East Hampton Town Trustees Question Maidstone Club Proposal For Golf Cart Bridge

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The East Hampton Town Trustees this week voiced doubts, if not outright opposition, to a proposal by the Maidstone Club to construct a small bridge for golf carts across a part of Hook Pond that runs through one of the holes on the historic private course.

The bridge, some of the Trustees said, could be seen as wholly unnecessary, overly long and a potential environmental hazard. They asked attorney Rick Whalen to pen a letter to the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals outlining their objections.

“I understand the safety concerns, but I don’t see the need for the bridge,” Trustee James Grimes said. “It seems to make sense to put this on hold and do something more comprehensive … on Dunemere.”

Village officials have been considering a rehabilitation of the road bridge where Dunemere Lane crosses over the pond. A lane for golf carts could possibly be included, some of the Trustees surmised, although Trustee Francis Bock wondered if an accommodation for a private property owner could be woven into a public road project.

Representatives of the golf club have said that players currently have to drive golf carts along Dunemere Lane as they play the club’s second hole, posing a safety and liability hazard for the golfers and drivers. The club has proposed constructing the bridge across the pond to allow golfers to traverse from the second tee box to the hole’s fairway. Carts would still have to cross Dunemere Lane twice, between the first and second holes, and the second and third holes.

Mr. Whalen said he is also still trying to determine whether the Trustees should actually claim ownership to the portion of the pond that lies north of Dunemere Lane, as they do for the rest of the pond. If they do own it, the Trustees could require that the club apply to them for a permit for the bridge. Representatives of the club have claimed that the Trustees do not own that portion of the pond, Mr. Whalen said.

There are already two golf cart bridges across the pond at other points on the course, both of which were granted to the club by the East Hampton Town Board of Trustees a century ago or more.

Regardless of whether they will claim ownership to the pond bottoms the bridge would traverse, some of the Trustees said that, as adjacent property owners, their objections or concerns should weigh on the decisions of the ZBA.

Mr. Whalen expressed surprise that the village ZBA had declared the project a “Type II” action, meaning that it would have no potential for environmental impacts. The bridge would require 42 pilings to be driven into the pond bottom and would segment a portion of the pond, both of which would generally be seen as potential environmental negatives, Mr. Whalen said.

“That’s a lot of disturbance,” Trustee Tyler Armstrong said, noting that the pilings would exacerbate already bad sedimentation issues in the pond.

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