Property owner seeks ZBA approval to remake Herrmann's Castle

JULIE LANE PHOTO | If owner Zach Vella gets his way, this property at 85 Shore Road would undergo major renovations, including changes to the house, a second story to an existing garage and a new tennis center on the lot.

The former Herrmann’s Castle may be converted into a home and recreation area for property owner Zach Vella and his family if the Shelter Island Zoning Board of Appeals approves the project.

Mr. Vella wants to modernize the main house structure, create a two-bedroom second-story over an existing garage and add a tennis center on the more than 3-acre property, his attorney and architect told ZBA members at the Aug. 22 public hearing.

The house and existing garage are already nonconforming structures, forcing the project to need ZBA action. The proposed additions would result in further compromising setback requirements. The changes would result in a more than 50 percent reconstruction on the property, also triggering ZBA action.

While neighbors generally expressed favorable reactions to the idea of reconstruction that could spruce up a deteriorating property, they had concerns about noise and debris during the construction process. They also want to assure that parking, both during and after the construction, would be on the property and not on either Shore Road or Rocky Point Avenue. They also asked that work be limited to weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The structure is just west of the Pridwin and owners there want to know that their guests won’t be disturbed by what could well be a year and a half of construction.

Although Mr. Gomez pushed hard for some indication of how the ZBA might act on the application, even joking that Mr. Vella would fire him if he came back empty-handed, members held steadfast in telling him a project of such magnitude would likely take several months of consideration.

It’s not unusual for a project of this magnitude to take six-to-nine months in the approval process, ZBA chairman Doug Matz said.

“It’s in the best interests of the neighbors and your client to come up with the right decision here,” he said.

The public hearing was left open and will continue on Oct. 24.

For the full story on the initial public hearing, see Thursday’s Reporter.

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