Maidstone’s Irrigation Project Must Wait

The Maidstone Club’s application to expand and modernize its irrigation system, which has been the subject of multiple meetings of the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals, will require a final environmental impact statement before it can proceed.

At the board’s meeting on Friday, its chairman, Frank Newbold, said the board had determined that the final statement was needed to address “the various substantive comments received” from the public concerning the project. Its potential impact on the ecological well-being of Hook Pond has drawn concern from the East Hampton Town Trustees as well as nearby property owners. 

The board extended the time period in which the private club can submit the first draft of the final environmental impact statement. 

Also on Friday, even as the controversial construction of a rock revetment in front of the property at 11 West End Road proceeded, the board quickly approved the repair of an existing  revetment nearby, at 7 West End Road, between Anthony Manheim’s property and the ocean. The revetment, constructed in 1978, will be restored to its original dimensions and coverage using 5,000 cubic yards of sand. It was exposed by Hurricane Irene in 2011 and damaged by Hurricane Sandy the following year.

Like the project at 11 West End, whose owner, Mollie Zweig, obtained permits from the State Department of Environmental Conservation and the zoning board but not from the town trustees, Mr. Manheim’s reconstruction must be completed by April 1; otherwise it must wait until the fall to be finished. Piping plover nesting season halts all such activity on that date.

The D.E.C. issued a permit for the Manheim revetment, and eight of the nine trustees voted last month to do the same, calling the pre-existing structure’s repair “in place, in kind.” The trustees, who typically oppose hardening structures along the shoreline, are in litigation with Ms. Zweig, but made an exception for Mr. Manheim’s revetment, which had been buried for many years until 2011.

The zoning board granted the project a necessary variance  from a section of the village code pertaining to preservation of dunes. The code not only prohibits structures within 100 feet of a contour line representing a natural elevation of 15 feet above the mean high-water mark, but requires reconstruction and related activities to meet a 150-foot setback from the southerly edge of the beach grass along the ocean.

The revetment’s repair, said Richard Whalen, an attorney for the applicant, was needed chiefly to protect a cottage that was damaged by Sandy and is “at severe risk” of being destroyed. The two-bedroom cottage was built, in the 1960s, on the crest of the primary dune; as a pre-existing structure, the applicant has the legal right to retain it.

The cottage’s precarious state “should justify you in granting a variance,” Mr. Whalen told the board.

“We would have to get this work done very quickly if we’re going to do it in the spring of this year,” Mr. Whalen told the board. “Otherwise, it’s delayed until at least the second half of October.

“You are under a compelling deadline,” Mr. Newbold agreed. “And we’re clear who really runs the village: the plovers,” he said, drawing laughter from his colleagues.

Mr. Newbold also announced that the application of P.C. Schenck and Sons to install AT&T cellphone antennas and additional equipment has been adjourned to March 28. That proposal has drawn opposition from neighbors who fear noise generated by the cooling fans that would be situated inside ground-based equipment cabinets on the site.