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Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting January 26, 2017

The Village Board of Zoning Appeals met on Thursday January 26, 2017 at 7:30pm.

A variance was granted to applicants Howard Shore and Elizabeth  Cotnoir for a front yard setback which will allow for the construction of a garage. 

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Agenda for Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting January 26, 2017

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning of Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold a public hearing on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York on the following applications:

1. Application of Howard Shore & Elizabeth Cotnoir, 19 Patterson Brook Road, Tax Map

No. 103-1-50, seeking relief from Section 100-8 (Minimum area and bulk regulations) for a front yard setback of 19'3" and 31 '8" (where 75' is required) over a distance of 77' along the northeast property line in order to construct a garden and vehicle storage building.

The applications and plans are available for review Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Village Hall, Village of Tuxedo Park, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.

All neighbors and/or parties interested will be heard.

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Agenda for Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting November 9, 2016

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning of Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold public hearings on Wednesday, November 9, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York on the following applications:

1. Application of Sherry Bishko, 222 Continental Road, Tax Map No. 107-1-5, seeking relief from Section 100-8 (Minimum area and bulk regulations) for two (2) side yard setbacks and affirmation of the existing non-conforming lot area, road frontage and front yard setback; seeking relief from Section 100-9 (Decks/porches) for a deck that exceeds 25% of the first floor living area; and affirmation of the existing non-conforming lot coverage under Section 100-11 and the driveway width under Section 100-21.

2. Application of Suzanne & Patrick Donaghy, 17 Patterson Brook Road, Tax Map No. 103-1-35.1, seeking relief from Section 100-8 (Minimum area and bulk regulations) for a front yard and a rear yard setback; seeking relief from Section 100-9 (Deck/porches) for a deck that exceeds 25% of the first floor living area; seeking relief from Section 100-18A (Fences) for a fence that exceeds the front, rear and side yard height requirements; and seeking relief from
Section 100-18B (Fences-Driveway sight distance) for sight distance of 174' where 250' is required.

The applications and plans are available for review Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Village Hall, Village of Tuxedo Park, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.

All neighbors and/or parties interested will be heard.

BY ORDER OF THE
BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
Gary Glynn, Chairman

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Village Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting September 29, 2016

The Village Zoning Board of Appeals met on Thursday, September 29 at 7pm.
All members were present. 

The purpose of the meeting was for the BZA to consider the application of Claude and Mary Jo Guinchard, who are seeking the issuance of a special exception use permit authorizing limited residential use of an accessory building as authorized in section 100-6 (B) of the Village Code.

Following brief introductions, Board Chair Gary Glynn gave a brief overview of the application, explaining that the Village Code (section 100-6B) gives the BZA authority to issue special use permits such as the one being applied for.  He then provided some history, relaying that some years back the Guinchards had decided to build a new home on their lot but did not want to demolish the existing one until the new house was ready to live in.   Therefore, they proposed to convert the existing home to a garage, tool shed and children’s playhouse. Approval to build the new home was granted on condition that when the Guinchards moved into it, the former home would no longer be used for residential purposes.  (Garage, tool shed and children’s playhouse are all permitted uses for an accessory building under Village Code.) In order to ensure that there would be no residential use of the former home, the Guinchards entered into a formal written agreement with the Village requiring that all kitchen and dining room appliances, furniture and plumbing be removed from the home.  The Guinchards would now like to resume residential use of the former house and return cooking facilities to it.  The new residential use is proposed to be limited to living quarters for family and invitees of the family in occupancy. 

Section 100-6B authorizes limited residential use of accessory structures that are customary in connection with the single-family home use and are incidental thereto subject to the granting of a permit by the BZA and provided further that such accessory building and its principal building independently both meet all provisions of the laws of the Village and New York State.  The Building Inspector has not identified any noncompliance with either the Village Code or Building Code, nor does the application identify any such non-compliance.  In addition, before issuing a permit for such a use, the ZBA is required to make favorable findings based on five specific criteria:

  1. Property Depreciation – The BZA must make a determination the issuance of the permit will not depreciate the value of the property in the Village.
  2.  A Hazard to General Welfare – The BZA must determine that the issuance of a permit will not create a hazard to health, safety of general welfare.
  3. Neighborhood Detriment – The BZA must determine that issuance of a permit will not be detrimental to the neighborhood or the residents thereof.
  4. Neighborhood Character – The BZA must determine that the issuance of a permit will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood. 
  5. Public Convenience – The BZA must determine that the issuance of a permit will not otherwise be detrimental to public convenience and welfare.

The BZA can also attach conditions to the resolution of special use approval.  One condition that would be required in this case is that applicant would have to obtain the approval of the Village Board to amend the agreement that prohibits residential use of the structure.  The application is also subject to SEQRA and is a type one action.  The BZA is the lead agency.  The E.A.F. has been completed and a draft negative declaration prepared.  Following a brief review of this, the BZA the voted unanimously in favor of awarding the application a Negative Declaration as per SEQRA.

The public hearing was then opened.  Chair Glynn asked the applicant to provide a brief description of what they wanted to do.

Mary Jo Guinchard stated that they were basically just looking to use the building so that it would not deteriorate out.   A building that is not being used with water and heat going through it deteriorates over time.  They would like to use it for family.  They are not planning to make any changes to the property.  The site is what the site is.  The table remains unchanged.  They have no desire to rent it or do anything of that nature.  It would remain one lot.  The BZA had suggested that the Guinchards look into subdividing, but they feel this is a terrible idea.  They do not want to subdivide the property whatsoever.  They wish to see the property remain all intact as one unit. 

Lili Neuhauser asked for a more detailed definition of the term “limited use.”

Board attorney Mike Donnelly responded by reading from The Code “limited residential use for family and invitees of the family in occupancy.”

“Limited to what?” asked Mary Graetzer

“That is what The Code provides,” responded Mr. Donnelly.  “I can not say exactly what it means.”

Mrs. Neuhauser then read aloud a letter written by Susan Goodfellow.  A copy of this letter can be viewed here.

Mary Graetzer expressed some concern that the BZA might be rewriting history as far as the building in question was concerned.  The building was never just a playhouse or a toolshed.  It was part of the Academy of Mount St. Vincent property, known as Harris Cottage, and it was a garage with a cottage on the top. It was bought by the Bell Family after they sold their former residence and they converted it into a residence, which they lived in.  The Bells then sold the property to the Vernons and the Guinchards bought the property from the Vernons years later.  The Vernons had wanted to build on the property but were never granted permission for numerous reasons (one of which was that they were not allowed to have two residences on one property) so they ultimately sold it.  The Guinchards soon began applying for permits to build on the property as well.  They were finally granted approval but it was conditional upon the fact that they could live in Harris Cottage only while the house was being built, but then they had to abandon it and it would no longer be a residence.  This was agreed to.  Now, the Guinchards are back and they want a residency.  There are plenty of other properties in the Village that have garages that could easily be converted into apartments and many residents have applied for these permits and been turned down because the zoning code does not allow for it.  The zoning allows for one home per lot.  Mrs. Graetzer further stated that she felt the Code had been written this way for a reason and she really hoped that the BZA would reject the application.  Breaking the Zoning Code would be opening the door for many other residents to come before them with similar requests and she does not feel that the ZBA “would have a leg to stand on” in turning them down.

Thanking the BZA for allowing the opportunity for the Public to comment on the application, Houston Stebbins urged them to take more time to fully assess the potential adverse impacts of their precedent setting decision before issuing an approval.  Mr. Stebbins remarks can be read here.

Anne Gwathmey commented that having spent 10 years building a garage, she would have loved the opportunity to turn it into an apartment.  She was, however, turned down and was only allowed two garage doors and a faucet for the outside spigot.  She cautioned that the BZA was treading on a fine line with this application and that if they opened it up, they needed to consider what the consequences might be.  She suggested that they consider everything that had been built over the course of the last five years as well and take all of it into consideration.

Charlen Cathcart commented that she had been a resident of the Village for 47 years and had served on the BZA for 20 years, with the last five as Chairman.  She thanked the BZA for all of their efforts, commenting that she understood the amount of work that went into their job.  She went on to urge them not to grant the permit, based on the comments made by both Susan Goodfellow and Houston Stebbins.  She feels that it would be very inappropriate.  She then read aloud from the BZA minutes of July 28, 2016 where Mr. Guinchard stated, “We’ve always meant to come back to the ZBA to do something and now is the time.”  She suggested that if Mr. Guinchard truly meant this, he had not signed the original agreement with the Village in good faith and this must also be considered.  She cautioned the BZA that they should not “open Pandora’s Box to a lot of law suits.”

Board member Maureen Coen asked for some clarification of section 100-6B, specifically as to whether the accessory building in question was existing at the time the was legislation drafted, as the Code allows for accessory structures that were in existence at that time to be lawfully converted with the issuance of a permit.

Mrs. Gwathmey stated that it may have been, but it was not an accessory building at that time, rather it was the main residence. 

Ms. Coen then suggested that the question facing the BZA was therefore an issue of interpretation of the language in the Code.

Manda Sanadaji suggested that the interpretation should be that there was only one house permitted per lot.  The Guinchards signed an agreement with the Village stating that the building would not be used as a residence.  There are a lot of other houses in the Village that are in the same situation and if this application is approved, there will be a lot of other applicants before them requesting the same.

“Are you ready for that?  Go ahead!” she stated.

Reverting back the language in the Village Code Ms. Coen wondered if the original intent behind it was to refer to buildings that were already labeled accessory buildings at the time, or to all buildings at the time and whether or not those buildings are now accessory is irrelevant. 

Board Attorney Mike Donnelly stated that one of the principals of law regarding a zoning chapter is that if language of a zoning chapter is uncertain or ambiguous is to be considered in favor of the rights of the property owner and against the municipality who is ruling.  This will need to be discussed.  The language may be ambiguous.  If the BZA feels that it’s clear that the chapter intended that the structure be both in existence and accessory on the date it was adopted then they would be empowered to deny the permit.  If they felt that the only requirement was that the building be in existence at the time, they were free to grant the permit.  If it is impossible for them to construe, they will have to do so in favor of the landowner. 

Sue Heywood wondered whether the intention was for the building to become a full-time residence for a family member of the Guinchards or if it would just have occasional use.  Does the usage of it affect the law?

Claude Guinchard responded that it would only have occasional use. 

Mrs. Guinchard added that sewage and irrigation was already there and that there would be no change in this regard.  There will be no additional vehicles. 

Mrs. Gwathmey then wanted to know, if the Guinchards were to sell the property, whether this approval would travel with the deed.

The answer was yes.  The applicant has also agreed to no subdivision or rental and these could be conditions of the resolution.

Mr. Stebbins commented that he did not understand how in 2006 the Board of Trustees had been implicitly addressing the very same questions that the BZA was currently addressing, only from a different prospective.  The whole agreement that was then drafted was focused singularly on avoiding having two residential buildings on one property.  It is clear that the Board was concerned about this.  Mr. Stebbins finds this incongruous and he thinks there are “much larger issues running around here.”  There is a contract that says one thing and a Code that provides for another outcome. In his view, all of this needs to be thought through and integrated so that a fair result can be achieved. 

Ms. Coen responded that the BZA had no right to rescind the contract and that the Guinchards would still need to obtain approval from the Trustees before they would be permitted to move forward.

Mr. Guinchard stated that what they were doing was very straightforward.  They believe that under the law they can do certain things, and they are simply asking if they can do them.  They initially went to the Trustees but were told that it would need to be addressed by the BZA.  They are being ultra transparent and just trying to figure out what their rights are and what they can do.

Mrs. Sanandaji suggested that the Guinchards should wait until Mrs. Guinchard’s term as Mayor was up before they went before the Trustees for approval.
Mrs. Guinchard stated that she would recuse herself from the decision making process.

Mr. Donnelly commented that the Mayor did not lose her right as a citizen of the Village to apply for permits.  She cannot, however, vote.

Board member Jon Whitney commented that when the Guinchards had built their home, they had come before the BZA for a variance related to Ridgeline and Precipice laws.  He noted that if there had been two residences on the property at that time, this would have been a problem.  In fact, the only reason it was not a problem was because the Guinchards agreed to make the other building an accessory building. 

Mrs. Heywood then wondered what would happen if the Trustees were undecided and the vote was split 2 to 2.

Mr. Donnelly replied that in that case, the contract would stand.

Mr. Stebbins inquired as to how the BZA intended to weigh the potential impact of their decision given the comments they had heard from the public that evening, particularly as they pertain to other similar situations throughout the Village.  Again, he cautioned them not to rush and to take their time reaching a decision.

Mr. Donnelly pointed out that it is the law in New York State that if a legislative body puts uses in the code (either permitted uses or special permit uses) that constitutes a determination by the legislative body that those uses are appropriate and consistent with the character of the neighborhood in the locations where they have been assigned.  It is not for a Planning Board or a Zoning Board to second-guess that.  There is a real issue here.  Everyone appears to be surprised that the Village Code allows secondary residential structures in any accessory structure on any lot in the Village as long as it existed at the time The Code was enacted.  There is an issue that if there are many accessory structures these special permits might be granted with a great degree of frequency and maybe the Village does not want that.  If the Village does not want this on a prospective basis, they should discuss it at the Trustee level and consider revising the Code.  Currently however, it is permitted provided the BZA makes a favorable determination based on the five factors listed earlier by Chairman Glynn. 

Board member Jake Lindsay commented that it had always been his understanding that the intent of that was an accessory structure that existed that somebody resided in at the time that the code was rewritten.  There are instances where there are residences in accessory structures, but they existed at the time.  There has never been one approved since that time.

Mr. Donnelly suggested that it could be that one of the reasons that the contract was required was to handle this unique situation.  However, if the Board determines that the language of the law refers only to buildings that were identified as accessory structures at the time the law was drafted, then the Guinchards are not entitled to the permit. 

After some further discussion about this, Ms. Coen commented that ultimately it was not a subjective determination as to whether or not they thought it was a good idea, but rather an interpretation of the language of the law. 

The public hearing was then closed.

The Board then reviewed the language of the law, which Mr. Donnelly read aloud to them as follows:

“The accessory use is permitted provided that an accessory building was existing as of the effective date of the Chapter.”

Mr. Whitney stated that it was his view that it does not.  It was not an accessory building.  There was only one building on the lot.  He believes it would have had to have been an accessory building on that date.

Ms. Coen responded that she did not interpret it this way.  She feels there is ambiguity.  She thinks that the Trustees who initiated the original contract were aware of this ambiguity and that this was why they issued the contract.

Mr. Whitney responded that they would not have been able to get a BZA permit without it.

Ms. Coen further commented that as per ZBA attorney Donnelly, when there was ambiguity they needed to construe the language in favor of the applicant.  She feels that the Guinchards are entitled to the permit.  Regardless of whether people feel it is a good idea or not, this is how she interprets the law.  

Mt. Whitney responded that he felt that words were not usually put into a statute unless they had meaning and that he did not think they would have included the word “accessory “ if they did not mean it.  He does not feel there is any ambiguity.  It clearly states that the building had to be an accessory building at the time, and it was not. 

This was discussed for several minutes.

Mr. Lindsay pointed out that he and Mr. Whitney had been around when the code was being rewritten and the intent was not to allow secondary residences in accessory buildings unless they existed before the code changes.  It may be written sloppily, but this was the intent. 

Mr. Donnelly stated that if it was their determination that it had to be an accessory building at the time the law was enacted, the Guinchards would not be eligible for the permit.  This is the threshold issue. 

Following some further discussion the Board voted 3 to 1 to deny the special use permit on the grounds that the property fails to satisfy the eligibility definition of an accessory building in existence as an accessory building on the day of enactment of the Code.

Mr. Guinchard commented that the reason they had come before the Board was specifically to find out what they could do.  They have done everything transparently.  They worked with the Board of Trustees when they had two buildings and they made sure that they met the Code at the time.   They came and asked again transparently and they now ask the Village government to ensure that when there is somebody who has another building on their property that was not a residence, if they “just go ahead and do it anyway because they feel like it,” the Village acts accordingly.

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Village Board of Zoning Appeals Notice for September 29

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning of Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold a public hearing on Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York on the following:

1. Application of Claude & Mary Jo Guinchard, 194 East Lake Road, Tax Map No. 105-1-49, seeking issuance of a special exception use permit authorizing limited residential use of an accessory building as authorized in Section 100-6 (B) of the Code of the Village of Tuxedo Park.

The application and plans are available for review Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Village Hall, Village of Tuxedo Park, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.

All neighbors and/or parties interested will be heard.

BY ORDER OF THE
BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
Gary Glynn, Chairman

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Village Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting July 28, 2016

Present: Chairman Gary Glynn ,Jake Lindsay, Jonathan Whitney, BZA Attorney , Deb Matthews, John Ledwith, Claude and Mary Jo Guinchard, various residents

The only item on the agenda was consideration of the Guinchard application for a Special Exception Use Permit requesting  to use the garage as a residence for family members or friends.

Chairman Glynn indicated that the ZBA has the authority to consider an application for limited residential use under  Zoning Code sections 100-48c and 1006d …

Chairman Glynn stated that before issuing a permit, Favorable Findings must be found on 5 criteria:

1) There must be no Property depreciation
2) There must be no hazard to health, safety, morals or  general welfare
3) The use will not detrimental to neighborhood or residents
4) The use will not alter essential character of the neighborhood
5) The use will not otherwise be detrimental to public convenience

The Board may also attach Special Conditions. Chairman Glynn foresees that one condition will be that the Village Board formally agrees to amend the contract entered into with the Guinchards that limits use of this structure. This agreement was entered into by the Guinchards as a required condition before approval was granted to build a larger full-time residence on the property.

Mr. Glynn invited the Guinchards to make a presentation re their request. Mr. Guinchard expressed that their prime concern is that lack of use will lead to deterioration of the building. That, he says, is their main issue. He listed a number of full-time and part-time residential uses for the property that are of interest to them. He asserted that there is no environmental impact in making this change. Mr. Guinchard stated: “We’ve always meant to come back to the ZBA to do something, and now’s the time.”

The process requires a SEQRA review. The ZBA established themselves as Lead Agency and set a required a public hearing vote for September 29th.

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Agenda For Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting July 28, 2016

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning of Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo Park
will hold a meeting on Thursday, July 28, 2016 at 7:00p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road,Tuxedo Park, New York for the purpose of SEQRA review of the Guinchard application.

BY ORDER OF THE
BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
Gary Glynn, Chairman

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Agenda For Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting May 26, 2016

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning of Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold a public hearing on Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York on the following:

1. Application of Claude & Mary Jo Guinchard, 194 East Lake Road, Tax Map No. 105-1-49, seeking relief from the "Development Agreement" between the Village of Tuxedo Park and Claude Guinchard & Mary Jo Guinchard dated August 17, 2006.

2. Application of Laura & John McKenna, 1 Pine Hill Road, Tax Map No. 108-1-6.1, seeking relief from the March 15, 2016 decision of the Board of Architectural Review regarding the neighboring property located at 14 Ridge Road, Tax Map No. 108-1-3.2.

3. Application of Robert Zgonena, 18 & 20 Ridge Road, Tax Map No. 106-1-57.2, has submitted a subdivision application requiring relief from the Village of Tuxedo Park Zoning Code, Chapter 100: for 20 Ridge Road - Lot #1, for lot area, rear yard setback, side yard setback and for 18 Ridge Road - Lot #2, road frontage, front yard setback, side yard setback, and driveway setback as specified in the site plan bulk tables revised date
April 11, 2016.

The application and plans are available for review Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Village Hall, Village of Tuxedo Park, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.
All neighbors and/or parties interested will be heard.

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Agenda For Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting April 28, 2016

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning of Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo Park
will hold a public hearing on Thursday, April28, 2016 at 7:00p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York on the following:

1. Application of Claudia & Carey Turnbull, 105 Clubhouse Road, Tax Map No. 106-1-
19.22, seeking relief from Section 1 00-8 (Minimum area and bulk regulations) for the preexisting non-conforming front yard setback of 51'8" where 75' is required, Section 100-9
(Permitted yard intrusions; decks and terraces) for the pre-existing non-conforming rear
terrace/patio, and Section 100-18 (Fences) for a fence height of 11.5' in the rear yard
where 6' is required.

The application and plans are available for review Monday through Friday from 9:00a.m. to
3:30p.m. at the Village Hall, Village of Tuxedo Park, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.

All neighbors and/or parties interested will be heard.

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Notice of Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting October 22, 2015

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning of Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo Park
will hold public hearings on Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 7:00p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York on the following:

1. A continued public hearing on the application of Tamer El-Rayess, 50 Crows Nest
Road, Tax Map No. 105-1-8, seeking relief from Section 100-18 (Fences) for front yard
fence, piers, gate and stone wall which exceed the front yard height requirement of 4'
and wall closer than 5' to the roadway and rear and side yard fences which exceed the
6' height requirement.

2. Application of Michael J. Bruno, Jr., West Lake Road, Tax Map No. 103-1-27.12,
seeking relief from Section 100-8 (Minimum area and bulk regulations) for front yard,
rear yard and side yard setbacks and distance to lake and from Section 1 00-24.3C
(Non complying buildings) for the renovation and increase in volume of an existing
boathouse.

The applications and plans are available for review Monday through Friday from 9:00a.m. to
3:30p.m. at the Village Hall, Village of Tuxedo Park, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.

All neighbors and/or parties interested will be heard.

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Village Board of Zoning Appeals to Meet March 26

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold a public hearing on Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 7:00p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York on the following:

1. A public hearing on the application of Michael Bruno et all for an appeal of the Board
of Architectural Review's November 4, 2014 Decision on the architectural plan application of CC Road Tuxedo Park LLC (Villa Inna) Project. The property is owned by CC Road Tuxedo Park LLC, Camp Comfort Road, Tax Map No. 101-1-11.1. The appeal is being made in accordance with Section 100-57 ofthe Village Code ofthe Village ofTuxedo Park.

The application is available for review Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Village Hall, Village of Tuxedo Park, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.

All neighbors and/or parties interested will be heard.

BY ORDER OF THE BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
Gary Glynn, Chairman

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Board of Zoning Appeals Notice of Public Hearing September 25

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning of Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold a public hearing on Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 7:00p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York on the following:

1. A continued public hearing on the application of Tamer El-Rayess, 50 Crow's Nest Road, Tax Map No. 105-1-8, seeking relief from Section 100-18 (Fences) for front yard fence, piers, gate and stone wall which exceed the front yard height requirement of 4' and wall closer than 5' to the roadway and rear and side yard fences which exceed the 6' height requirement.

The applications and plans are available for review Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30p.m. at the Village Hall, Village of Tuxedo Park, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.

All neighbors and/or parties interested will be heard.

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Village Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting July 31, 2014

The Village Zoning Board of Appeals met on Thursday, July 31.  All members were present.

A continued public hearing on the application of Tamer El-Rayess, 50 Crow's Nest Road, Tax Map No. 105-1-8, seeking relief from Section 100-18 (Fences) for front yard fence, piers, gate and stone wall which exceed the front yard height requirement of 4’ and wall closer than 5’ to the roadway and rear and side yard fences which exceed the 6’ height requirement:

Chair Gary Glynn opened the discussion by noting that all of the appropriate notifications had been sent and that each of the Board members had visited the site.  Each Board member was then asked to detail the approximate dates of their site visits.

The Applicant, Tamer El-Rayess stated that Village engineers had visited the site to review the measurements and sightlines.  Additionally, the fire department brought a truck to the site in order to ensure that there would be no difficulty in accessing either his home or the surrounding properties in the event of a fire.  The fire department has reported no hindrance with respect to fire access, while Village engineers have reported some obstruction with respect to sightlines.  Noting that obscured site-lines was not uncommon in the Village, he stated that he has a number of suggestions all of which he would be happy to fund if it pleased the Board.

Board member Maureen Coen noted that the Village Engineers have recommended that Mr. El-Rayess remove a portion of the wall in order to prevent a safety issue.  She asked the applicant for his thoughts.

Mr. El-Rayess responded that he would be happy to do so if this is what the Board would prefer, however he requested that they try to keep things as cost effective as possible.  He further commented that rather then tearing down walls in the Village, it might make more sense to put the money towards maintaining other problematic walls and he would be happy to do this if they preferred.

Board member Wayne Lyski commented that he was under the impression that the BAR had required Mr. El-Rayess to construct the wall in the manner that he had.

Building Inspector John Ledwith stated that he did not believe this was the case.  The BAR may have endorsed the project and recommended a variance but the plans for the wall had initiated with Mr. El-Rayess.  When the BAR issued their approval, the proposed wall had a 5-foot setback as required by the Village Code.

Board Member Mary Darby stated that it was her view that the main issue at hand was safety and that whatever solution they decided upon should be one that assures the safety of residents traveling up and down Crow’s Nest road, particularly during the winter months when conditions are worse.

Mr. El-Rayess responded that this was what he wanted also, however he did not believe that it would be necessary to take down the wall in order to achieve that objective.  He went on to say that in his view, the main issue was the curvature of the wall and the sightline.  He pointed out that there are a plethora of other areas in the Village where sightlines are compromised.  He referenced a curvy section of Camp Comfort road where a mirror has been installed to alleviate site issues and suggested that this might be a possible solution.  He further stated that there are a number of roadside walls throughout the Village and that historically they had been constructed this way.  Finally, he pointed out that since the construction of his wall there has been, in his view, no adverse effects and no automobile accidents.  He feels that the safety issue can be addressed with the installation of a sign, which he would be happy to fund.  He noted that when he had initiated the project, it had been necessary for him to create level ground, which he did by hammering down the existing rock.  If he were required to remove the wall, he believes it would necessary to bring back in heavy equipment and hammer again, which could take many months and would certainly be an inconvenience to his neighbors.  He also pointed out that there a water main there, which would need to be shut off.

Wayne Lyski inquired as to the linear footage of the area where the sightline was in question.

The answer was 35 feet.

Maureen Coen inquired about a rock cropping that exists near the area in question and wondered whether this might inhibit the sightline there regardless of the wall.

Mr. El-Rayess responded that he believed it would, although the wall had added roughly a foot.

Ms. Coen stated that the safest thing to do, in her view, would be to remove the wall and hammer the rock, however, this was not the most cost-effective solution.  She noted that the Village Engineers have recommended the installation of a sign and wondered why they had not also recommended a mirror.

Mr. Lyski wondered what kind of precedent was being set here.  If the Board allows the wall to remain as it is, what will they say to the next applicant who wants to construct a non-conforming wall?

Chair Glynn noted that although roadside walls had been constructed throughout the Village historically, that ultimately these walls had proved to be problematic for a number of reasons and that this was one of the major motivations for enacting legislation to prevent them.

Mrs. Darby inquired about the Gwathmey wall, which is also a non-conforming wall and was constructed after the law had been put in place.

Building Inspector John Ledwith explained that the applications were entirely different because the Gwathmey property line is actually in the middle of the roadway.
Board member John Whitney stated that he was also concerned about the precedent and that he believed, as Mrs. Darby had stated earlier, that safety was the main concern.  He further stated that he didn’t believe that looking back in time, he couldn’t believe that the Village would have approved roadside walls if they had understood beforehand the issues that they would cause.

There followed a discussion as to which portion of the wall posed the most danger and it was determined that it was the north end and that the visibility was most compromised when traveling down the hill.

Ms. Coen pointed out that the engineers had noted that it was very difficult to determine what the pre-wall conditions had been and therefore it was equally difficult to determine how much worse the wall had made the situation.  She suggested that a sign, as recommended by the engineers, would be a good solution and noted that the area was not heavily populated.

It was suggested that if Mr. El-Rayess were to remove a portion of the wall in the area in question and push back a large boulder, the situation might be greatly alleviated.
Mr. El-Rayess commented that he would be willing to do this.

Representing both Ant Hill Partners LLC and WJB Villa Corp, attorney Brian Nugent of Frederick Lynch MacCartney commented that his clients are opposed to the proposed variance as it relates to the roadside wall.  He noted that both clients have lived in the area for years and were not opposed to the construction of the home.  He then pointed out a falsity within the variance, noting that the proposed wall and fence would constitute a 100 and 150% increase as opposed to a 50 and 100% increase as noted therein.  

This was discussed.

Mr. Nugent further noted that the BAR had approved a wall with a 5-foot setback but Mr. El-Rayess had constructed his wall the way he did, 1 foot from the road, citing field conditions that prevented him from completing the work as approved.  When encountering these field conditions, Mr. El-Rayess could have, and should have, come back to the BAR, explained the situation and worked towards a complaint solution, however he did not do this.  Rather, Mr. El-Rayess took the law into his own hands, constructing the wall as he saw fit, and therefore the issue at hand is very much so a self-created problem.  Mr. Nugent feels that the BZA should be reviewing the appeal as a new application and that it should be subject to the five factors by which they judge all appeals:

1.Whether an undesirable change will be produced in the character of the neighborhood or a detriment to nearby properties will be created by the granting of the area variance:

Mr. Nugent feels this factor weighs against the applicant as the allowance and expansion of a non-complying roadside wall that is 1 foot from the roadway is inconsistent with the character of the neighborhood and a detriment to the neighboring properties.

2.Whether the benefit sought by the applicant can be achieved by some method, feasible for the applicant to pursue, other than the area variance:

This one also weighs against the applicant according to Mr. Nugent.  The applicant could have constructed the wall more than 5 feet from the roadway if existing conditions did not allow him to abide by the exact specification.

3. Whether the requested area variance is substantial:

With respect to the roadside wall as constructed, the requested variances are undoubtedly substantial.  The variance sought with respect to the insufficient distance between the roadside wall and a public roadway is 80%.  Mr. El-Rayess then seeks to increase the height of that non-complying wall from 4ft and 6 feet respectively constituting a 100% and 150% deviation from the Village Code.

4. Whether the proposed variance will have an adverse effect or impact on the physical or environmental conditions in the neighborhood or district:

Again, Mr. Nugent feels that this factor weighs against the applicant.  The wall as currently installed adversely impacts and affects the physical conditions of the neighborhood.  The Village engineer has confirmed that the required sight distances are reduced significantly.

5. Whether the alleged difficulty was self-created; which consideration shall be relevant to the decision of the board of appeals, but shall not necessarily preclude the granting of the area variance:

Mr. Nugent alleged that this factor clearly weighs against the applicant as he modified his approved plans in contrast to the Village Code and then proceeded with the construction without the feedback or consent of any of the Village Boards.

Finally, Mr. Nugent noted that for reasons unexplained, Mr. El-Rayess’s original application never indicated what the existing conditions on the site had been with respect to driveway sight distance on the zoning.  While the applicant indicates the minimum code requirement of 250 feet of driveway sight distance, he indicates that the existing conditions and proposed conditions are N/A (not applicable).  Mr. Nugent believes that had the applicant properly included the required information the need for the variance would have been evident.  Based on the engineers June 17 report, the applicant currently requires driveway sight distance variances.  In order for the BZA to properly consider the cumulative effect of all variances on the property, Mr. El-Rayess should be required to properly identify the need for all variances and request them from the BZA.  Therefore, the current request for variances should be denied or adjourned until all such requests have been made.

As there were no more comments from the public, the hearing was then closed.
Board Attorney Mike Donnelly advised the Board that it was not in their purview to either punish the applicant for having completed work that was not permitted or to judge him for “jumping the gun.”  He further advised them that it would be necessary for the Building Inspector to determine whether or not the sight distance variance was required.
Chair Glynn noted that this was an unusual situation in that it was the first time the Board had been asked to grant a variance for something that had already been constructed.
Mr. Donnelly recommended that the Board adjourn the hearing until they could determine whether or not the sight distance variance was required.
Following some further discussion, the hearing was adjourned. 

A public hearing on the application of Peter Regna for an interpretation of whether Section 100-13 of the Village off Tuxedo Park Code permits home construction whereby all, or part, of the house structure is “cantilevered” or “suspended over” the edge of a cliff or precipice. The application is made in regard to property owned by CC Road Tuxedo Park, LLC, Camp Comfort Road, Tax Map No. 101-1-11.1:

Peter Regna addressed the Board with regard to what he feels is a very important issue facing the community with regard to the Ridgeline and Precipice Law, which was passed in 2009.  He explained that prior to 2009, building on a ridgeline or precipice in the Village had been prohibited, however the 2009 law rescinded this prohibition and provided for such building, either on a ridgeline or up to the edge of a precipice, provided the proposed projects adhered to a list of detailed conditions.  The law clearly indicates a mapped area within which these restrictions/conditions apply.  He further explained that he had specific concerns with regard to a proposed home on Camp Comfort Road, which proposes a cantilevered design whereby roughly 1/3 of the house will be cantilevered over the edge of a precipice.  Commenting that he didn’t feel cantilevering was a design practice that suited the Village or should be allowed here, he commented that he believed the Code was very clear in stating that construction was allowed up to the edge of the precipice, but not over, however there were others who did not interpret the law in this way.  He asked the Board for their interpretation of the law, stating that he believes the proposed home on Camp Comfort should be constructed to conformance with the ordinance and that allowing anything to the contrary will set a dangerous precedent.  He circulated photos depicting other cantilevered homes and commented that should the Village permit one such homes, others such as the ones depicted could, and his view would, surely pop up all around the Village lakes.  He then read allowed the purpose section of Local Law #7 of 2009 (Ridgeline and Precipice law) suggesting that the original intent would not allow for what is being proposed.

Building Inspector John Ledwith has issued a letter in which he states that the application and design are in compliance.  Mr. Regna disagrees and would like to see that letter overturned.
Board Attorney Mike Donnelly pointed out that there was no specific language in the law prohibiting building over the edge of a precipice.  He further commented that although ridgelines and precipices had been used for mapping purposes when creating the restricted area, they were not specifically mentioned in the law and that really, it focused more on the specific building restrictions within that mapped out area.

Mr. Regna countered that the law did utilize specific language in that it clearly stated that building was allowed up to “the edge” of a precipice and that his interpretation of that was that building was prohibited past that point.

From the audience, Michael Bruno agreed, commenting that the word edge had been carefully chosen by the authors of the legislation and should be respected.  Mr. Bruno’s property lies directly beneath the proposed home.  He further stated that if the project were allowed to proceed as proposed, he would probably hire a lawyer and investigate the possibility of suing the Village.

There followed a lengthy debate over the interpretation of section 100-13 of the Village Code, with most BZA members asserting that, regardless of what the original purpose behind the law may have been, they did not see any prohibition of building over the edge of a precipice there within.  It was agreed that the law, as written is ambiguous.

A letter from former BAR Chair Chui Yin Hempel was read into the record.  Mrs. Hempel had an active role in legislating the law in question.  In her view, the issue at hand is one that falls within the purview of the BAR and not the Planning Board or the BZA.

Planning Board Chair JoAnn Hansen spoke and informed that Board that although she was sympathetic to Peter’s fear of excessive cantilevering in the Village, the issue at hand is whether or not the applicant has complied with the law.  It is the Building Inspector’s view that they have and she agrees with this assessment, as do all the other members of the Planning Board except for Mr. Regna.  They are comfortable with the location of the proposed home.  The important issue for them is the stepping down of the terrain and she feels that this home does it very well.  She further suggested that the proper method of addressing Mr. Regna’s concerns would be either to update/change the BAR guidelines or to redraft the zoning code itself.  She reiterated that the plans for the proposed home depict both a sensitive and compliant stepping down of the hillside and that it will fit with the existing terrain.

Representing the property owner, Attorney Brian Nugent commented that he believed both Mr. Donnelly and Ms. Hansen were correct in their interpretation of the law.  He pointed out that the applicant has agreeably altered their plans several times in order to comply with the code.  He further alleged that as a member of the Planning Board, Mr. Regna did not have any legal standing for his appeal. 

Mr. Regna responded that he had paid a $1600 fee in order to make his appeal and have his voice heard and he did not understand why Mr. Nugent was allowed to express his views without paying a similar fee.

Attorney Donnelly replied that the appeal has a direct effect on the property owner and as such, they have a right to be present and express their views.

There followed another lengthy discussion with regard to interpretation of the code after which the hearing was closed.

Mike Donnelly advised the Board that in cases where the law was ambiguous such as this, the Board was required to side with the property owner.

The BZA then discussed the matter at hand.
Maureen Coen stated that although they may not like it, the law was written the way that it was and there was nothing there that specifically prohibited building over the edge of a precipice.

Chair Glynn then asked the Board to consider three things.  The first of these was whether or not Mr. Regna had legal standing to make his appeal. 

The Board was in unanimous agreement that he did.

The second was whether or not there was actually a controversy before them.

Chair Glynn commented that cantilevering is a complex issue.  No matter how many times he rereads the law, he is not reading it the same was as Mr. Regna, however he recognizes that it can be interpreted differently and therefore there is ambiguity.

Ms. Coen agreed, commenting that it had been drafted poorly.

Mr. Donnelly counseled the Board that they should not look at the purpose section of the law as presented by Mr. Regna earlier, but rather only at the law itself.

Based on this, and based on the clear presence of ambiguity, the Board was in agreement that they must side with the homeowner and therefore voted unanimously in favor of upholding the Building Inspector’s letter.

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Village Board of Zoning Appeals To Hold Two Public Hearings July 31, 2014

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning of Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold public hearings on Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York on the following:

  1. A continued public hearing on the application of Tamer El-Rayess, 50 Crow's Nest Road, Tax Map No. 105-1-8, seeking relief from Section 100-18 (Fences) for front yard fence, piers, gate and stone wall which exceed the front yard height requirement of 4’ and wall closer than 5’ to the roadway and rear and side yard fences which exceed the 6’ height requirement.
  2. A public hearing on the application of Peter Regna for an interpretation of whether Section 100-13 of the Village off Tuxedo Park Code permits home construction whereby all, or part, of the house structure is “cantilevered” or “suspended over” the edge of a cliff or precipice. The application is made in regard to property owned by CC Road Tuxedo Park, LLC, Camp Comfort Road, Tax Map No. 101-1-11.1

The applications and plans are available for review Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Village Hall, Village of Tuxedo Park, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.
All neighbors and/or parties interested will be heard.

BY ORDER OF THE
BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
Gary Glynn, Chairman

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Notice for Zoning Board of Appeals October 24, 2013

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold a public hearing on Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York, on the following:

  1. 1. Application of Tamer El-Rayess, 50 Crows Nest Road, Tax Map No. 105-1-8, seeking relief from Section 100-18 (Fences) for front yard fence, piers, gate and stone wall which exceed the front yard height requirement of 4' and wall closer than 5’ to the roadway and rear and side yard fences which exceed the 6' height requirement.

The application and plans are available for review Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Village Hall, Village of Tuxedo Park, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.

All neighbors and/or parties interested will be heard.

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Village Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting July 25, 2013

The Village Zoning Board of Appeals met on Thursday, July 25 2013 at 8:30pm.  Board members Mary Darby and Wayne Lyski were absent.

Robert Zgonena – Appeal of April 16, 2013 Board of Architectural Review Decision:
Board Chair Gary Glynn opened the hearing by explaining that Mr. Zgonena’s appeal to a denial from the Board of Architectural Review was different from the customary variance appeals that the BZA is used to.   In this particular case, the BZA was not being called upon to decide whether or not Mr. Zgonena was entitled to a permit, but rather whether or not the BAR’S denial of a permit was arbitrary and capricious. They would review the action of the BAR based upon what had been presented to it and there would be no public hearing at this meeting. 

Mr. Zgonena has provided the BZA with an application packet and likewise, the BAR has submitted a packet constituting the record before them, including recordings of all the associated meetings. Beyond this, new evidence cannot be submitted.

Mr. Zgonena was invited to articulate his position and summarize his arguments, as was the BAR.  After hearing both, Chair Glynn stated that the BZA would deliberate and make a decision.

On behalf of Mr. Zgonena, attorney Michael Sussman outlined the history of the application process from Mr. Zgonena’s position, suggesting that the BAR had been capricious in it’s decision because they should have been focused on “externalities,” (potential adverse effects to the surrounding properties and community at large) from the project but their decision does not reflect this. In fact, he argued, in their decision, the BAR did not find that Mr. Zgonena’s project as proposed created any externality for anyone.  Rather, the finding was made that they based their decision on the principal that one should not disturb the natural contours of land, which is not a principal that is universally adopted within the community.  Mr. Sussman does not believe that it is rational for the BAR to deny Mr. Zgonena based upon his alteration of the landscape and he suggested that basing their decision upon this principal was in fact arbitrary,

He pointed out that have been and are currently several other projects in the Village, many of which have been done without approval, which openly alter the landscape. 

Attorney Rick Golden, representing the BAR, was then invited to respond.
Mr. Golden began by stating that he believed the BAR’s position had been clearly put forward in the documentation presented and that in several cases this clearly contradicted Mr. Sussman’s argument. 

He respectively pointed out what he believed to be some flaws in the history of the project as outlined by Mr. Sussman.

In response to Mr. Sussman’s claim that the BAR’s decision had been capricious because it failed to focus on externalities, Mr. Golden pointed out that when making their decision, the BAR had been working with the criteria as set forth in the Village Code, which is what they are required to do.  One of these criteria is that applicants must attempt to maintain the natural terrain.  While it is true that there are other existing projects within the Village that require alteration of the natural terrain, Mr. Golden suggested that these projects come before the BAR and are approved and that as a part of that process, the BAR considers the necessary criteria and attempts to minimize terrain disturbance to the extent necessary.  Often times plans are altered and structures are shifte in order to minimize disturbance and comply with this standard.  In response to Mr. Sussman’s remark about un-permitted projects, Mr. Golden suggested that if this was in fact going on (and he noted that there had been nothing specific cited) it had nothing to do with the BAR what-so-ever..

He argued that the burden that the BAR faced in the end was that after reviewing tons of documentation and constantly attempting to work with Mr. Zgonena as he submitted alternate plans, Mr. Zgonena had decided to remove all of the proposed options save one, which involved largely keeping things as they were and removing a minimal amount of fill….and the BAR could take it or leave it.  He suggested that if the sole purpose of the project (bringing in the fill) was to flatten out an area, this was contrary to the code’s requirements regarding minimizing alteration of the natural terrain.  In fact, it would appear that the main purpose was to alter the terrain.   

There followed a lengthy discussion with regard to interpretation of the code, initiated by Board member Maureen Coen, specifically as it refers to “tailoring projects to the natural terrain” as opposed to “altering” the natural terrain and how this interpretation effects Mr. Zgonena’s project, with both sides rendering their opinion based on application specifics. 

Following this lengthy debate the BZA openly deliborated and determined that despite whatever their personal feelings about the nature of Mr. Zgonena’s project might be, they did not believe that the BAR had acted arbitrarily or capriciously in their decision making process. 

The BZA then voted unanimously in favor of upholding the BAR’s decision as issued on April 16.

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Agenda for Board of Zoning Appeals July 25, 2013

  1. Robert Zgonena - Appeal of April 16, 2013 Board of Architectural Review Decision
  2. Approve Minutes

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Village Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting August 23, 2012

The Village Board of Zoning Appeals met on Thursday, August 23 at 7pm for the purpose of conducting a Public Hearing on the Application of Peter Regna for his home located on Mountain Farm Road.  All members were present.

Mr. Regna is seeking relief from section 100-8 (minimum area and bulk regulations) for front, side and yard setbacks as well as sections 100-11 (percentage lot coverage) 100-18 (Fences) and 100-21 (Driveays). 

Once the hearing had been opened, Mr. Regna, with the help of his engineer and architect gave a brief overview of the project in its entirety.  The home, located at 15 Mountain Farm Road was originally constructed to be the carriage house for Mr. Regna’s West Lake Road residence and he is hoping to restore it.  There are several preexisting non-conforming conditions on the property. 

The restoration will include driveway and garage renovations as well as the installation of a somewhat complex drainage system to help alleviate drainage issues that are preexisting on the property. 

The overall footprint of the home will not be altered. 

The garage renovations entail the installation of a new roof, the overhang of which will extend further that what is currently there, necessitating a variance. Aside from the slight increase in roof size, the footprint of the garage will not be altered.

Driveway renovations include both raising and reshaping the current driveway as well as the addition of a new driveway in the rear.  All of the driveways will be surfaced with stones, a sample of which was presented. 

Mr. Regna would also like to remove an old chain link fence at the rear of the property and replace it with a wrought iron one. 

The Board reviewed the variances one at a time.

Board Chair Gary Glynn asked for a more detailed explanation of the drainage system, noting that while this had no direct bearing on the variances at hand, a better understanding of it would help the Board to get a clearer overall picture of the project.

There followed a somewhat lengthy review of the system, which entails the installation of drywells as well as burying an old swimming pool   Basically, the wells will drain into the pool, which will serve as a percolation tank, allowing the water to flow back into the ground underneath the surface.

A letter from neighbor Jim Jospe was read into the record.  Mr. Jospe supports the project as a whole but expressed some concerns with regard to both drainage and noise.  He noted that he has spent a considerable amount of time and money in mitigating run-off issues and does not want to see any of that work undermined.  He asked the Board to please take this into consideration when reviewing the application.  Also, because Mr. Regna intends to store several cars on the property, Mr. Jospe is worried that there might be a negative impact in terms of noise level. 

The Board briefly discussed each of these issues.

As there were no further comments from the public, the hearing was then closed.

The Board then conducted a brief review of the project using their 5-point system.

Chair Gary Glynn commented that in his view the amount of time and effort Mr. Regna had put into the drainage issue was remarkable and that he felt it could and should set a precedent for other projects in the Park. 

Following a brief discussion, the Board voted unanimously in support of granting all variances as requested conditional upon the Village Engineers review of the plan (which is part of the Building Permit process)

The Board will now draft and submit  formal letter in support of the project.

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Village Zoning Board of Appeals Notice of Public Hearing August 23, 2012

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning Appeals ofthe Village ofTuxedo Park
will hold a public hearing on Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 7:00p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York, on the following:

  1. Application of Peter Regna, 15 Mountain Farm Road, Tax Map No. 103-1-39,
    seeking relief from Section 1 00-8 (Minimum area and bulk regulations) for front,
    side, and yard setbacks, Section 100-11 (Percentage of lot coverage), Section 1 00-18 (Fences), and Section 100-21(Driveways) in order to renovate existing structures.

The application and plans are available for review Monday through Friday from 9:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. at the Village Hall, Village of Tuxedo Park, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.

All neighbors and/or parties interested will be heard.

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Village Board of Zoning Appeals To Meet May 24 2012

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold a public hearing on Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York, on the following:

1. Application of Joseph Capella, 39 Laurel Road, Tax Map No. 107-1-78.1, seeking relief from Section 100-18 (Fences) in order to construct front yard driveway entry gates that exceed the 4’ front yard fence height requirement.

2. Application of Greg & Laurie Beard, 214 East Lake Road, Tax Map No. 105-1-20.21 & 105-1-48, seeking relief from Section 100-18 (Fences) in order to construct gates and fences that exceed the 4’ front yard and 6’ side/rear yard fence height requirement and Section 100-8 (Minimum area & bulk regulations) for side yard setback and Section 100-9 (Permitted yard intrusions; decks & terraces) for patio area coverage in order to construct a swimming pool, tennis court, patios and terraces

The application and plans are available for review Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Village Hall, Village of Tuxedo Park, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.
All neighbors and/or parties interested will be heard.

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Zoning Board of Appeals Public Hearing November 3, 2011

The Village Zoning Boards of Appeals met on Thursday, November 3 at 7pm at the Tuxedo Park School. Board members Mary Darby and Wayne Lyski were absent.

PARR – 174 East Lake Road – 105-1-20.1 – Fence Height Variance

Gary Parr was seeking a variance in order to construct front yard driveway entry gates of 6’ 6” feet where only a 4’ front yard fence height is allowed under the code.

Board member Jonathan Whitney read the notice of public hearing into the record. Chairman Glyn confirmed that no conflict of interest forms had been filed by any BZA Member and that each Member had made a site visit. In addition neighbors had been appropriately noticed and no letters or comments had been received.

Mr. Parr explained his desire to install a 6’ 6” driveway entry gate at his home combined with temporary deer fencing in order to help keep deer off his property. In addition to attempting to reduce the risk of Lyme disease caused by the deer ticks, he wishes to restore the historic gardens that were once part of his property and that have been destroyed over the years by the deer. Mr. Parr described the proposed location of the gate and presented the design to the Board. He explained that the height was proposed to be higher than the allowable 4 feet front fence height in order to prevent deer from jumping over.

Board Members then asked some brief questions. Building Inspector John Ledwith had no comments. The public hearing was closed.

The Board members then discussed the five factors that are considered with regard to granting a variance. A motion was made to approve Mr. Parr’s variance for a fence height of 6’ 6” and the Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

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Board of Zoning Appeals To hold Public Hearing on November 3

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold a public hearing on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York, on the following:

1. Application of Gary Parr, 174 East Lake Road, Tax Map No. 105-1-20.1, seeking relief from Section 100-18 (Fences) in order to construct front yard driveway entry gates that exceed the 4’ front yard fence height requirement.

The application and plans are available for review Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Village Hall, Village of Tuxedo Park, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.

All neighbors and/or parties interested will be heard.

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Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting March 9, 2011

The Village Zoning Board of Appeals met on March 9, 2011 at 7:00pm to consider the

Donald Hanson application Board member Wayne Lyski was absent.

The meeting began with Board member John Whitney readying aloud the Notice Of Public Hearing, following which the hearing was officially opened by Board Chairman Gary Glenn.

Mr. Hanson briefly reviewed the revised plans for the project. He is requesting permission to increase the number of terraces on the rear of the home, which will require a variance. Additionally, Mr. Hanson is seeking a variance from setback restrictions, which will allow him to construct dry-stacked stonewalls along the perimeter of his property where it borders Tower Hill and Continental Roads.

Mr. Hanson pointed out the new terraces as well as the location of the proposed walls. Having conducted a site visit the previous weekend, the Board was familiar with the plan. It was agreed that the additional terraces could not be viewed from the roadway or the surrounding propertied and thus would have a minimal visual impact. Drainage and potential run-off issues were discussed at length. Mr. Hanson informed the Board that both the Building Inspector and the Village Engineer had reviewed the plans prior to the meeting. He briefly outlined the extensive drainage plan that has been put in place and explained that the main purpose of the proposed walls is to help alleviate existing runoff issues.

As there were no questions or comments from the public, the Public Hearing was then closed.

Following some further discussion, during which each of the Board members was given a chance to express their view based on the following criteria:

  1. Would the Variances as requested produce an undesirable change to the project and would it be a detriment to the nearby properties? Would the project be consistent with the character of the neighborhood?

  2. Is there a need for the Variance?

  3. Would the variance create an adverse physical or environmental effect?

  4. Were the issues that the variances seek to eliminate self-created?

the Board voted unanimously in favor of granting the variances subject to the review and concurrence of the Village Engineer as well as the following standard conditions:

  1. The variances were granted only for what was shown on the project plans and nothing else.

  2. The variances are subject to the Board of Architectural Review’s approval of the project.

  3. The Variances are good for two years. If B.A.R. approval is not given during that time, they must be renewed.

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Village Board of Zoning Appeals Public Hearing December 13, 2010

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo
Park will hold a public hearing on Monday, December 13,2010 at 7:00 p.m. in the Village

Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York, on the following matter:

1. Application of Pamela Cromey, 48 Clubhouse Road, Tax Map No.1 07-1-26,
seeking relief from Section 100-6 (Permitted Uses) of the Zoning Code in order to
obtain a Special Use Permit (Home Occupation Permit) to conduct a business
from her home.

All parties interested will be heard at said time and place.

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Agenda for March 25 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting

  1. Gerald Howard & Susanne Williams – 105-1-25 – Patio/Fence/Walls (12 Acoma Road)
  2. Andy Siegel – Request for Variance Extensions – 107-1-105.1
  3. Approve Minutes and Decisions

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Agenda for Village Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting April 23, 2009

1. Farhadian – Remove skylights add patio area

2. Education Session for BZA Members

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Village Board of Zoning Appeals to hold Public Hearing April 1, 2009

NOTICE is hearby given that the Board of Zoning Appelas of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, April 1, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. in the Village Hall, Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York on the following:

  1. Application of David Dangoor, Tax Map No. 107-1-96, located at 29 Serpentine Road, seeking relief from Section 100-8 (Miniumum area and bulk regulations) in order to construct a pergola that encroaches on the rear year setback.

All parties interested will be heard at said time and place. Plans are available for review at the Village Office Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

BY ORDER OF THE
BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
Gary Glynn, Chairman

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Village Board of Zoning Appeals February 26, 2009

The Village Board of Zoning Appeals met on Thursday, February 26 at 7:30pm.
Board member Wayne Lyski was absent.

McQuilkin – Front Yard Fence Height

Architect Dan Stoica represented the Applicant. Also present was neighbor, Maureen Love.
Chairman Glynn opened the meeting by stating that no Conflict of Interest forms had been submitted. He reminded the Board that the BAR had previously approved the parking area. Mr. Stoica proposed a simple wrought iron arch at the entrance to the parking area. The proposed height of 9’6” requires a variance. Board member Jon Whitney inquired of BZA Attorney Mike Donnelly if the proposed structure is considered a gate or a fence. Mr. Donnelly responded that the Village zoning code treats both structures with the same restrictions.
Chairman Glynn reviewed with the Board each of the five factors they must weigh when granting a variance. After some positive discussion regarding the impact to the neighborhood the Board voted unanimously in favor of granting the variance.
Chairman Glynn noted that the following standard conditions aply:

  • The BAR must give their approval
  • The variance is only for the specific structure proposed by the artchitect
  • The variance will be granted for a 2-year period

BZA attorney Mike Donnelly then gave the Board an educational session.

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Agenda for Village Board of Zoning Appeals February 26, 2009

  1. McQuilkin - Front Yark Fence Height
  2. Education Session for BZA
  3. Approval of MInutes

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Village Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting January 22, 2009

The Village Board of Zoning Appeals met on Thursday, January 22 at 7pm.
Board members Mary Darby and Wayne Lisky were absent.

Meeting minutes were reviewed.

Simet Application - five variances including, lot area, driveway width and deck size as well as rear and side yard setbacks.

Based on their receipt of written approval from the BAR as requested, the Board issued their final approval of the Simet application.

Silvay Appeal r/e Gwathmey Garage:
Mr. Silvay has filed an appeal to the BAR’s August 5 decision approving plans for the construction of a garage by his neighbors, the Gwathmeys. The grounds for this appeal are as follows:
1. The BAR did not receive a letter submitted by Mr. Silvay on August 4 until after
their August 5, 2008 decision.

2. The BAR did not consider or address the concerns in his August 4 letter or any
of the other correspondence he had sent them on the matter.

In addition, Mr. Silvay claims that he has attended a BAR meeting when the Gwathmey application was being discussed for the purpose of voicing his concerns, but was told by the BAR that he could not speak publicly at the meeting and should put his concerns in writing.

After some discussion, during which Mr. Silvay and the Gwathmeys were permitted to speak, the Board adjourned briefly for an attorney/client session before returning to make their decision.
The BZA described and discussed the documentation they had reviewed since the initial hearing date. They allowed comments from Mr. Silvay and the Gwathmeys and their representatives. After some further discussion, the Board adjourned briefly for an attorney client session and returned to make their decision.
The consensus of all the Board was that even though the BAR may not have received the August 4 letter submitted by Mr. Silvay, it was clear from reviewing the evidence, that each of the concerns expressed by Mr. Silvay in his letters to the BAR during the review and approval process of the application had been properly addressed by the BAR. Therefore there was nothing illegal or arbitrary and capricious about the BAR's August 5 decision.
In addition, they commented that even though it is not illegal under Village Code or State law, it is very unfortunate that the BAR did not allow Mr. Silvay to speak at the public meetings as allowing the public to have a say in the approval process is an important part of that process.

The Board voted unanimously in favor of denying Mr. Silvay’s appeal.

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Village Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting October 23, 2008

The Village Board of Zoning Appeals met on Thursday, October 23, 2008 at 7pm.
Board members John Whitney and Mary Darby were absent.
The meeting commenced with the Simet application for five variances including, lot area, driveway width and deck size as well as rear and side yard setbacks. An architect for the applicant presented and reviewed plans with the Board. After some discussion, the Board approved all variances conditional upon the Board of Architectural Review’s approval.

The public hearing for the Heibel Application was continued.
The Board discussed a letter written by the Heibel’s Attorney to the Village in which he suggests that the proposed Moratorium on ridgeline building would be fundamentally unfair to his client. As the Board Trustees approved the moratorium on October 15, the letter was outdated and there was discussion amongst the Board as to the intent of the Applicant moving forward.
John Boyle expressed his concern with regard to the clear-cutting of trees, stating that even if the Heibels were granted their variance to build, they would still need to clear-cut close to 100 trees in order to obtain a lake view and Village law prohibits this type of clear-cutting.
Board member Wayne Lyski commented that the timing of the moratorium seems to coincide directly with the Heibel application.
Board Chair Gary Glynn responded that while the timing may be coincidental, the purpose of the moratorium is to allow the Viewshed Committee time to continue their work in an unencumbered fashion.
Following a brief discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of keeping the public hearing open.

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Agenda for Village Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting October 23, 2008

  1. Simet - 106-1-34 - Addition and renovations
  2. Heibel (continuation from 2/28/08) 101-1-11.1 - New Construction

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Village Board of Zoning Appeals Public Hearing October 23, 2008

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold a public hearing on Thursday, October 23 2008 at 7:00 p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York, on the following:

  1. Application of Jeff & Julia Simet, 40 East Lake Stable Road, Tax Map No. 106-1-34, seeking relief from SEction 100-8 (Minimum area and bulk regulations ) of the Village Code for lot area, rear year setback, and side yard setback, Section 100-9 (Permitted yard intrusions; decks and terraces), and SEction 100-21 (Driveways) for driveway setback in order to construct a two story addition, open and covered porches, and new driveway location.
  2. Continuation of February 28, 2008 hearing for the application of Richard Heibel, Camp Comfort Road, Tax Map No. 101-1-11.1, seeking relief from Section 100-13A (Ridge lines and elevations) from the Village Code in order to construct a new single family dwelling on a ridgeline.

The application and plans are available for review Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Village Hall, Village of Tuxedo Park, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.

All neighbors and/or parties interested will be heard.

By order of the Board of Zoning Appeals
Gary Glynn, Chairman

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Village Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting October 1, 2008

The Village Zoning Board of Appeals met on Wednesday, October 1, 2008.
Board member Maureen Coen was absent.

The purpose of the meeting was for the Board to hear the appeal from an approval of the Board of Architectural Review granted to the Gwatmeys by Robert Silvay in regard to the addition of a garage at their property at 17 Clubhouse Rd.

Board attorney Mike Donnelly began by advising the Board that their job was to determine whether or not the Board of Architectural Review had abused their discretion “to an extreme degree” by being arbitrary and capricious with regard to this application.

Mr. Silvay stated that the BAR should not have requested that the Gwathmeys locate their proposed garage so close to his property line and back door. Because the property is particularly steep in this area, Mr. Silvay is concerned about drainage issues. He also voiced concern regarding the aesthetics of the project.

Gwathmey attorney Mr. Conway responded that the Gwathmey project has been before the Board of Architectural Review 16 times during the past few years and that all persistent issues had been adequately addressed.

After much discussion, the ZBA decided to review the relevant Board of Architectural Review minutes and engineering reports along with the 4 originally proposed sites for the garage submitted by the Gwathmeys in July of 2006 before continuing the discussion at their next meeting on November 20, 2008.

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Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting June 19, 2008

The Village Board of Zoning Appeals met on Thursday June19, 2008.
Board member Darby was absent.
Board Attorney, Mike Donnelly, was also absent, as was his replacement.

The Public Hearing for the Richard Witte application was continued. Mr. and Mrs. Witte were present as were their architect and landscaping designer. As previously requested, Mr. Wade of Esposito & Assoc. (landscape architects) presented photo simulations of the property taken from various vantage points along West Lake and Turtle Point Roads. These gave a reasonable idea of the proposed home’s visual impact during “off-leaf” (winter) conditions. Mr. Wade also presented a 3 dimensional drawing of the property.

The Board then carefully considered the five factors relevant to the granting of a substantial variance. (i.e. building on a ridgeline) Due to the absence of council, no final decision was made. However, after having made site visits to the property, the general consensus of the Board is that there is not a better spot on the property to locate the proposed home and that to deny the Wittes their right to build would constitute a “taking”.

Building Inspector Ledwith, reminded the Wittes that neither the Planning Board nor the Board of Architectural Review could consider their application without a signed statement from the Board of Zoning Appeals. Therefore, the application was delayed until the next BZA meeting.

The Public Hearing for the Mengel application was continued. Representatives for the Mengels were present. The list of variances, originally presented in May, and status of each were discussed. It was decided that a request for a variance for stone slab steps would be withdrawn as the steps do not require a variance. However, a proposed modification to a stonewall might require a variance not previously requested. No decisions were made due to the lack of council and it was decided that the applicant will return to the next BZA meeting for a final discussion.

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Board of Zoning Appeals to hold Public Hearing on June 19

NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Zoning Appeals of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold a meeting on Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York. Also being held is the continuation of the public hearings on the Richard Witte and Philip Mengel BZA applications.

BY ORDER OF THE BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
Gary Glynn, Chairman

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Village Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting May 22, 2008

The Village Board of Zoning Appeals meeting convened at 7PM on Thursday May 22 with the Lin/Ma application for front yard, rear yard and yard-intrusion variances. Rothe Architects and Planners represented the applicants. Specifically, the project includes a new 3-car garage with a terrace patio above; conversion of an attached garage to living space, driveway modifications, demolition of a detached garage, and an enclosed play-yard space for children.

After hearing considerable explanation and applying their own evaluation, the BZA voted 5:0 to grant those necessary area variances to enable the proposed construction and demolition.

The application of Robert Zgonena sought a variance for a 2-story addition including porches, dormer, driveway etc. Mr. Zgonena was represented by Peter Cooper, architect. The site is less than an acre and very steep. After a full review, the BZA voted to accept the requested area and dimensional variances with a vote of 5:0.

An application from the Mengels was considered for 11 modifications to the original approved site plan for a new house and appurtenances on West Lake Road. The Mengels were accompanied by their contractor/construction manager and Ms. Cerbone, a landscape designer. Mr. Mengel explained that the entire lot is within our Village’s 100’ no-build buffer zone of Tuxedo Lake.

The variances and modifications sought included walkways, walls, a tree well, steps, fencing, a hot-tub spa and new driveway materials.

A neighbor, Peter Regna, expressed his opinion that the hot-tub, at 5’ from his property line, was too close and might become a source of noise and activity usually requiring a 50’ set back.

Mr. Mengel stated that his wife required the hot-tub as therapy for her back. Mr. Regna recommended two other locations on the site which might accommodate a hot-tub, but with less visibility and proximity.

After considerable discussion with the Mengels and their professionals, the BZA elected to table 2 of the 11 issues, approve 6 more and decline the remaining 3. Concerns about aesthetics, safety, public health, set-backs and precedent were voiced as major concerns prompting the denials.

An open discussion of the revised Gateway Overlay proposal (Local Law 3 of 2008) ensued with all BZA members seeming to support this initiative. It’s objective is the further protection of our East and South “Gateway” (entry) roads. The tools this document provides include deeper house setbacks, no new driveways onto both Tuxedo and South Gate Roads and new-house orientation guidelines.

Chairman Glynn called for a vote of support or rejection of this proposed legislation so as to determine whether passage would require 3 or 5 Trustee votes in favor. A motion to support this draft legislation resulted in 4 ayes, no nays and 1 abstention for lack of familiarity.

The BZA meeting was adjourned at approximately 11:30 PM.

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Village Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting March 27, 2008

The Village Board of Zoning Appeals met on Thursday, March 27, 2008.
Chairman Glynn called the meeting to order. Board member Mary Darby was absent. None of the members present signed a conflict of interest form.

Mr. and Mrs. Witte were represented by their architect, Mr. Collins, and their landscape architect, Ms. Esposito. The parties had done a great deal of preparation, including studying the Village Code and the proposed Ridgeline Overlay District Regulations.
Mr. Glynn gave an overview of the Board’s general response for a variance to build on a ridgeline. The landscape architect presented photos of the proposed site taken from various vantage points. He also produced two topographical profiles running from the lake to the proposed site. The Board questioned the visual impact of a house at the location. The general consensus was that moving the building site to a lower elevation would have more impact on the neighbors. Mr. Toal, an attorney representing the neighbors Sean and Anne Madden, voiced their concerns regarding water run-off onto their property. Mr. Ledwith, building Inspector, stated that the property is not heavily vegetated and that it would be difficult to screen the house. Mr. Donnelly, the BZA lawyer, and Mr. Esposito briefly discussed the possibility of a conservation easement to safeguard the existing trees. Mr. Glynn observed that the Board does not like to rely on vegetative screening.

A lengthy discussion ensued. The Board unanimously agreed that the property is on a Ridgeline. The board ultimately suggested that the architects prepare photos/simulations of what the house would look like from 3 specific vantage points. The Board did not feel that a balloon test was adequate to show the visual impact. All parties agreed and the hearing was held open until the next Board meeting in April.

Mr. Goodfellow discussed his concerns regarding the variance for the Samman wall. His letter follows:

 

March 10, 2008

Mr. Gary Glynn
Chair, ZBA
Village of Tuxedo Park
Tuxedo park NY 10987

Dear Gary,

In re: BZA Variance for Sammann wall

I am writing to express my concerns about the variance granted to the Sammanns for “relief” from Section 100-18 Fences “no fence shall be located closer than five feet to any roadway”.

The 5 foot setback was established to give the DPW adequate room for managing snow plowing and other road work in order to decrease the likelihood of damage to residents’ property and provide for safe passage of vehicles. In addition, it was hoped that larger setbacks would help the Village avoid the kind of problem that has surfaced on properties throughout the Park where plowing and expanded road surfaces are creating knotty problems for the Village when it comes to establishing who is responsible for the costs of repair of walls that are close to the roadway. The Cathcart wall (now Zgonena) on Tower Hill and Grueterrich walls are but two examples of what is becoming a vexing challenge to the Trustees.

Susan reviewed the file in the Village Office on Thursday, March 6 with Ms. Matthews. First of all, she was surprised to note that there was no letter from the applicant requesting the variance or explaining his hardship, nor was there a site plan delineating the request. There was a site plan showing a 5 foot setback. The only letter in the file was from Chiu yin Hempel, Chair of the BAR, who wrote to the BZA endorsing the variance for aesthetic reasons.

It has always been our understanding that the ZBA grants variances 110-48 “where there are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships in the way of carrying out the strict letter of any of the provisions of this chapter, the Board of Appeals shall have the power, in passing upon appeals, to vary or modify the application of any of the regulations or provisions of this chapter relating to the use, construction or alteration of buildings or structures or the use of land, so that the spirit of this chapter shall be observed, public safety and welfare secured and substantial justice done.”

In this instance, not only does there seem to be an absence of hardship or practical difficulty, or even a letter from the applicant, but also the rationale is based upon an aesthetic judgment by the BAR that the wall will look better closer to the road. (See Ms. Hempel’s letter of 9 February 2008). Nothing in the record indicates that the DPW was consulted in any way.

So, the BZA has made a decision based upon an aesthetic judgment of the BAR that is not grounded in an established and approved set of guidelines. Further, the decision is quite different from the way the BZA has handled such requests in the past. Four houses away on Clubhouse Rd. is the home of JoAnn Matthews. Ms. Matthews sought to build a wall close to the road because, in part, she thought it would look better. She was denied a variance and her wall is set back 5 feet.

Question for the BZA: Are aesthetics proper grounds for a variance? Does this decision, based as it is upon such an arbitrary aesthetic observation of wall placement help establish a new precedent that might create difficulties for the Village in the future?

We hope that you will be able to revisit this decision after involving the DPW.

Sincerely,
James C. Goodfellow

cc. BZA Members, BAR Members, Building Inspector, Head of DPW

My Donnelly, reading from the minutes of last month, said that the variance granted had been conditioned upon DPW, Board of Architectural Review and engineering approval.
The Board agreed that there were some troubling procedural issues:
The absence of an application for a variance from the applicant.

The precedent of previous decisions regarding stone walls adjacent to roadways were not considered.

Everyone agreed that the five-foot setback was a valid requirement given the possible liability of the Village.

It was unclear what action, if any, the BZA would take with regard to this issue.

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