Herrmann’s Castle remake okayed

JULIE LANE PHOTO |Herrmann’s Castle as it appears today is about to undergo major reconstruction with additions on the property on Shore Road.

Three of five Zoning Board of Appeals members Wednesday night agreed to a special permit necessary for owner Zach Vella to reconstruct Herrmann’s Castle and expand buildings on the site at 85 Shore Road.

The imposing structure was originally built in 1973 by Walter Herrmann, a German immigrant, who came to this country and eventually established a contracting firm.

In August architect Guillermo Gomez  tried to push for an immediate approval of the plans that include modernizing the main structure, creating a two-bedroom second-story over an existing garage and adding a tennis center on the 3-acre plus property. But the ZBA pushed back, informing Mr. Gomez that even more simple applications require time to assess potential impacts on the surrounding community.

ZBA members Patricia Shillingburg and Pieter Ruig voted against the resolution approving the project. Mr. Ruig worried that even though current plans prohibit a kitchen unit over the garage, there could come a day when someone would try to convert the two bedrooms over the garage into an accessory apartment. Mr. Vella intends to use the new rooms to house staff, Mr. Gomez said.

Ms. Shillingburg declined to comment on her objections to the plan, but during an August public hearing, she told Mr. Gomez the proposal might not work “the way you have it presently set up.”

Neighbors on Shore Road and Rocky Point Avenue didn’t object to the plan during that hearing, but asked the ZBA to control parking, both during construction and after completion and expressed concerns about noise and summer traffic, asking for controls on working hours and fencing.

The ZBA approval comes with restrictions that apply during construction and some that apply after the work is completed.

Construction expected to take between 18 and 24 months must, from May 15 to September 15, be done only on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. with no weekend work. Construction vehicles must be parked on the property or along Shore Road, not on Rocky Point Avenue and fencing must be maintained during the construction period. Contractors must assure there is no littering of materials around the compound. Any violations could result in a stop work order.

Other restrictions: Dark skies provisions will apply both during and after construction; Mr. Vella can’t provide a kitchen in the space where the two bedrooms are to be added over the existing garage; no bathroom facilities can be built at the tennis center, something the owner wanted when the plan was originally introduced. The fencing is to be removed after construction and parking is to be provided on the site.

For a full story on ZBA actions, see the November 22 Reporter.