Village Board of Architectural Review Meeting February 5, 2008

The Village Board of Architectural Review met on February 5, 2008 at 7pm.
Member Paola Tocci was absent.

  1. Pompan – Exterior modifications including proposed change to the front door as well as changes to the side and rear of the house.

    After conducting a site visit, the Board expressed some concerns over an arch in the rear façade and the Applicant was asked to remove it and submit amended plans reflecting this change. In addition, the Board is in agreement that French doors will not work as the main entrance for the house. Because the home is an informal carriage house, the Board feels that the front entrance is a prominent focal point and that French doors would be too casual. In addition, they feel a more traditional front door would be more appropriate in keeping with the historic nature of the home. Finally, the addition of a balcony with wrought iron railings in the rear of the house was discussed. The Board had some concerns about the addition of wrought iron as a new element to the house, however the Applicant’s architect was able to convince them that the iron would blend in with the roof of the house much easier than wood.

    The Applicant will rethink the front door and amend their plans to reflect the changes in the rear of the house in time to reappear before the Board on March 4, 2008.

  2. Sammann – Wall & Landscaping

    The Applicant last appeared before the Board on January 15, 2008 and since that time a site visit has been conducted in order to observe the proposed wall, which the Applicant had staked 5 feet set back from the property perimeter. The Board commented that the applicant should consider seeking a variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals so that the wall can be constructed closer to the property perimeter and the street, mainly for aesthetic reasons. The Board assured the Applicant that they would contact the Zoning Board directly in order to have the item placed on the February 28 agenda and would also write a letter expressing their unanimous support for the variance. John Ledwith, Village Building Inspector, informed the Applicant that because the proposed wall is a major change to both the property and the surrounding neighborhood, a building permit will be required. In addition, as it is in a heavily traveled area, Mr. Ledwith expressed his desire to see the construction completed as expeditiously as possible. Finally, the proposed new driveway and bicycle path were discussed. The Board expressed some reservations about the bicycle path as it is not in keeping with the historical nature of the property. They suggested the applicant construct the path from a material that can be removed at a later date, such as gravel. The Board approves of the orientation of the proposed new driveway, however they would like the Applicant to use gravel as opposed to asphalt. Proposed plantings were also discussed and the Applicant was asked to consider plantings that are native to Tuxedo Park.

  3. Seeman – Air Conditioning Enclosure

    The Applicant is seeking a minor modification to previously approved plans to allow for screening around Air Conditioning units. The screening will match the outside of the house. The Board had no issues with the proposed change and granted unanimous approval subject to the Building Inspector’s satisfaction with the structural details.

  4. Granito – Plan Modifications

    As a Modification to previously approved plans, the Applicant would like to remove a side door and two windows to be replaced with a triple frame window and siding that will match the current siding on the house. The Board had no issues with these modifications and approved them unanimously.

  5. El-Reyes – New Construction

    The Applicant is requesting a structural change from steel and plywood framing to a masonry structure. The footprint of the home will not be altered by these changes, which have been approved by both the Village Building Inspector as well as the Village Engineer. In addition, the applicant was seeking material changes, but withdrew these requests when it became evident that they would slow the process of construction down. The Board approved the structural change unanimously.

    Following the Applicant portion of the meeting, the Board discussed two important issues. The first was the professional review of escrow fees. The Building Inspector together with Trustee Darby and Attorney Rick Golden has drafted a resolution ,which outlines a clear policy for handling and collecting these fees. Most importantly, if enacted, the legislation will require applicants to be fully paid up in order to appear on a Board of Architectural Review Agenda. In short, the aim of the proposed legislation is to transfer the administrative fees associated with a project to the applicant and also to create a foolproof accounting system for the fees. The Board is unanimously supportive of this initiative.

    Finally, the proposed Viewshed legislation was discussed. Attorney Rick Golden gave a brief overview of the proposed law for those Board Members who were unable to attend the public meeting on January 29. The Board then held a lengthy discussion, which focused on the restrictive nature of the law. The over all consensus of the Board is that the law is too restrictive and that it should not encompass as many design restrictions as it currently does. Architectural details and design elements should be left to the Board of Architectural Review to work out. Members of the Board fear that restricting new homes in terms of materials and colors is contrary to what good architecture is all about and that it could be a recipe for banality moving forward. The spirit of the Village is architectural diversity and therefore, new houses should not all look the same. In addition the proposed design guidelines were discussed and there was concern among board members that the viewshed legislation would butt up directly against these guidelines. There was also concern regarding the division of the Village into three different classifications of property with three different sets of guidelines. It was pointed out that the language of the law is contrary to the current law with respect to the division of labor between the Board of Architectural Review and the Planning Board and this must be amended. In addition the proposed legislation does not lift the current prohibition from building on a ridgeline, which is confusing and also needs to be amended. A clear definition of “ridgeline” needs to be determined. Because the proposed law is so vast, members of the Board were hesitant to put together a list of comments quickly and it was suggested that they set aside 30 minutes after each meeting in the coming months to break down the law page by page and formulate group suggestions. Following this discussion the Board determined that they need some direction from the Board of Trustees in terms of the process for moving forward with respect to how the BOT would like to receive input and in what time frame they would like comments from the Board of Architectural Review.



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