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Apr 17, 2013 8:52 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Little Fresh Pond Association Asks For Stop Work Order At Jacobs Site And Is Denied

Apr 17, 2013 10:14 AM

Watching trucks move in and out of tennis camp owner Jay Jacobs’s 17.4-acre parcel on Little Fresh Pond in North Sea this spring, members of the Little Fresh Pond Association have grown suspicious that the property is slowly being transformed into a day camp for kids one piece at a time. The Southampton Racquet Club and Camp’s new website, advertising kids’ activities, has fueled their suspicion.

Earlier this month, the group sought both a stop work order from Southampton Town officials and an injunction from State Supreme Court staying construction, but both were denied. In their request, members said that the installation of a swimming pool would transform the tennis camp to a day camp, and that the transformation of a residential cottage on the property into a bathhouse was a change of use and should require a variance from the Town Zoning Board of Appeals.

For two years, members of the LFPA have been fighting Mr. Jacobs’s proposal to transform the tennis camp into a larger day camp for kids, saying the traffic, pollution and noise it would bring would have a negative effect on their neighborhood and the pond.

Last March, the ZBA 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 later this year. 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. In response, members of the LFPA filed an appeal in January, which is currently before State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Pastoressa.

Arguing against the LFPA’s stance that a new bathhouse in a former cottage is a change of use, Mr. Jacobs’s attorney, Wayne Bruyn of the Southampton law firm O’Shea, Marcincuk and Bruyn, said that the bathhouse is actually just toilet facilities with a changing area—adequate for complying with state law that requires that a pool have such facilities.

“They believe that requires a different label and a different label is a change of use,” Mr. Bruyn said, adding that Southampton Day Camp Realty has site plan approval, Suffolk County Department of Health approval and building permits for the pool and the interior changes made to the cottage.

Last week, Justice Pastoressa denied the LFPA’s request for an injunction staying construction of the pool, citing a lack of evidence of irreparable harm. “The petitioners’ allegations that the construction of the pool will facilitate transition of the premises from a ‘tennis camp’ to a ‘day camp’ and engender additional traffic flow is sheer speculation,” he said in his decision.

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