By ASHLEY HELMS
Installing a new sewer line at the Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club may become an uphill battle after the club’s proposed plan to replace the line near Otter Creek faced opposition from a Shore Acres resident who would be directly affected by the construction plans.
Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club, located at 555 South Barry Ave., along with its engineering planner, Tom Holmes, decided the best way to repair the pipe is to bore underneath Otter Creek and come up through Alda Road and extend the pipe to a municipal sewage treatment plant underneath the street. This would require construction to extend through resident Barbara Mann’s residential property at 519 Alda Road in the Shore Acres neighborhood, adjacent from the club’s property.
Mann said drilling up through Otter Creek away from her property would be more appropriate for the community and would utilize more sound engineering practices.
“My husband and I object and will not allow a sewer line to be run through our property,” Mann said.
A force main lateral break near Shore Acres Beach was discovered in late July 2013 after volunteers from the non-profit environmental group Save the Sound took samples of the water around Shore Acres to pinpoint why nearby beaches were closed so often. The break, which was fixed on Aug. 14, 2013, caused raw sewage to leak into Long Island Sound.
The pipe requires a permanent fix, which the club plans to go forward with after it receives approval from the village Planning Board and the county Department of Health.
In explaining the club’s reasoning, Holmes said his preferred option of cutting through to Alda Road keeps the pipe underground, protected from the elements. Going up the creek and out towards South Barry Avenue, could leave the pipe exposed to cold temperatures and possible flooding, he said, but it’s a doable second option. Mann said she would prefer this option.
The old sewer system will be able to remain active while construction is going on, which is another reason why going out toward Alda Road is preferable, Holmes said.
“We recognize that Otter Creek is a sensitive environmental area, but we are proposing we can do this without disturbing the bed and banks,” Holmes said.
Due to the project’s proximity to an environmentally sensitive area, Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club is required to submit an environmental impact draft statement to the village Planning Board under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. Replacing the sewer pipe in general was found to have the chance of negatively impacting the local environment, according to Les Steinman, the village’s land use attorney.
Steinman said, according to the SEQR resolution, the possibility of negatively impacting the club’s surrounding environment was not adequately defined or outlined in the club’s draft environmental impact statement. The Planning Board unanimously accepted the resolution on Jan. 8; acknowledging that the sewer replacement could adversely effect the environment.
Though boring under Otter Creek and utilizing Mann’s property is the club’s favored option, Paul Noto, Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht’s attorney, said the club is legally obligated under SEQR to look at other options. He said he and the club want the sewer line to be fixed as “expeditiously as possible.”
Noto also represents other business interests in the village, including the Hampshire Country Club, as well as serving as Rye Town’s attorney.
“[The preferred plan] was devised after consultations with village engineer [Anthony Carr] and it is his expertise and his judgment that has directed us this way,” Noto said.
In addition to the club’s sewer line issues, residents, including those involved with the Shore Acres Property Owners Association, have spoken out against what they feel are blatant zoning code violations at the club.
Concerned residents spoke out in December 2013 against Village Building Inspector Bill Gerety’s determination that April an amended site plan application to build a new yacht building at the club was zoning compliant.
New York State sent a letter to the club in September 2012 declaring its ownership of an Otter Creek parcel the club was intending to use to construct 31 seasonal housing units. The land was found to be state-owned and not up for sale.
In July 2013, SAPOA issued a letter to the village Planning Board saying it found a number of violations to SEQR and village zoning codes within Beach and Yacht Club’s amended site plan for the new yacht building, including emergency service codes and visual changes to Mamaroneck Harbor.
Regarding the Planning Board public hearing on Jan. 8, SAPOA attorney Debra Cohen said SAPOA felt the notice of a public hearing regarding the sewer line break was ambiguous in its wording because it said the hearing was referring to a wetlands permit public hearing. She said this may have caused residents to not be fully prepared to make statements at the meeting and the Planning Board should have reinforced to the public that the public hearing is part of the SEQR process.
“Everyone wants an orderly process here and I’m concerned on behalf of SAPOA that we are going down a road that’s going to create problems instead of solve them,” Cohen said.