Last Monday, at the Village ARB public hearing, a house at 94 Bishops Lane was reviewed: the existing house will be demolished and a new house built. Happens all the time. Now you think I’m going to harp on why the existing house shouldn’t be demolished right? More that the proposed house is inappropriate, but for the opposite reasons you think. The photograph of the proposed front elevation of the house is pictured at the top of this post.
This little enclave of a neighborhood is just off of Hill Street on the east side of the street. At its entrance is a sign announcing numbers #90, 94, 110, and 120 Bishops Lane, seen here:
This style of the sign is the first indication of the style of houses that make up this little subdivision. Here are photos of all four of them:
This “subdivision,” for that’s what I’m calling it due to its cohesiveness in character, was created in the early 80s. A company called Millers Meadow Corp. bought these lots and others in November of 1980. In February of 1982, at least these four were purchased by a George Wallis, and then the houses were built one by one, with the first selling in ’83, the second in ’85, and so on. At this point I’m not sure of Mr. Wallis’ role, nor who he was. Nonetheless, there is an undisputable character to this enclave which is technically comprised of two front lots and two flag lots with a common shared driveway off of Bishops Lane. But more than two lots makes for a public right of way, right?
Without having any visual aids, I stood up during the ARB review and tried to describe this “Miller’s Meadow” community but either the board members didn’t get it, didn’t care, were sympathetic of their board member, or – because #94 is technically a flag lot – thought the argument was irrelevant. So the application was approved. Don’t get me wrong, I think Brian’s design is lovely; but a traditional house in this perfectly intact contemporary 80s enclave is out of character with its neighbors.
I thought about going door to door to talk with the neighbors, but after the fact? I wish I had done that before…….I wish more village residents would read this blog. And, with all due respect toward Brian Brady, who is a very talented classical architect and has brought a great deal of credibility to the ARB, what does it say that he would be an enabler of this type of contextual disruption?
What do you think?