Some residents of the Little Fresh Pond community were upset last Thursday when they noticed construction at tennis camp owner Jay Jacobs’s 17.4-acre property on Little Fresh Pond in North Sea. The construction sent up red flags for neighbors, reminiscent of when Southampton Town code enforcement officers issued a stop work order to the camp in December after a neighbor witnessed construction going on at one of the cottages on the property that did not have a building permit.
Wayne Bruyn of O’Shea, Marcincuk and Bruyn LLP, who is representing Mr. Jacobs and Southampton Day Camp Realty, said the construction on the site involved the replacement of failing septic systems as directed by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services. He said the replacement of the sanitary septic systems is necessary for the existing use of the premises as a tennis camp with 12 cottages and is solely within the jurisdiction of the Department of Health Services.
For two years, members of the Little Fresh Pond Association have been battling with Mr. Jacobs over his proposal to transform the tennis camp into a larger day camp for kids.
Last March, the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals ruled that Mr. Jacobs would need a change of use variance—from one preexisting, nonconforming use to another—to convert his camp into a day camp. A decision is expected after a lengthy environmental impact study is completed this spring. Mr. Jacobs must also prove that the change in use would be beneficial to the general neighborhood.
More recently, the ZBA ruled that Mr. Jacobs would not need a variance to add a swimming pool, playground and sports court for kids, which were deemed as “acceptable customary accessory structures” to the camp’s tennis courts and would not constitute a change of use. Members of the association have said Mr. Jacobs is backing into his day camp plans by getting his camp approved piecemeal.
While the work going on at the property now caused some upset, Foster Maer, the association’s vice president, said he was concerned more about the accessory structures dominating the property’s main use as an adult membership club, citing children’s activities listed on Southampton Racquet Club and Camp’s new website, www.southamptonrcc.com.