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Nov 2, 2016 11:05 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

North Sea Camp Proposal Near Little Fresh Pond Reaches Public Comment Stage

Southampton Resident John Barona, who lives near Little Fresh Pond, plays with his dog at the pond.  JEN NEWMAN
Nov 2, 2016 11:20 AM

The Southampton Town Planning Board has deemed a draft environmental impact statement for a controversial tennis and day camp in North Sea adequate for public review.

At an October 27 meeting, the Planning Board scheduled a public hearing on the proposal for December 8 at 6 p.m. in Southampton Town Hall.

According to Planning Board Chairman Dennis Finnerty, after public input is collected and a final environmental impact statement is drafted and adopted, the board will issue a finding statement based on the public input. The applicant, Jay Jacobs—who owns the facility known as the Southampton Country Day Camp and formally as the Southampton Racquet Club and Camp—would still need to submit a site plan, which would be the subject of further public hearings.

The proposal calls for a change of use from “tennis club/camp” to a “tennis club and camp” on the 17.4-acre property near Little Fresh Pond. The minor rewording would permit all of the activities currently being offered at the facility, including a day camp as well as tennis, swimming and other sports, and would sidestep challenges in the courts from neighbors—mainly members of the Little Fresh Pond Association, who argue that the change of use will increase the number of campers, creating more noise and diminishing the water quality of the pond. Approximately 20 residents attended the October meeting to oppose the proposal, although there has not been any official public comment period yet.

Mr. Finnerty clarified that the day camp use is not the issue the board is considering, but rather modifications to the site, which is expected to include updates to the facilities, including a new septic system and bus lanes. He stressed that under the town code, there is no differentiation between a tennis camp or a day camp, and no limits on how many people can be at the facility.

“My feeling is that the town has to more clearly define camps in general,” Mr. Finnerty said. “I would like to see the Town Board amend the code to establish limitations of occupancy on day camps.”

He said the applicant has indicated a willingness to accept a limitation. The draft environmental impact statement is available to view online, at Town Hall or at the Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton, according to Mr. Finnerty.

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Seems like it's going back to a previous use, albeit one abandoned a long time ago. Back in the '60's it was a Summer camp for kids from around the world; the UN would sponsor them. After that endeavor lost it's luster he continued to rent the cabins out to Summer visitors from the City (there were about 12-15 cabins, as I recall). Doc Kronemeyer owned the place then, and along with a lot of other folks he became infatuated with Tennis in the '70's. Around 1976 or '77 he added tennis courts ...more
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Nov 2, 16 11:56 PM
2 members liked this comment
to Funbeer:


"Seems like it's going back to a previous use, albeit one abandoned a long time ago."

Just so, emphasis on the word "abandoned". When a pre-existing, non-conforming use is abandoned, the property can no longer be so used currently.

This process is just Jay Jacobs' piling up the chips on his side of the eventual decisive decision regarding the site's status. He will invest a bunch of money ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 3, 16 1:35 AM
2 members liked this comment
You are right, the Day Camp use was abandoned decades ago. Without question. Renting the cottages as Sumer rentals continued throughout the years. Proving this might entail the assistance of the previous owner's son Jeff, who is still around town. Limiting the tennis club to daylight hours and barring night lighting would keep the facilities from intruding on longtime neighbors quite enjoyment of their homes. Traffic is going to increase regardless, North Sea is no an longer "uncool" place to ...more
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Nov 3, 16 11:05 AM
Seems like there are two issues here: 1/How to prove that the use was abandoned long enough to change its use back to current zoning, or allow it to continue if in fact was operating & 2/The Town needs to develop an objective standard for an occupancy rating. That is if one doesn't exist already. This is an obvious commercial use and there are occupancy ratings on restaurants, night clubs should also be applied to this use. Especially when children are involved. This occupancy should be more restrictive ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Nov 3, 16 6:32 AM
Perhaps we should be careful what we wish for....Westhampton has a drug and alcohol rehab center. Hampton Bays has a drug and alcohol rehab center. Southampton, as far as I know, does not, but this property would make an ideal one - it's a great retreat in a quiet area away from liquor establishments. Blocking a day camp catering to children might make some alternate uses more attractive and worthwhile.
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Nov 4, 16 2:20 AM
I'd really like to better understand what will happen to traffic there. I'm concerned about the dangerous curves at that location. Especially when one is heading South and there is a hidden drive onto Majors path. There are three or four entrances to the"camp"--it has been a tennis club as I am concerned going back 40years--it seems. How will this work in the future? What kind of traffic will be going in and out?Just school buses or individual parents picking up their children also? Majors Path ...more
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Nov 3, 16 9:05 AM
Until someone runs into a school bus full of kids coming around that curve...But thanks for trying to allay my concerns nonetheless.
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Nov 3, 16 11:39 AM
1 member liked this comment
too many developments degrade the neighborhood, don't sell out for money.
By yassar arafar (33), sag harbor on Nov 3, 16 9:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
Tennis club next to the low income housing & parking ?
By dave h (193), calverton on Nov 3, 16 9:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
He's aiming to have 600 screaming kids on that property. Would you want that in your neighborhood? Yeah. Thought so.
By East End 2 (151), Southampton on Nov 7, 16 8:10 PM