We believe that golf courses are a wonderful amenity in the Town of Southampton. We also believe that all businesses and residents should develop according to the town’s building codes.
Therefore, we are opposed to the application by the Atlantic Golf Course on Scuttlehole Road in Bridgehampton for a 6,500-square-foot building for additional employee housing overlooking Short Pond.
How does a golf club qualify for employee housing as an accessory use when the building code only allows employee housing for restaurants and agricultural labor, stipulating that employee housing “shall be located on the site of a farm which employs agricultural laborers”?
How is the building inspector qualified to change the definition of “agriculture” in order to support this application, and why was that accepted by the Planning Board? “Agriculture” is defined as “the science, art, or practice of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock and in varying degrees the preparation and marketing of the resulting products.”
We understand that privately owned golf clubs qualify for beneficial tax rates. Is this because they preserve open space? If so, this building would take away open space from the public’s views. The most recent Bridgehampton Hamlet Plan calls for the preservation of scenic vistas along Scuttlehole Road. If the Zoning Board of Appeals upholds this special exemption, which the neighbors are appealing, it would be contrary to the Town Board’s Hamlet Plan.
According to Planning Department files, Atlantic Golf Club already has 24 bedrooms for employee housing. Seventeen were granted when this property was still farmland. In 2012, the club received permission to add seven more bedrooms, which shouldn’t have been allowed, as the property was no longer agricultural.
ZBA members, being appointees of the Town Board, should not be taking the role of overriding the building codes written by the elected officials who have appointed them. Rather, if the Town Board believes that employee housing at golf clubs should be allowed, the members of the Town Board should legislate a change in the building code.
This ought not to be the role of the building inspector, the Planning Board or the ZBA. Town employees and appointees should be upholding the town building code whenever possible.
In 2018, during the course of a previous building application by the Atlantic Golf Club, this time for a 3,600-square-foot teaching facility, the State Department of Environmental Conservation communicated that an investigation “has revealed that regulated freshwater wetland SA-79, located on the golf course property, is a documented tiger salamander breeding pond. Therefore, work proposed by Atlantic Golf Course within 1,000 feet of this pond may require a DEC Threatened and Endangered Species Takings permit.” Has the DEC been notified of this current application?
Bridgehampton Civic Association
One fine body…