Tennis Club Taken to Court

Hampton Racquet at Green Hollow, a tennis club on Buckskill Road, is expected to fight 30 East Hampton Town citations in Justice Court on Monday for work allegedly done without permits and ignoring a stop-work order. According to Michael Sendlenski, an attorney for the town, the club and the town are nearing a resolution. The slightly larger than six-acre property is zoned for residential use, but the club is a legal use because it existed before the zoning was put in place. “We want to see them come into compliance,” Tom Preiato, the town’s chief building inspector, said last week.

A possible amicable resolution of the matter did not satisfy the owner of a neighboring property, Greg Gordon. “If they don’t enforce the law, why pass the law at all?” he asked Monday. Tiffany Scarlato, the attorney for Hampton Racquet, which is operated by John Graham and Monica Graham, did not return phone calls on Monday and Tuesday.

“They built four youth tennis courts. They took down extensive vegetation to build a volleyball court. They converted a garage into a food preparation area,” Mr. Gordon said. He went on to list other changes on the property, all of which, he alleged, are contrary to permitted use. He has amassed a six-inch-thick folder and is ready to present it to the court.

 The then-Green Hollow Tennis Club was granted variances from the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals on Jan. 3, 1984, that allowed it to expand from 10 tennis courts to 13. The decision carried certain conditions, which Mr. Gordon says have been violated. In particular, one of the conditions states: “Applicant will remove no trees or growth nearest to the residence of Gregory Gordon in constructing the additional tennis courts.”

The club went before the East Hampton Town Planning Board last October with a preliminary application for site plan approval, but Eric Schantz, a planner for the town, found the application vague and asked the company to provide the exact uses intended. There has been no further action.

Mr. Gordon pointed to three surveys done over the years by the George H. Walbridge Company. Although the land that adjoins his property was supposed to remain wooded, a 1993 survey shows a foot path there. A more recent survey, he said, describes the foot path as a “dirt drive.” Mr. Gordon’s attorney, William J. Fleming, has subsequently exchanged numerous letters and emails with an attorney for the club, Mark Catalano, about the drive.

Many of the violations the Building Department has cited are, in a sense, triplicate, since they say the club does not have site plan approval, building permits, or a certificate of occupancy. The town also argues that the club failed to comply with a stop-work order issued when retaining walls were being built. The violations also allege the club cleared a half-acre more than allowed, the conversion of a tennis court to a basketball court, and the construction of two sheds.

The club’s website advertises weekday openings for tennis lessons for children from 3 years old through teenage years. Meals and transportation can be had for extra fees. The club also has been praised for a tennis tournament it sponsored as a benefit for the Retreat, the East Hampton agency that assists victims of domestic abuse.