The house lot at 124 Summers Street that will be the subject of a ZBA hearing on Nov. 11. Meetings start at 7 p.m. Traditionally the hearings start with Massapequa residents since they have the longest ride home from town hall. Oyster Bay hearings are usually last on the agenda since the interested parties are in their home area.
The Save the Jewel by the Bay (SJBB) group is asking their supporters to attend the Thursday, Nov. 10 meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals that begins at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall hearing room. On the agenda is the request of Andrew Woodstock to create two houses at the location of 124 Summers Street. He had gotten a demolition permit from the Town of Oyster Bay and had the original house razed. The project was one of the four proposed by Town of Oyster Bay Planner David Portman of Frederick P. Clark Associates to be excluded from the current residential moratorium for the hamlet.
The Zoning Board of Appeals notice states that the subject of the hearing is a "Variance to erect a one-family dwelling on a sub-divided lot having less width of lot at street and less width of lot at required rear yard." The two subdivided lots are 50 ft. wide and not the required 60 ft. The site is described as being 500 ft. north of Soundview Avenue, Oyster Bay.
"We are concerned with the fact he is doing exactly what the moratorium says we can't do. Why he was exempted from the moratorium, no one knows, but it needs to be questioned," said Rita Pecora co-founder of SJBB.
The group is actively getting signatures on petitions against the variance. "It is one of the four properties exempt from the moratorium. Now the number is down to three," said Ms. Pecora. One request for a subdivision was refused by the Nassau County Planning Commission.
Ms. Pecora said Mr.Woodstock is legally correct in most of his building plans except that he is requesting smaller frontages than allowed. Currently town ordinances state that the frontage of each house should be 60 ft. The lot at 124 Summers Street is 100 ft. wide. Mr. Woodstock's property is short 20 feet and wants both houses to be allowed only 50 ft. frontage. The garages will be built underneath the houses, said Ms. Pecora. He is going to the maximum height allowed and the maximum percentage of lot coverage, she said.
The property does have a peculiarity, there is a retaining wall at the rear of the site and the property continues up a steep grade to back onto the backyard of houses on Wood Drive.
The Woodstock property lot where the original house was located is 100 ft. wide by 150 ft. long. The retaining wall is about 105 ft. back and the remaining 45 ft. beyond the retaining wall slopes up to house lots on Wood Drive. The original house at 124 Summer St. was a ranch house with a living area of 1,225 sq. ft. with six rooms, one bath and was built in 1948. The one story ranch had a stucco exterior with an open frame porch. There was a 399 sq. ft. garage.
The plans for the two new houses are each 30 ft. wide, 55 ft. deep with a one-car garage beneath the houses. There will be retaining walls to allow access to the garage under the houses. The footprint of each new house will be 1,650 sq. ft. and will be two-stories each, totaling approximately 3,300 sq. ft. So, the two houses will be twice the size of the original and have about four times the living space.
The new footprint will cover twice as much open space as the one house did previously, possibly changing the water drainage on the site. "One house is more than enough for that lot," said Margaret Libertini, who owns two 50 x 100 lots south of the Woodstock property. The southernmost lot has her house on it and the northernmost one next to the Woodstock site has a spacious lawn which she cherishes. "I'm not going to sell it," she said. "My father, Carmine Libertini bought the land when it was a big hole that people dumped things into. My father bought the land from a guy in Glen Cove. He filled the land with backbreaking work. I am keeping it as it is. I may replace some of the bushes that were planted 60 years ago. Someday, hopefully my nieces and nephews will get the land."
She said that the Woodstock's southern neighbor is concerned that water from the lot will flood her home. The increased footprint on the site will cut down on the arable land and may create drainage problems for the house lower down the hill.
Ms. Libertini said that she would never sell her property to Mr. Woodstock.
Ms. Pecora suggested that Mr. Woodstock should donate the parcel to Summers Street and make it into the Summers Street Pool Association or donate the land to the North Shore Land Alliance. "The alternate would be to just build one house. The new houses are out of character with Summers Street. They are too close together," she said.
Ms. Pecora explained that each of the new houses is five feet away from their neighboring house on the uphill side. That is the side that will contain the air conditioning unit and the chimney. The downhill side of each house is 15 ft. from the property line.
There are entire blueprints of both houses and floor plans that are available through the Freedom of Information Law, said Kathy Prinz, co-founder of SJBB.
The town's ZBA calendar is available on their website: Oysterbay town.com. "The Andrew Woodstock hearing is listed on the fifth page of the calendar," said Ms. Prinz.