Maidstone Gets Go-Ahead

Public hearings on the application began in May of 2012

The Maidstone Club’s more than two-year effort to modernize and expand the irrigation system on its 18 and 9-hole golf courses ended on Friday when the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals approved area variances and special and freshwater wetlands permits for the project, albeit with two of the five members voting to deny the application.

Public hearings on the application began in May of 2012. The approvals granted Friday will allow the conversion of a test well into a third irrigation supply well, the installation of a .42-acre irrigation pond, construction of an 850-square-foot pump house, and the addition and/or replacement of subsurface irrigation piping. Approximately 18,884 linear feet of piping will be added and another 15,500 linear feet replaced within the 125-foot setback from Hook Pond set by the village code. The irrigation pond will require clearing 1.58 acres in the middle of an approximately 5-acre area on the private club’s east course. Pumping will be increased from 9.2 million to 25 million gallons of water per year.

Larry Hillel and Craig Humphrey, the members who voted against the application, cited neighboring residents’ opposition to the location of the pump house. “One property owner said that both she and her husband thought this is an inappropriate use of land because it’s industrial use in a residential area,” Mr. Humphrey said on Monday. “That feeling was not isolated to that couple.”

According to the village code, before issuing a special permit for the pump house, the board was to “give consideration to the character of the existing and probable development of uses of the district and the suitability of the proposed use within that district.” Mr. Humphrey said people were referring directly to that statement when they asked “to have other locations on the Maidstone property identified and considered, or they’re not willing to accept an industrial land use in their residential neighborhood.”

The final environmental impact statement set some design parameters for the pump house, such as lowering its elevation, partially burying or bunkering it on three sides, limiting access to one door, and installing a system that would disable the pumps if the door were left open.

Other conditions were attached to approval, which were meant to alleviate neighboring property owners’ concerns, among them a requirement for site plan approval by the design review board, which is to include a revegetation plan for the area around the irrigation pond.

The club also will be required to submit annual reports for the first three years following the new system’s use that is to include soil testing. It also must maintain a 10-foot buffer between the irrigation pond and fencing that will surround it, and submit a report to the village’s code enforcement officer stating that no noise emanating from the pump house is audible at any property line. Construction is also to be tightly controlled so that dust, mud, and soil erosion will be minimized.