After two and a half years before the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals, the Maidstone Club is just weeks away from being able to upgrade its irrigation system, thanks to a controversial but well-vetted decision made by the board in late July.
The ZBA granted conditional approval of the application last summer, noting that because the property is in a historic district, approval from the Design Review Board for the irrigation system’s pump house and surrounding area was necessary to proceed. The DRB held a public hearing for the application on October 1, giving the plans the green light, and sent the application back to the ZBA for its final stamp of approval last week.
The most recent plans for the 850-square-foot pump house include lowering the first-floor elevation from 22.5 feet to 24.5 feet; providing for the partial burying or bunkering of the west, north and east sides of the building to 29 feet; eliminating one door that was facing east; and reorienting a door, originally facing west, to the south. The plans also include a fail-safe system that wouldn’t allow the pumps to operate if the remaining door to the south was left open, said the applicant’s attorney, David Eagan, during the October 1 meeting.
The board also asked Mr. Eagan if the Maidstone Club would put a fail-safe system on the pump house’s roof hatch to ensure that the pumps likewise would be shut down, with no noise emanating from the house, in the event that the hatch was left open.
“If you want a kill switch on that, you can have it,” said Mr. Eagan, adding, “We’ve never said no in two and a half years, and we’re not gonna start now.”
But the application, which has been a point of contention for neighbors who are concerned with noise and community members wary of the project’s potential effect on Hook Pond, still faced some objections from the meeting’s attendees.
A couple on Further Lane, who have spoken out against the application in the past, approached the lectern with their attorney to once again object to the application, arguing that the club has more than 200 acres to accommodate a pump house, and saying there is no reason why the house should be directly adjacent to their home.
“I’m fighting for my quality of life to be maintained,” said Carol Oshlan. “We live in a fabulous neighborhood. It’s totally open because of the vastness of the 207 acres of golf course, and there is no shield for noise,” she said, explaining that because there is no sound barrier between her home and the pump house, any noise will be easily heard by herself and neighbors.
ZBA Chairman Frank E. Newbold said while he appreciates Ms. Oshlan’s comments, the board had already ruled on the application, voting in favor of the placement of the pump house, and a thorough sound analysis had been conducted, deeming the projected noise from the pump house to be inaudible at the ambient noise level.
The board also guaranteed the neighbors access to an on-call Maidstone employee who could come to the pump house and shut off the equipment in the event that it was producing to much noise.
“It’s like being in the hot seat,” said board member Lys Marigold during the meeting. “I want to please the neighbors, but I think we’ve looked at things very thoroughly and heard the sound experts. We raised the point of what would happen at 3 a.m. if the pumps are making noise … and I’m satisfied.”
Mr. Newbold said the board was, for the most part, satisfied with the proposed plans and asked Village Attorney Linda Riley to prepare a resolution for the board’s approval of the plans. “We’ve never done a resolution on the spot,” he said in response to Mr. Eagan’s request that the board approve a resolution during the meeting. “We’ve spent two and a half years to get to this point—we want to be particularly precise on this. If it’s her recommendation that we have a written determination then that’s what we’ll do.”
The board will vote on the resolution at its next meeting, on October 24.