The author is President, Mamaroneck Coastal Environmental Coalition
To the Editor:
I am writing to respond to Susan Goldberger’s letter regarding the proposed 105-home development at Hampshire. Ms. Goldberger is an employee of the developer, and is using her letter to achieve the developer’s ultimate objective, which simply and directly is to make the largest profit possible from an investment that they made in 2010 to purchase the golf course in a distressed real estate transaction with the goal of developing the property. They have their own and outside investor capital at stake. That is where their interests lie. If the project moves forward, once it is complete, or possibly even in process, the developer will be gone, with its profit, leaving the impacts of the development to the rest of us.
Having read every page of the project’s draft Environmental Impact Statement, I know the impacts of this project on the community are enormous. Interested community members should go to the Village of Mamaroneck website and review the current draft of the Environmental Impact Statement and supporting documents and comments for themselves.
As for the substance of Ms. Goldberger’s comments:
- The number of new students resulting from the project would likely be closer to 100. Ms. Goldberger’s reference to 57 students is fantasy. While that was originally proposed by the developer as a projected number of students (and even the developer subsequently increased that number), the School District, an impartial party trying to honestly analyze the impact of the development on the District, submitted thoughtful documentation showing the projected number would be 85. Another planning expert submitted material showing a projected number of students at 91.
- Goldberger’s reference to $1.55 million of net tax revenue for the schools is also a fantasy. The net School tax revenue would actually be significantly lower, and the project could lead to a net tax cost to the District.
- Goldberger’s number is based on revenue and cost assumptions that do not make sense. The revenue assumption is based on assessed values ($2.6 million for each 4-bedroom single family home and $1.3 million for each 3-bedroom carriage home) that are inflated when compared to other sales of similar real property in the community.
- The additional “cost” to the District used by the developer is understated because (i) it is based on 66 new students rather than the more likely 85 projected by the District, and (ii) it is based on a per student assumed cost of only marginal program expense and not the all-in per student cost of the District.
- Using more realistic assessed values of $1.9 million for the single family homes and $1.1 million for the carriage houses, and using the School District’s assumption of 85 new students and full per student cost, and deducting the portion of the net tax revenue that already exists (and would continue to exist without the development) because the property already pays school taxes with no student population, we would see a small net cost resulting from this development. Even using per pupil programmatic cost with these more realistic assumptions, any net tax revenue to the District would be minimal.
- Goldberger’s statement about “confusion” regarding soil contamination is misleading. The NYSDEC considered the narrow question of whether excavated soil could be reused onsite if properly covered with “clean fill” to protect new residents. The NYSDEC did not review or even have any information regarding processes proposed to excavate and manage on-site fill nor did it address dangers and safety precautions necessary during long periods of stockpiling of the contaminated soil on property that is subject to flooding and is located close to a middle school, playing fields and other homes.
- Goldberger’s comments about traffic also need to be addressed.Restricting trucks during ½ hour before and after school is little protection (even if it can be enforced). The Hommocks fields are used after school and on Saturdays, with children outside and coming and going at hours other than the 30 minutes before and after school.
- This restriction does not address the noise and distraction as trucks and heavy equipment pass around the school throughout the day or the impact on air quality as children and spectators use the Hommocks fields after school, on weekends and during the summer.
- The 28 trucks per day on average during the initial construction period (estimated by the developer to be 9 months but may very will last longer) will lead to 56 truck trips per day on average (because each vehicle has to come and go). That alone, at 6 days per week for their estimated 39 weeks would lead to over 13,000 truck trips. There would also be tractor-trailers carrying large amounts of construction supplies (for roads, sewers, water mains, electricity conduits, foundations, etc.) and equipment needed to excavate (through digging and blasting) and move 200,000 cubic yards of internally generated fill. After the initial phase, significant materials would need to be provided as additional internal roads are built, and 105 homes are erected, leading to more truck and tractor-trailer trips. In addition, this does not include the 50 car/pick-up truck trips per day (again please see the EIS) estimated by the developer for construction workers during the several years of house construction. In addition, since not every construction day would be the same (due to weather and construction schedules) many days would see a much greater than average amount of construction vehicle traffic.
- The number of trucks estimated by the developer is based on their assumed amount of external fill needed for the project. Information was submitted during the EIS process showing that much greater amounts of external fill (and therefore of construction trucks) than projected by the developer would be required.
- The EIS does not contain any reference to bike lanes or other safety precautions for pedestrians around the Hommocks School. That road and Eagle Knolls Road do not have any room to expand for bike lanes or sidewalks and none were proposed. The sidewalks proposed for the new internal roads of the development do nothing to address safety issues around the Hommocks School.
These are only a few of the serious issues with the development. Facts and information do matter.