The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

Seven Springs

After ‘tweaks,’ board gives nod to Trump’s plans

By MARTIN WILBUR

The Bedford Planning Board gave Donald Trump’s revised Seven Springs application conceptual approval Tuesday night, a plan that includes restoration of the Reynolds Farmhouse as a single-family residence and minor reconfiguration of some of the lots.

The action taken by the board came about a month after Mr. Trump’s representatives announced that the equestrian center planned for the Reynolds property would be scrapped because of insufficient space on that lot. Before approval can be granted to move forward with construction, Mr. Trump must still obtain several variances from the zoning board of appeals. The application is tentatively scheduled for the March ZBA meeting and could return to the planning board at one of its April meetings.

Reconfiguration of several lots was the latest change introduced this week, a revision that was described as minor by both the board and Eric Trump, Mr. Trump’s son who was in attendance for Tuesday night’s planning board meeting. Last month, the project’s representatives had revealed that the parcel where the Reynolds house is located would be reduced from 7.8 acres to 5.2 acres after a report received by the applicant and the board concluded that the larger lot would be inadequate for the proposed 20-horse barn and two riding rings.

“We wanted to make certain the lot lines fall exactly on stone walls and really conformed with the property,” Eric Trump explained of the latest changes after the meeting. “As you see, there weren’t many changes; these were just very minor tweaks and it moves the lot lines a couple of feet here and there. That’s really what we tried to accomplish.”

Engineer Ralph Mastromonaco outlined for the board the variances needed for the project to advance. On Lot B-1, referred to as the Nonesuch lot, Mr. Trump requires a variance for excessive impervious coverage area. The Reynolds property will also require a variance for imperviousness as well as building coverage and insufficient setback. Two other parcels, Lots 1 and B-6, each contain a small structure that will need a variance for building coverage if they are to be retained.

Plans outline nine parcels, seven containing the new mansions along with the Reynolds and Nonesuch properties on the 103-acre Bedford portion of Seven Springs.

Eric Trump said it was important that with the change to the Reynolds Farmhouse from equestrian to single-family residence that the historic character of the building be retained. It had also been decided to leave the building in its location and acquire an additional variance for setback rather than risk destroying the house, he said. 

Historic Building Preservation Commission chairman John Stockbridge said he was confident that the Trumps were committed to preserving the 19th-century house, with their preference for restoration as opposed to renovation. While the commission will not formally make a decision on the Reynolds house because a demolition permit has not been sought, their input was requested by the planning board.

“It was very clear to me that I thought the applicant was embracing the feeling of our board and of historic preservation,” Mr. Stockbridge told the planning board.

Planning board chairman Dr. Donald Coe said with up to 20 horses on the Reynolds site there would have been insufficient space, and it was concluded that the horses would have to be inside too often for their well-being. As a result, after work is completed on the structure, it will be placed on the market as a single-family home once the seven mansions are sold, he said.

Dr. Coe said the board’s conceptual approval was as much as the board and the applicant could accomplish without the zoning board approvals.

“We can’t give them anything else yet because they don’t have the variances,” he said.

With the Reynolds parcel reduced to 5.2 acres, proposed building coverage is 4.48 percent, nearly 50 percent above the 3 percent maximum. While the house has sufficient setback now, once a proposed road is built on Seven Springs land it will pass within 50 feet of the house, the minimum setback required.


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FEBRUARY 24, 2012