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ZBA: Herrmann’s Castle owner seeks changes to temporary home

JULIE LANE PHOTO Zach Vella listened to members of his team of architects and builders describe an ancillary project — this one in Shelter Island Heights — to his Herrmann’s Castle reconstruction at a recent ZBA hearing.

JULIE LANE PHOTO Zach Vella listened to members of his team of architects and builders describe an ancillary project — this one in Shelter Island Heights — to his Herrmann’s Castle reconstruction at a recent ZBA hearing.

This time it’s Vella-Clinton.

No, it’s not a lineup for a political team, but a second project Zach Vella wants to accommodate his family while the former Herrmann’s Castle on Shore Road is reconstructed.

Mr. Vella and his team of architects and builders were back before the Zoning Board of Appeals April 26 for a public hearing for a special permit to link a house and guest quarters at 12 Clinton Avenue in the Heights by adding a library and connecting hallways to both the main and guest houses.

The construction is relatively benign compared with the extensive changes at the Herrmann’s Castle site at 85 Shore Road, the idiosyncratic white structure rising above Crescent Beach built in 1973.

The place on Clinton Avenue will initially provide a place for Mr. Vella and his family to live and eventually become a home for his parents, he and his architect, Barbara Corwin, told the ZBA.

Ms. Corwin noted that while the house is already nonconforming, nothing about the construction would add additional nonconforming elements. Currently, there’s a trellis connecting the two houses, she said.
Mechanicals — air conditioning and a generator — would be in the basement except for one compressor that has to be outside and that would be placed so it doesn’t encroach on any setbacks, builder Michael Burns said.

A letter from Stella Lagudis, general manager of the Shelter Island Heights Property Owners Corporation (HPOC), supported the application, with the understanding that the construction would cause no interruption to the North Ferry line.

Mr. Burns said the only interruptions would be to pull construction materials and vehicles onto the property and that all vehicles would be contained within the lot and not parked on the street. He also acknowledged that since the work is to be done during the Island’s busiest tourist season, he understood it could occur only during the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays with no holiday construction taking place.

With no comments other than the letter from the HPOC, the ZBA closed the hearing, but will accept written comments until May 10.

The ZBA approved three other pending applications:
• Stuart and Cindy Homer received approval for three variances to accommodate an addition to their house at 16 Hilo Drive. The approvals carried conditions that a six-foot vegetative barrier of evergreens be used to contain any noise from air conditioners and that construction take place between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., with no work on holidays.
• Jorge and Marla Cornejo received approval for two variances they needed to construct a new house, deck and patio at 47G South Ferry Road. They had withdrawn three other requests for variances.
• Brian and Kathy Springer got the nod to create a lot with a road frontage of 79.7 feet instead of the required 100-foot frontage.

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