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Jun 14, 2016 4:33 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Planning Board Deems DEIS For North Sea Day Camp Change Of Use 'Incomplete'

Little Fresh Pond in North Sea. PRESS FILE
Jun 15, 2016 10:07 AM

The Southampton Town Planning Board wants more information about a controversial day camp in North Sea before moving forward with approval for a change of use.

The board last week deemed a draft environmental impact study submitted last year to be “incomplete” at the recommendation of Cashin Associates, the engineering firm it had hired to review the document. Specifically, Planning Board members asked for clarification about what activities will take place in and on Little Fresh Pond, and how the change in use could affect traffic at the intersections of North Sea and Mecox roads, and Mecox Road and Majors Path.

The board also wants information on how much more parking would be needed. Questions also remain about details of groundwater flow and stormwater runoff, whether there should be an alternative sanitary system, and whether there will be an increase in chemicals used on site, via fertilizers and to treat swimming pools.

The proposal by Jay Jacobs, who owns the facility known as the Southampton Country Day Camp and formally as the Southampton Racquet Club & Camp, calls for a change of use from “tennis club/camp” to a “tennis club and camp” on the 17.4-acre property. The minor rewording would permit all of the current activities being offered at the facility, including tennis, swimming and other sports, and would sidestep challenges in the courts by 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.

Mr. Jacobs, the president and chief executive officer of The TLC Family of Camps, and the Little Fresh Pond Association have butted heads over the last few years regarding his application. This week, Mr. Jacobs said he was not surprised that the DEIS was not deemed complete after the first review, and that he anticipated that it wouldn’t be.

“We took a look at the comments. There’s nothing out of the ordinary that we’re concerned about,” he said, adding that his team of attorneys and engineers will resubmit the document soon. “I understand,” he said. “This is a process.”

Planning Board Chairman Dennis Finnerty said that after Mr. Jacobs submits the revised DEIS, the board will have 30 days to deem it complete or incomplete. Once it is deemed complete, a public hearing can be scheduled on the application.

John Barona, president of the Little Fresh Pond Association, circulated an email last week that said he believed the DEIS “was chock full of lies and omissions.”

“Today was a memorable day for all of us who live around Little Fresh Pond,” Mr. Barona wrote. “We are gratified that we have assembled such a competent team of experts who have defended our position so admirably up to this point. Our message to the town has been unrelenting, that we will not go away, that we will show up at every hearing and that we are resolute in our collective effort to save Little Fresh Pond.”

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Little Fresh Pond should not be a site for a day camp!! Hello, it too little for that!!! Dont need it, dont want it, TY
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Jun 14, 16 7:23 PM
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Jun 15, 16 12:25 PM
Good for you, John Barona....and Thank You. Plus who needs a study? Just look at the photo and the algae bloom is plain to see right there - on the south end of the pond - where the waste from the camp is leeching right into the pond. That camp is counting on canoeing and kayaking in that tiny pond...don't let them do it! And the traffic problem of the school buses on Major's Path in the morning is awful. Just when school is done for the year and we have relief from getting stuck behind one ...more
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Jul 17, 16 12:04 AM