A state appellate court has upheld a ruling that the village of Mamaroneck’s zoning appeals board acted properly when it granted a special use permit to the Hampshire Country Club to run nonmember events.
Mamaroneck Coastal Environment Coalition, consists of four couples who live near the golf and tennis club, sued the board in 2014, claiming that it ignored evidence about traffic, parking, noise and safety problems at the club when it issued the permit. A state Supreme Court judge in Westchester dismissed the lawsuit in 2015, finding that the zoning board had not abused its authority.
Four justices in the Second Appellate Division agreed last month. “Where substantial evidence exists,” they ruled, “a court may not substitute its own judgment for that of the board.”
The 216-acre property on Cove Road is owned by Hampshire Recreation LLC.
It is operated by Hampshire Club Inc., a nonprofit organization, as required by village law. But Hampshire Club is a sham that operates for the benefit of the club’s investors, the coalition claimed.
The neighbors also contend that country clubs may only serve members and their guests. But Hampshire Country Club holds weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, golf events and galas for nonmembers. People attending these events, the coalition said, have damaged their properties, created excessive noise and traffic and caused parking and safety problems.
After the village cited the club for violations in 2013, Hampshire owners formed the nonprofit and applied for a special permit to hold nonmember events. The zoning board approved the permit.
The coalition accused the zoning board of acting capriciously and ignoring unrefuted evidence. They wanted the permit rescinded because it was issued to a sham nonprofit organization and because the board put no restrictions on noise and parking.
Supreme Court Justice Linda S. Jamieson rejected the coalition’s arguments in dismissing the case in 2015.