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Mayor's Commitee on Building Code Changes to Present to the Board of Trustees on September 8th

The committee was created in mid 2015 in response to citizens’ concerns regarding construction of new houses and additions in the Village.

The problems identified are not unique to Garden City and have been addressed in different ways by many communities nationwide. The issue is a complex balancing act between size of house, aesthetics and homeowners’ needs, wants and rights. The proposed recommendations do not impact the ability to build a house, addition or extension up to the existing maximum limits on the property. They do not alter the height to which a house can be built, which affects the height of interior rooms. The recommendations address several issues related to construction or additions to new houses, additions or extensions.

● ‘Large House Issue.’ Some new houses, additions or alterations, predominantly on smaller plots (R6 and R8), appear to be larger than the surrounding houses, altering the character and streetscape of adjoining houses and the neighborhood, creating ‘canyons’ on the sides of houses and diminishing the amount of light and air reaching neighboring houses and reducing privacy.

○ 81% (5,292) houses in the Village are on R6 or R8 plots.

● The Architectural Design Review Board currently is not required to review additions or exterior alteration to the front half of the property if it increases the existing floor area of the house by 30% or less.

● A house can be totally or partially demolished without any representation to the Village of what will replace it.

○ There is no requirement to landscape and maintain the property if it is left vacant.

● There is no requirement unless a variance is required that neighbors be made aware of the plans for, impacts on or construction of new houses, additions or alterations adjacent to their property.

To develop its recommendations, the committee: analyzed 393 building permits issued in the Village since 2011; examined how other communities have addressed the problem; explored various potential solutions and vetted them with the Architectural Design Review Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Property Owners’ Associations, the Village Building Superintendent, members of the Board of Trustees and at an open meeting of the Mayor’s Committee.

The committee’s recommendations were developed in concert with and are supported by Bob Cunningham, 30 year member and currently head of the Zoning Board of Appeals, and Hugh Lacy, 25 year member and currently head of the Architectural Design Review Board. Both of these boards review and approve construction and zoning matters in the Village. Village Building Superintendent Ausberto Huertas, Jr. reviewed and approved the plan from the Building Department’s perspective.

The committee encourages all interested parties to attend the presentation on

September 8th at 8:00 PM at Village Hall.