A resolution that would have put Mamaroneck Village squarely in opposition to Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht Club’s (MBYC) bid to buy state-owned land in the harbor never came to a vote when the board of trustees met Monday.
Drafted by Trustee John Hofstetter and threatened with lawsuits by the yacht club, the resolution was left in parliamentary limbo, failing to achieve a second from one of the board’s four other members.
Hofstetter attributed their reticence to the club’s explicit threat of litigation, not only against the village but individual trustees themselves. A letter to the trustees from club attorney Jonathan Lupkin warned of “substantial damages” if they supported the resolution, which he said simply reaffirmed the village’s posture favoring public ownership of public lands. At issue was a state-owned half-acre parcel in the harbor, which the yacht club has applied to purchase. More than a tack-on piece of added property, the half-acre represents part of the yacht club’s requisite square footage to support a proposed housing complex.
The club had asserted ownership of the land, citing a title company survey, but when the state’s Office of General Services (OGS) laid claim to the parcel, the club sought to buy the land from the state. The OGS, in turn, asked the village for input, leading Hofstetter to draft his resolution.
“The problem is, they [OGS officials] had asked our opinion and we didn’t provide one,” Hofstetter said. He declined to describe any specifics of his subsequent conversations with fellow board members, saying only “there will be further discussion.”
“I think the public has been done a disservice,” he said. Hofstetter called the board’s lack of action “embarrassing” and blamed it on the intimidation inherent in threatened legal action against the trustees as individuals. The threat was contained in Lupkin's letter to the board, read into the record last night.
At Monday’s meeting, Dan Natchez, president of the Shore Acres Property Owners Association, which opposes the yacht club’s housing plan, denounced the threat as “a new low standard for this village.” He said he regarded intimidation as “an unconscionable action.”