Addressing a packed room at the Local Summit’s most recent breakfast program were representatives from the Village of Mamaroneck and from New World Realty Advisors, LLC, the organization responsible for managing the redevelopment of Hampshire Country Club.
Village Manager Richard Slingerland, accompanied by Village Planners, provided an overview of the development projects currently in process in the Village of Mamaroneck, including Hampshire Country Club.
Daniel Pfeffer and Thomas Nappi, from New World Realty Advisors, LLC, provided details on their current plan to redevelop Hampshire Country Club.
Update on Hampshire Plan
While the current proposal calls for eliminating the golf course, and adding 44 single-family homes and 61 townhouses scattered throughout the 116-acre property, most of which lies in the Village of Mamaroneck, New World Realty Advisors’ (NWRA) plans for Hampshire did not start out that way, says Pfeffer.
In December 2009, the financially ailing golf club closed its doors. After the Village of Mamaroneck and the Town of Mamaroneck, working together, failed to reach an agreement with the owners to purchase the property, Hampshire was sold to NWRA in June 2010 for $12.1 million.
Asked why they couldn’t keep operating Hampshire as a golf club, without any development, as was originally discussed – Pfeffer asserted that it is nearly impossible to operate a profitable golf club and that since purchasing the club, they have operated at a deficit each of the five years.
According to Pfeffer, membership has grown under NWRA’s ownership and NWRA has tried to be a good neighbor by opening the club up to the community; Hampshire is now the home of the Mamaroneck High School golf team, and opens its doors for charitable events.
Pfeffer said that when they first purchased the club, they envisioned creating a “Country Club Community” that minimized its impact on the community, including on the schools and municipal services. Their original idea was to preserve the golf course, and to develop the area where the current club house is located into “empty-nester” condominium housing. In response to concerns about potential future development in an environmentally sensitive area, Pfeffer said that NWRA agreed to give up their development rights to the remaining land by putting it in a land trust. However, this plan would have required a zoning change as the current club house – the site of the proposed condominiums – is located in a protected marine zone that does not permit development.
This controversial plan attracted a lot of opposition from neighbors concerned about any development in the environmentally sensitive and flood-prone area. According to Pfeffer, when this original re-zoning plan was submitted to the Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees in February 2014, the Village Board immediately rejected the plan, without any discussion with NWRA.
Following the initial rejection, New World Realty Advisors revised its plans based on community feedback, reducing the proposed condominium units by 25% to 96 units. This second proposal was likewise rejected by the Village Board without any discussion with NWRA.
Hampshire submitted the current plan to the Village of Mamaroneck on June 26, 2015. Unlike the previous two proposals, it does not require any zoning changes. Proposed development will not be in the marine zone, where the current clubhouse resides.
The single family homes will be scattered throughout the current golf course. When questioned about how the developers will deal with the flooding issues that Hampshire is known for, Pfeffer noted that by carefully selecting where the homes are located, they will build in areas above the predicted flood plain, in keeping with FEMA regulations.
Although the golf course would be destroyed, the club house, swimming pool, and tennis courts would be preserved and renovated under this plan.
When asked by Larchmont resident and The STEM Alliance president Meg Käufer which plan would most meet the needs of the community, and if both plans were still on the table, Pfeffer responded that he felt that the original plan for condominiums would be best for the community in that it would respond to a housing need for empty nesters and would have minimal impact on the community in terms of services required, including schools. While the original condominium plan is no longer on the table, Galvin noted that when the Planning Board reviews Hampshire’s plans, it might be one of the options they consider.
A $55 million lawsuit by the club against the Village over the process of rejecting their rezoning proposal remains in progress.]
Development Projects Underway or Under Discussion in the Village of Mamaroneck
Slingerland estimated that recently completed/approved and planned new development projects – excluding Hampshire Country Club – would add around 160 residential units to the Village. As noted below, two of the projects presently on the table include a total of seven affordable units. In terms of how these new units might impact services in the Village, including the public schools, Galvin downplayed the potential impact on the schools, asserting that only a handful of units were likely to have school-aged children.
Development projects include:
- Completed: 108 Mamaroneck Avenue (formerly bridal shop site) with 1,800 square feet of commercial space along Mamaroneck Avenue and 6 residential units on Library Lane
- Completed: 122-128 Mamaroneck Avenue, commercial space currently with two tenants: Bach to Rock music school and Spice Kitchen Indian Restaurant
- A&P: property owners Brixmor Property Group, specializing in grocery-anchored shopping centers, are currently seeking a grocery store to replace the soon-to-close A&P. Audience members expressed concern about the type of grocery store that would be selected as a replacement, and were assured by Village Planner Galvin that Brixmor is looking at a range of markets and would be taking the demographics of the neighborhood into account in its decision.
- Approved project – 534 W. Boston Post Road (formerly McGuire’s site): 7-unit townhouse development across from the West Basin of Mamaroneck Harbor
- Approved project – 151 Mamaroneck Avenue (formerly Chatsworth Auctions site): rehabilitation of existing space to include commercial space and 10 residential units
- Proposed TOD project – 690 Mamaroneck Avenue (formerly 3 Jalepenos site): application for mixed use residential and commercial building with 21 residential units, two of them affordable units, and 2,600 square feet of commercial space.
- Proposed project – 620 W. Boston Post Road: 6 residential units across from Orienta Avenue
- Proposed project – 120 Madison Street (formerly Strait Gate Church site): requires approval of a proposed zoning change to enable adaptive reuse of the existing church to an Aqua-Tots swimming instruction facility. Note: Aqua-Tots, which specializes in swimming instruction for children, has franchises in over fifteen states, including a popular facility in Harrison.
- Court-ordered – 270 Waverly Avenue (formerly Blood Brothers): 96 units, 5 of which must be below market rate
- Potential sites on the west side of Library Lane: estimated 12-15 residential units
Responding to questions from the audience, Galvin shared that while parking was considered for each individual project, the Village has not reviewed overall parking needs resulting from the addition of the new/proposed development projects. The audience also inquired if there would be additional public transit service put in place to service the needs of development in the TOD; as of now, there are no plans for expanding transit services.
Recent Zoning and Proposed Zoning Amendments in the Village of Mamaroneck
Leading off, Richard Slingerland reviewed recently adopted and proposed zoning amendments that are intended to encourage development consistent with the Village’s comprehensive plan update adopted in February 2012. The main ones include:
- Transit Oriented Development (TOD): passed in November 2014, the purpose of this zoning change is to revitalize the area on Mamaroneck Avenue west of the train tracks. TODs aim to create mixed-use residential and commercial space near active train stations and promote reduced reliance on personal automobiles. Local examples of TOD zoning include Bronxville, Mt. Kisco, Pelham and Scarsdale.
- Library Lane: proposal to rezone the west side of Library Lane from C-1 (general commercial) to C-2 (downtown commercial), consistent with the east side of the road. Five properties on the west side of Library Lane would be affected, but the impact is expected to be minimal.
In addition, there are other proposals aimed at preserving the harbor views by reducing the height of structures in the C-1 zones along the Boston Post Road from 50 feet to 45 feet; encouraging walkways from parking areas behind Mamaroneck Avenue to the Avenue; and facilitating adaptive reuse of shuttered church facilities in the Village.
Longer-term Development Initiative: Industrial Area Visioning Plan
Looking longer-term, in an effort to revitalize the Village’s declining industrial area, a major “visioning plan” for the Village’s industrial area is currently underway. Early in 2015, the Village’s Industrial Area Redevelopment Committee hired New York City-based rePlace Urban Studios as consultants to help develop a long-term revitalization plan for the industrial area, including attracting new industry to the area.
[Note: A Copy of Richard Slingerland’s presentation is available on both the Local Summit’s website and the Village of Mamaroneck website, or through this link: click here.]
This breakfast forum was hosted by The Larchmont-Mamaroneck Local Summit, a volunteer community organization founded in 1995 dedicated to facilitating dialog and collaboration among government, schools, non-profits, business and citizens in order to promote positive change within the tri-municipal Mamaroneck, Larchmont and Rye Neck community. Its monthly public meetings are usually held at the Nautilus Diner in Mamaroneck at 7:45 a.m. on the third Tuesday of the month. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino will be the speaker at the Local Summit’s next breakfast program on Tuesday, December 8, 7:45 a.m.