A new zoning measure in the Town of Oyster Bay...

A new zoning measure in the Town of Oyster Bay will mean that a reduced number of homes can be built on the property of North Shore Country Club, pictured here in 2010, if it is sold in the future. Credit: James Escher

Town of Oyster Bay officials recently reduced the number of single-family homes that can be built on at least two private golf courses within the town if the properties are developed for housing in the future.

The zoning measure, which town board members unanimously passed on June 11, limits potential residential development on Glenwood Landing-based North Shore Country Club and Engineers Country Club, most of which is in Roslyn Harbor. 

Supervisor Joseph Saladino's administration said in a statement Tuesday the measure “preserves open space” and protects land that collects floodwaters.

The measure attracted opposition in January from attorneys representing the two golf courses when a study on the issue was detailed at a town hearing.

Zone Change

  • A new measure means fewer homes potentially could be built on at least two Oyster Bay private golf courses.
  • Attorneys representing those golf courses argued against the measure at a January hearing.
  • Town officials said the zoning change will help preserve open space.

A wider trend of golf course redevelopment, driven by declining membership and financial challenges, prompted the town to study the zoning of Oyster Bay golf course properties and how more restrictions could protect open space, town attorney Frank Scalera said at the hearing.

Environmental planning firm Nelson, Pope & Voorhis LLC carried out the study, which included six private courses and three public courses in the town.

The firm wrote in a report based on the study that because many golf courses are zoned for single-family residential use, owners seek scenarios that “typically involve housing” if the properties change hands.

Attorney Allan Hyman, who represents North Shore Country Club and argued against the measure at the town’s January hearing, said in an interview after the recent vote that his client will have to review the change “and determine the next steps.”

The measure changes zoning on the 83-acre golf course from allowing a single-family home to be built on every half acre to allowing one every two acres. The town-commissioned study said that would reduce the number of possible homes on the club’s acreage within the town from 127 to 25.

Hyman also said at the January hearing that such a reduction of potential homes on the property — which he said is likely to be sold — would decrease its value.

The new measure also changed the four acres of Engineers Country Club within Oyster Bay to two-acre zoning. Zoning previously allowed for a single-family home every 0.16 acres on that property.

Anthony Guardino, an attorney representing developer RXR, which owns Engineers Country Club, didn't respond to recent requests for comment.

Guardino said at the January hearing that a proposal to build housing on the part of the course that's in Roslyn Harbor was pending before officials in that jurisdiction, and any Oyster Bay zoning changes could put the developer's deal in “jeopardy.” 

Roslyn Harbor Mayor Sandy K. Quentzel said Tuesday that the application for that development remains pending, with the environmental review process underway.

John Bennett, a Southampton-based attorney with decades of experience in land use and real estate cases, said Oyster Bay’s zoning change won't help to address affordable housing shortages on Long Island.

“If these parcels are sold for development, what a lost opportunity to establish incentives for some market-value development but with a required workforce component,” he added.

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