2013-01-16 – Architectural Review Board Minutes

Members Present:

Eileen Kuster-Collins Chairperson

T. Robins Brown

Mary Mathews

Toma Holley

Maggie McManus


Lisa Buckley Alternate Voting Member

Paul Curley Alternate Voting Member


Donald Yacopino Building Inspector




The Minutes of the December 19, 2012 Nyack Architectural Review Board Meeting were approved.




[Item 1] 20 Burd Street. Robert Silarski. Continuation. Site plan application to construct carport in driveway on west side.

Note: Members McManus and Buckley recused themselves from this application.

Public comment from the following: David Soderland, 22Burd Street, who stated that he felt the house was already too big for the site and that to build on the driveway to the lot line would make the house even more imposing, and would prefer to not have this view outside his side windows.


Public comment from Irene Shum, 22 Burd Street, who is an architect, who feels that the lot was maximized already. It’s an existing non-conforming house; the north-side elevations are long and larger than all of the other existing houses, and she would prefer that this not be built


Comment from Lisa Buckley, 22 Burd Street, who feels that the bulk of the proposed structure increases an overly large structure on a lot that is atypical, larger than any other house on the streetscape. She feels that it’s inappropriate, and objects and urges the Board to vote against it.


Members Brown and Mathews objected to the proposed structure being on the lot line. Member Brown felt that the house was already at maximum build out and should not be allowed any additional bulk.

It was noted by the applicant’s representative that both the Planning and Zoning Board had approved the proposal.

Motion by Member Holley, seconded by Member Mathews to close the public portion. Approved by a vote of 5-0.

Motion by Member Holley, seconded by Member Curley to approve the application with the following conditions:

1. That the structure will be moved back a minimum of two feet, as far back as is possible from the street line;

2. That the colors of the columns will be a darker natural color to match the siding or the wood so that it disappears and is not white, and doesn’t appear to be a strong architectural element;

3. That these changes will be submitted for review by two members.


Approved by Members Holley, Collins and Curley, with Members Brown and Mathews voting negatively.



[Item 2] 235 High Avenue. Burt Dorfman, attorney, and Eric Osborne, architect, for Eileen McKenna. Site plan application to construct a single-family dwelling. The applicant came before the Board initially for a demolition permit and construction of a new house. The Board asked for evidence as to why the house should be demolished, and the response from the attorney was hostile, stating that the house was going to be taken down, there was no question about it, and a new house was being proposed because his builder did not do restorations and renovations, he only built new structures.

The Board requested information as to why the house should be taken down. Board members commented that there were a series of houses on this street, this being one of them, which creates a rhythm, that there were three structures of similar design and nature, that an adjacent house had been restored, and felt that this house had architectural merit and that the idea of renovating and retaining the existing house should be explored. The applicant was not open to that idea. The Board asked again for an explanation of why the house should be taken down. The applicant’s representative claimed that the house was not salvageable. The Board requested documentation of that opinion for review..

The applicant’ s representative stated that there was mold in the house, and the Board asked for written documentation of that.

Public comment from Chris Taylor, adjacent neighbor at 237 High Avenue, who stated that he was dismayed by the lack of respect for the Board by the applicant. He also stated that he felt that the house was in terrible disrepair, that the McKennas had not done much to maintain it, and that it did not need to remain standing; however, he had objections to the proposed new house.

The Board requested that the applicant return with evidence and an engineer’s report as to whether or not the structure is sound, whether or not mold actually exists in the house, and whether or not it is feasible and affordable to renovate the existing structure.

The application remains open.



[Item 3] 150 Burd Street. Kier Levesque for Alex Vursta. The proposal has changed since last presented to the Board. The building size has been reduced dramatically, there is no longer a proposal for an underground parking structure, and parking is adjacent to the building on the east side with planned access through the existing Wells Fargo parking lot, which would need to be negotiated by the applicant.

There are many variances required as there are more dwelling units proposed, and there are dimensional standards required, set-back requirements, rear yard, side yard, et cetera. The Board discussed at length the application, the reduced size and scale of the newly proposed building, the lot size calculations, the scale of the building, the concept of the proposed building, and had no issues with the concept proposed. The visual aspect of the building and the size and scale of the building with the setbacks with balconies was deemed appropriate by this Board. The Board has no objection to the requested variances based on their impact on the exterior visual elements of the building. The Board members were not willing to discuss the variance for the amount of dwelling units requested on the interior. The building could potentially assume this exterior form with fewer units inside.

It was noted that this is a preliminary review of the revised application. There was no public comment at this point, and the Board has requested that the applicant develop the elevations more based on comments from this Board. The Board felt that the setbacks were appropriate, that the recesses in the building and the front and rear balconies helped to reduce the overwhelming scale of the structure. The Board felt that the overall form of the building was appropriate however requested changes to the detailing on the facades. There were comments as follows: 1. the second-story canopy and crown on the front façade was overbearing in scale; it appeared more powerful an element than the ground floor crown; 2. the columns for the second story canopy appear underscaled; 3. the proposed first floor stucco was not appropriate to the building, and that patterned or multicolored brick, might be a better solution; 4. the first-floor elevation had large storefront style windows that would not work well in this location, that is likely to be office rather than retail use; 5. The style and scale of the first floor was not in harmony with the balance of the building.

There were also comments that the back of the building could be made more lively. The architect argued that he didn’t want it to appear as another front façade. The Board felt that it didn’t have to mimic the front, but needed to be interesting as it was highly visible from Main Street.

The street curb/planter bump out was also discussed. The Board requested that the view of the street with the bump out and the buildings be presented for review.

The application remains open for further review.



Item 4] 400 High Avenue. WY Management LLC. Site plan application to demolish existing manufacturing structure and construct a multi-level hotel. Application presented by Dennis Michaels, the attorney. Representatives of the applicant are as follows: Kerri Wellington, applicant; Michael Yanko, applicant; Dennis Michaels, attorney; Hans Erdenberger, architect; Steven Grogg; Richard Pierson, mechanical engineer; Santiago Pelaez, traffic engineer; design team Michael Moller, New York Nylo Hotels, Stephanie Dupox, Dupox Design, Nylo Hotels, and Howard Dean, owner.

The applicants presented a proposal for a four-story building whose footprint sits in the exact location of the existing metal industrial building. Much of the presentation had been seen in a preliminary meeting. The concept was to use the existing structure and salvage as much as possible, the frame of the existing structure, and to carry that aesthetic language into the proposal for the new building which has a loft-like appearance. The proposal, in terms of the aesthetics of the building, was met favorably by the ARB. There was appreciation for the use of the brick and the clapboard HardiPlank, the standing seam roof, the fact that the entrance faces the Thruway and is less disruptive to any residences in the rear, the idea that there would be pathways along Cemetery Road, and the fact that there is a two-story parking structure which would minimize impermeable surfaces on the site.

Comment from neighbor, Steven Bacharach, of 298 High Avenue, who was concerned about the noise and the time frame of the construction. The applicants heard his comments and the Board recommended that he attend the meeting of the other boards to express his concerns.

Comment from neighbor, Mary Akman, of 320 High Avenue, who is also concerned about the noise. She was concerned about the cutting of trees on the property and stated that trees had been cut the previous Saturday. She asked about the posting process and it was determined that the applicant’s posting was compliant. The Board recommended that she also attend the other board meetings with any concerns as they were site related..

There were questions by the Board regarding the length and scale proposed on the north side of the building that faces the cemetery and is most visible to the neighbors. There was a request that the scale of that elevation by kept in mind, that it be a more appropriate residential scale for facing the residences. The architect responded that the difference in materials and textures would alleviate that, and there was also a jog or center bump out. The Board was not able to visualize this based on the rendering, so the architect stated he would return with further information.

The Board requested that the applicant submit a site plan that shows the building in context, indicating the adjacent buildings, the location of the cemetery and the highway, photographs of the existing structure, photographs of the neighboring buildings and the site, and a few oblique views that would help to better visualize the scale of this structure in context. Additionally, the Board requested a site visit either in conjunction with the other boards, or if the other boards do not require it, then individually with the ARB. The Board also requested to see the lighting on the site for aesthetic purposes and further details on the signage.

In general, the aesthetics of the proposal drew a favorable response. It was understood that this is a preliminary application, that the applicant was seeking feedback from the Board as to whether there were any major objections, which there did not seem to be, and wanted to know what additional materials needed to be presented. There was concern by the neighbors about the screening of the property; again, an issue for the Planning Board. The application remains open.


Let the record show the meeting ended at 10:15 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,




Eileen Kuster-Collins