Village Board of Architectural Review Meeting October 16, 2007

he Board of Architectural Review met on October 16, 2007. Member PA Howard was absent.

Two applications were voted on and both received approval.

  1. Sally Spooner received approval for replacing windows and installation of a trellis and 2 garden gates. She has also received approval for the repainting of her house and shutters.
  2. Dr. Douglas Ewing received approval for relocating a 2nd floor fanlight window to the 3rd floor and then installing an exact replica of an existing window on the 2nd floor.

The Board then opened discussion to consider how the Trustees might modify Local Law 2 of 2006, which allows applications for new home construction to skip Planning Board review if there is a “structure” already upon the property. “Structure”, under its current Code definition refers to anything man-made; walls, out-buildings, antennas, ruins etc. The Board recalled that several applicants have already avoided the Planning Board’s site plan evaluation, while others have not, and some members of the BAR and Planning Board consider this an uneven procedure.

A letter from BAR member Peter Ashley-Howard was read expressing his opinion that the Code should not be drafted to cover anticipated events. He further stated that the current Code review system was working well and established a set of checks and balances to assure uniformity.

Attorney Richard Golden differed, stating that the BAR, PB and BZA are not intended to, nor do they, create a “checks and balances” system. The Chair, Mrs. Hempel, also countered indicating that preemptive legislation seems preferable to reactive legislation.

Mrs. Hempel also suggested three points:

  1. The Planning Board address all subdivisions
  2. All new home applications receive Planning Board site-plan review
  3. All new construction or expansion of non-residential structures also be routed through the Planning Board.

A discussion ensued exploring other methods of equalizing the treatment of applicants. These included re-defining the term “structure” specifically in the context of Local Law 2; using the C of O status of existing structures as a determining factor; and leaving the law as it stands.

Mrs. Gebhardt read her own letter to the Board expressing alternatives to the Chair’s 3-point plan.

Mr. Golden recommended that the initiative for parity in the treatment of applicants should include addressing an apparent discrepancy in the VTP Code. Presently, appeals from BAR decisions may be directed to the BZA for relief, but Planning Board pronouncements are barred from such BZA appeal. His suggestion was that no appeals from either Board be heard by the BZA as this is the norm in most municipalities. Any redress sought by an applicant would, he explained, therefore be through the court system rather than via our local BZA.

The Board concluded that more thought and deliberation was needed before a recommendation could be sent to the Trustees.



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