The Little Fresh Pond Association filed a lawsuit Tuesday morning challenging a Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals determination that allows tennis camp owner Jay Jacobs to add a swimming pool, playground and sports court for children to his 17.4-acre property on Little Fresh Pond in North Sea without a variance.
The December decision ruled that the additions were acceptable customary accessory structures to the camp’s tennis courts, meaning that the additions would complement the property and would not constitute a change of use, requiring a variance.
The decision was separate from one the ZBA must make in the spring concerning Mr. Jacobs’s request for a change of use variance, from one pre-existing, non-conforming use to another, to transform his tennis camp and club into a summer day camp for children. That decision cannot be made until an environmental review of the property is completed. Currently, the Town Planning Board is leading the study.
Days before the ZBA’s decision on the swimming pool, Southampton Town code enforcement officers issued a stop work order to the camp after a neighbor saw work going on at a cottage. According to the order, “A sizable renovation, including electric and plumbing was being performed without permits …” Members of the Little Fresh Pond Association took issue with Mr. Jacobs, saying the renovation and possible conversion of a cottage into a bathhouse was not included in Mr. Jacobs’s swimming pool application.
The lawsuit filed this week claims that Mr. Jacobs and Southampton Day Camp Realty failed to disclose its intention to construct a bathhouse with its planned swimming pool, which, according to members of the association, misled the ZBA as to what Mr. Jacobs’s full set of plans were.
Secondly, the suit argues that separating the environmental review of the pool and children’s playground and sports court from the rest of Mr. Jacobs’s proposal to change the property’s use from one pre-existing non-conforming use to another is an “unlawful segmentation of the environmental review process,” given what the Little Fresh Pond Association argues are “numerous adverse impacts these changes in use would have on the already impaired environment.”
Lastly, the suit claims the “oversized” pool and children’s sports facilities are not accessory uses and would become the property’s main use and would be an “impermissible” change or expansion of the property’s nonconforming use with many adverse impacts.
“We see allowing the pool, which holds up to 100 kids, as allowing [Mr. Jacobs] to start the day camp,” said Little Fresh Pond Association Vice President Foster Maer. “Most kids would be there because of the pool. Right now, there are very few kids there, and it will become completely different. That’s our concern.”
Members of the Little Fresh Pond Association are asking that the court vacate and reverse the ZBA’s decision, or at least remand the matter to the ZBA for consideration of the additional facts they say the ZBA didn’t consider in reaching its decision.
Mr. Jacobs’s attorney, Wayne Bruyn of O’Shea, Marcincuk and Bruyn LLP, said on Tuesday that neither he nor or Mr. Jacobs had seen a copy of the suit, and declined to comment.