By PHIL NOBILE
The latest update in the ongoing battle between Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club and concerns from local residents continued as the club attempted to refute multiple appeals against its proposed construction at the most recent Zoning Board of Appeals meeting.
A presentation given by the yacht club to ease the woes of concerned neighbors supported the decision made by Village Building Inspector Bill Gerety in April 2013 that the club’s application to build a new building on its property is zoning compliant.
“[The Shore Acres Property Owners Association] is essentially saying the building inspector got everything wrong and did not get one thing right with determining our application, which is an extraordinary allegation,” Paul Noto, an attorney representing Beach and Yacht, said. “This is an ongoing process that changes along the way, so I think most of these appeals are premature because nothing has been approved yet.”
At the meeting, Noto went through each one of the 28 appeals made by SAPOA and its president, Dan Natchez. The appeals covered a broad range of topics about the club’s site plan, from impacts on the planned addition to the surrounding area to landscaping and plumbing concerns.
One of the foremost appeals from the association is the club, located at 555 South Barry Ave., should be following the village’s current zoning code. As the project stands, the yacht club is abiding by the pre-2006 zoning code because of a settled lawsuit the club brought against the village ordering Mamaroneck to allow the club’s plan to follow the old code. The lawsuit was resolved in 2007, according to Noto, and was followed by another 2010 litigation and settlement resulting in the village paying the club an undisclosed amount and agreeing they were zoning compliant.
“You have already made a determination that the pre-2006 zoning code applies, therefore we don’t have to comply with existing zoning,” Noto told the Zoning Board.
According to Natchez, the decision of the court was based solely on information provided at the time. Natchez, a former village trustee, argues a “great deal” of information has since arisen, not presented in court, such as questions of commercial usage of the property.
“The applications before the board now are significantly different to the one in 2006,” Natchez said. “Definitions have been honed and everyone else is being held to a clearer standard. Why should they not be held to that standard?”
The SAPOA president added zoning definitions have changed in the more than seven years since the court’s ruling.
Another primary point during the presentation was an appeal that the potential attic space from the project should be included in the overall floor plan. According to SAPOA, the proposed development has maxed out its allowed floor area ratio and that the potential half-story of attic space would bring the plan above the allotted three-story maximum height in the zone.
The yacht club said, historically, unusable attic space was not taken into account when it comes to floor area ratio and that doing so would require all of the attics throughout the village to do the same. It would make single-family homes in the village non-compliant, according to Noto.
“Doing that would have a large impact not only to this application but a lot of properties throughout the village,” Greg DeAngelis, the architect for the plan to build an additional building on the property, said.
Natchez disagreed with the club’s view, saying the pre-2006 code was clear when it comes to attic space.
“The pre-2006 code is very clear that attic space counts as to what you can get in heights and stories,” the former village trustee said. “Just because it is wishful thinking that they don’t plan to use it has nothing to do with the fact that they exceeded limitations set forth in the older code.”
With the original construction plan from the Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club dating back to January 2004 according to Noto, the dispute and wrangling with the village has now spanned more than a decade and has become a monthly affair in the village.
This past February, the club and opposing neighbors disputed the necessity of the club filing a IRS 990 form, which the club has not filed since 2012. It is required to do so annually to uphold its not-for-profit status, which has been in dispute for years as to the true operations of the facility. Critics say the club goes beyond allowed limitations to hold non-member events.
SAPOA will respond to the yacht club’s April 3 presentation at the next Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on May 1, and must submit its materials for presentation to the Zoning Board two weeks prior to the meeting.