The Design Review Board for the Village of Plandome held its first meeting on April 26. Some background on the formation of the board is included here.
In February of this year, Mayor Williams wrote a letter to residents which stated, "At the October 2005 meeting of the board of trustees, a petition bearing 274 signatures was presented to the board of trustees requesting that the board "consider establishing an Architectural Review Board for our village." In response to the request of the residents, Mayor Williams appointed a nine-member working committee to develop an understanding of the purpose, experience and practice of neighboring community's boards and to make a recommendation to the board of trustees concerning the advisability of establishing such a board in Plandome.
The mayor goes on to state in his letter, "From November through February the committee studied the architectural/design ordinances of more than 20 villages; attended design review board meetings in neighboring villages; and consulted architects, building inspectors, village officials, and attorneys. Upon the completion of its investigation, the committee unanimously recommended that Plandome form a Design Review Board and submitted a draft of a local law to create such a board. The local law would amend Chapter 175 entitled "Zoning" of the Code of the Incorporated Village of Plandome.
"The proposed ordinance adopts the best practices of many nearby villages, adapting them to the unique needs of Plandome. It provides the means to review the exterior appearance of a new or altered structure as well as significant changes in the physical character of the site (topography, grading, drainage, etc.). The review would be conducted by a Design Review Board, whose members would be selected for their training and experience in a relevant business or profession and for civic interest and sound judgment.
"After review of the recommendation of the committee and the proposed law, the board of trustees unanimously agreed that a Design Review Board would benefit the village. The board believes that the local law will assist in mitigating adverse impacts by instituting a review procedure prior to new building or construction beginning in the village. We recognize our responsibility to use our authority wisely and in the best interests of the community."
A public hearing was held March 14 at the Plandome Village Hall to consider proposed Local Law No. 1-2006 entitled "Design Review" when the mayor told residents, "Originally I was cautious about having new regulations in place, however, since looking over the guidelines other villages have, I have been turned 180-degrees around on the matter."
Plandome is one of the few villages that has had no regulations on the appearance of houses. John Ritter, an attorney who advised the board on the matter, said the type of regulations the committee would enact would be in line with those in place in other villages.
Some residents were opposed to the idea. "I don't like the idea that someone from the outside can impose their values on me," said one resident. "It goes against the values this country was founded on." Residents also expressed concerns that the committee's subjective criteria would be too restrictive and arbitrary.
While some residents expressed worry that the criteria was too vague, most residents were supportive, saying that if houses were to look out of character in the neighborhood it could have a negative affect on the value of houses.
The proposal to form a design review board passed.
To date, no applications have been filed.
Members of the Design Review Board are Peter Kenney, chairman, Gary Becker, Denise Conway, Anne DePietro, and James Gilhooly.
(Adam LoBelia contributed to this story.)