Only a handful of residents attended the third Dering Harbor Architectural Review Board meeting on Saturday, July 18 to discuss the house proposed for 1 Dering Woods Lane, submitted by the Dering Woods Lane LLC.
At a previous meeting the board had agreed it needed more time to review the revised plans and to hear back from the building inspector about the changes, which he subsequently approved.
On Saturday the LLC was represented by attorneys Joel Sunshine and Brian Feinstein, accompanied by their architect’s draftsman, Sean Bird, and landscape designer Steve Mills. Mickey Kostow, Rob Ferris, Heather Brownlie and John Colby were present for the board.
In support of the LLC’s revised design, Mr. Sunshine led off the discussion with a number of direct quotes taken from resident — and architect — Ken Walker’s publication describing village architecture, which talked about its eclectic nature, houses that were not “monotonously similar” and the “variety of textures” used in the building materials, among others.
He also gave board members copies of a booklet of photos of village houses that showed the different materials and styles used on the same houses — “an eclectic village and I think our house fits in,” he said.
Mr. Bird described some of the newest changes, illustrated in artist’s renderings, stressing there was more continuity in style, simpler use of materials and less of a “hodge-podge” effect, which had been an earlier criticism.
More complete renderings of the landscape design were presented by Mr. Mills. He said that the layout had seemed to be satisfactory in previous meetings but he had made paving and plant changes as suggested.
Then it was the board’s turn. “We’re not trying to be difficult,” Mr. Kostow said, but he made some suggestions for improving the scale and proportions of the front of the house, particularly its center section – “crafting the façade in a way that is more appealing” – and referring to examples in the photos of village homes that Mr. Sunshine had distributed.
Mr. Walker asked to make a comment from the audience. It’s not about the façade, he said. What people aren’t saying but are worried about is that as a spec house, with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, it lends itself to being a group or “party” house. Residents are scared of that, he said. This house is probably going to be approved and it will be built, Mr. Walker said, but the village needs to look at enforcement of its policies about rentals.
Mr. Colby got the discussion that followed back on track by noting that the board’s responsibility was only with the exterior of the house. Mechanisms were in place to deal with group housing, Mr. Kostow said.
At the end of a long, two-hour meeting, it was agreed that the LLC would come up with sketches showing some variations in design by August 6; by mutual consent a decision would be postponed until August 15, when the ARB was scheduled to meet.
Goldfarb/Paredes porch application: At its June meeting, the board had approved the plans submitted, contingent on the building inspector’s confirmation that no further variance was required. Mr. Colby announced that confirmation had been received.