The team behind a proposal to expand the Southampton Village estate section home Mocomanto presented plans in December that reduce the size of a proposed addition, while also trying to restore the look of the residence to how it appeared in the 1920s.
The revised plans were submitted in response to the Southampton Village Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review members’ wariness toward the original plans’ use of a modern-looking connector that would join the historic home, located at 472 First Neck Lane, with an addition creating an L-shape.
On November 27, members of the board gave their first round of input on the project, and all agreed that the connector, which would be used as a kitchen and would be surrounded by glass, needed a little work. At the time, Chairman Curtis Highsmith told the architect and the attorney representing the homeowner, Ken Fox, that the connector appeared to be a “foreign element.”
“We went back to the drawing board,” said Lisa Zaloga, the architect working on the project. “We’ve now relocated the addition; we’ve detached the garage.”
Ms. Zaloga told board members in December that the two-story addition is very reminiscent of photos of Mocomanto from the 1920s.
The wing will be flush with the north side of the home, and appear as one continuous wall.
Initially, the addition would have included the garage, but now the plans call for a detached garage. Ms. Zaloga described the garage as 16 feet high, very simple and reminiscent of the barns that were on the property at one time.
John Bennett, Mr. Fox’s Southampton Village-based attorney, said the new addition will still have only nine bedrooms, and the coverage in the 150-foot wetland setback that was approved by the Southampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals will be the same.
He added that the proposed addition will be 24 feet, 11 inches high.
“This is going to take a lot of review, but certainly what is being proposed is within the spirit of the history of the structure itself, which is 180 degrees of what we have seen before,” said Zachary Studenroth, the board’s architectural consultant.
Patrick B. Fife, an attorney representing neighbors in opposition to Mr. Fox’s project, submitted a letter to the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review expressing his clients’ discontent with the proposal.
Specifically, Mr. Fife addressed a report put together by architect Jonathan S. Foster, who was hired by the neighbors to review the project.
“In Mr. Foster’s opinion, the Applicant’s proposed northern addition is historically inappropriate because it is out of proportion with the size, scale and massing of the existing house,” Mr. Fife wrote. “The proposed addition is also inconsistent with the size, scale and massing of Mocomanto’s previous northern wing.”
According to Mr. Fife, the proposed 57-foot-long addition would be 143 percent longer than Mocomanto’s 40-foot eastern-facing facade and the footprint would be 90 percent larger than the historic home’s existing footprint.
Even more so, Mr. Fife said the addition would continue to be inconsistent with the village code’s standards and the Secretary of the Interior’s standard number nine, which says additions to historic structures “shall be differentiated from the old and will be compatible with the historic materials, features, size, scale and proportion, and massing to protect the integrity of the property and its environment.”
The hearing was expected to continue at the next Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review meeting, which was scheduled for Monday, January 8, at 7 p.m. at Southampton Village Hall.
The report of Zachary Studenroth, Southampton Village’s Architectural Preservation Consultant, on Mocomanto (472 First Neck Lane).
· “While the proposed plans meet applicable building and zoning standards, the appropriateness of their size and scale in proportion to the existing dwelling is problematic”;
· “The proposed 2-story guest house … inadvertently rivals and distracts from the original architecture”;
· “the proposed plans and elevations enlarge the building without balancing the size and placement of these additions to adequately minimize their visual impact”;
· “Southampton Village Code does not recognize vegetative screening as a means of disguising or mitigating such impact, thus any representation to that effect is without merit”;
· ”A satisfactory solution to enlarging the house within the limits of the code may be found in appropriate massing of the proposed additions, and not simply in emulating its historic architecture”:
· “It is further recommended that the additions be substantially separated from the main house, actually and visually, to minimize their impact from the public view”; and
· “the origins of Mocomanto as a c. 1880 summer home of few pretensions when compared to the great estates that followed in later decades should be considered when designing the scale and placement of its addition(s).”
Southampton ZBA Meeting Transcript