC
To the Editor:
Once again, a spokesperson for the Hampshire development has skipped over relevant facts concerning its project’s potential flooding impacts. This is reflective of the developer’s continuing pattern of omitting critical pieces of information.
For one, the developer has proposed use of Cooper Avenue (adjacent to the property) as the only available ingress and egress for the housing development in the event of a storm surge, Cooper is a narrow, private road that – at best – can only accommodate one-way traffic (as noted several times in the developer’s submitted draft final environmental impact statement). In an emergency, this would be a nightmare given the narrow width of the road, as large emergency vehicles try to enter the area, while hundreds of cars attempt an exit at the exact same time – creating dangerous conditions for residents and first responders alike.
The Hampshire developer has also acknowledged that in a significant flood condition, Cooper would be under “only a foot of water,” which would be passable for emergency vehicles with high undercarriages, but ordinary passenger cars could not safely navigate this purported exit route; thereby, leading to the possibility of stalled cars blocking the one available emergency exit route for hundreds of residents and blocking emergency vehicles that need to enter the development.
Contrary to what Hampshire has stated publicly, floodwaters will not recede with the tide. Due to the “bathtub” structure of the golf course – which is not going to be altered – once water pours into the golf course, it stays there for days or weeks. This was well-documented in pictures previously submitted to the Village of Mamaroneck Planning Board showing the flooding at Hampshire during Superstorm Sandy and other storms (many of which were nowhere near the same intensity) long after the tide would have receded. In prior storms, much of the flood waters needed to be pumped out manually.
Finally, the analysis did not model the impact of the development on timing of flood water surge inundation during the less than 100-year storms, which are actually the storms that are most relevant (for example, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene and the Nor’easters in 1992 and 1993.)
The debate over the future of Hampshire Country Club continues, and we expect that moving forward the public will receive all the information it deserves, and that the Village Planning Board will remain vigilant in its investigation and evaluation of this project. This discussion is far from over, and that is exactly what is warranted when making such an important decision that will impact residents’ lives for decades to come.
Mamaroneck Coastal Environment Coalition