22 Aug 2014
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Day Camp Opponents Appeal Zoning Board Decision

Little Fresh Pond Association files petition in New York State Supreme Court to overturn approval of pool at site applying to become a day camp.

Day Camp Opponents Appeal Zoning Board Decision

Little Fresh Pond Association members believe that the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals erred in approving a new pool at a North Sea parcel where Southampton Day Camp Realty is applying for a change of use — and now they are taking the matter to court.

The parcel abuts Little Fresh Pond and the association, which consists of area residents others concerned with the ecological health of the pond and their quiet enjoyment, has been fighting Southampton Day Camp Realty's proposed day camp at the site for well more than a year.

While the day camp opponents had a victory last March when the ZBA ruled that the project would require a change of use variance to proceed — raising the bar for approval of the camp — the developer, Jay Jacobs, had a win in December when the ZBA said a new pool would not require a variance. Earlier this month, the Little Fresh Pond Association asked the ZBA to reopen the December decision, to no avail. Now, they are asking the New York State Supreme Court to get involved.

The challenge is based on the grounds that Southampton Day Camp Realty failed to disclose its plans and obligation to construct bathhouse facilities to service the pool's bathers, and that the ZBA relied on factual errors when determining the changes neither required a variance nor environmental review.

But Jacobs told Patch earlier this month that he did not hide the fact from the zoning board that another facility would complement the pool. "There isn’t a pool on a club or a camp that requires the members to go home to change and go back," he said.

The petition further alleges that considering the proposed pool and athletic facilities apart from the overall change-of-use application for the parcel amounts to unlawful segmentation of the environmental review process, and that the new facilities would become the property's main use, rather than accessories to the existing use, constituting an impermissible change or expansion of use.

Foster Maer, the vice president of the Little Fresh Pond Association, said he believes the court will also be compelled to vacate the ZBA's decision because the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has explicitly held that the addition of an accessory pool there first requires an environmental impact statement. Maer, whose property borders the parcels in question, is an attorney; he is among the petitioners and representing the association pro se.

The petitioners are asking the court to vacate and reverse the ZBA's decision, or at least send the matter back before the ZBA to be reconsidered in light of additional information.

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