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Board Approves Demolition of 3 Claremont Road

3ClaremontThe Scarsdale Board of Trustees has granted permission for another historic house to be razed. The application to demolish 3 Claremont Road was originally denied by the Committee for Historic Preservation on November 21, just before the entire committee resigned to protest the fact, that under current Village code, almost no houses could be preserved.

The appeal went to the entire Board of Trustees who met on January 29, 2018 and found that the house lacked historical significance. Built in 1915, the name of the original architect is not on the plans. The decision says, "While the front façade is distinctive, the distinguished elements of the front façade are not continued on the sides and rear of the building." The Board also found that the house has been classified as four different architectural styles, "Beaux Art, Mediterranean, Colonial and Neo-Classical" and called it a "mish mosh" or "hodgepodge" of styles.

Though not confirmed, a neighbor told Scarsdale10583 that a developer has plans to raze 3 Claremont and a neighboring home and build three homes in their place.

In the past year, though the Board of Trustees noted that historic preservation was one of their priorities, no changes have been proposed to the Village code and almost every application to demolish a home has been approved.

Here is the Board's decision, read by Mayor Dan Hochvert at the February 12, 2018 meeting of the Board of Trustees:

In connection with 3 Claremont Road, Scarsdale, NY
Whereas: 3 Claremont Road, Scarsdale, New York a two story dwelling, located in the Greenacres section of Scarsdale, has been reported to consist of different architectural styles, including Colonial, Mediterranean, Beaux Arts and Neo-Classical, was built in 1915 with renovations and/or modifications to the Building taking place over the years. The original architect for the home is unknown; and

Whereas: pursuant to Scarsdale Village Code (SVC) §§182-5 and 182-6, an application was submitted to the seven member Committee for Historic Preservation (CHP) to demolish more than 51% percent of the above described building; and

Whereas: pursuant to SVC §182, the Committee for Historic Preservation held a public hearing on November 21, 2017 wherein six members of the CHP were present; and

Whereas: at the conclusion of the public hearing three (3) CHP members voted to grant a Certificate of Appropriateness finding that the Building was not of substantial historical importance to the community, while two (2) CHP members abstained from voting, and one CHP member voted to deny the grant of a Certificate of Appropriateness; and

Whereas: because New York State General Construction Law §41 requires a vote of the majority of the constituted board to approve a measure, at least four of the seven members of the CHP must vote in favor of or have opposed the measure for official action to be taken; and

Whereas: only three of the six members present voted to grant the applicant's request for a Certificate of Appropriateness, which resulted in a default denial; and
Whereas: SVC §182-11 provides that any applicant aggrieved by a determination of the CHP may appeal to the Village's Board of Trustees. The SVC also provides that during the appeal the Board of Trustees shall not be bound by the record adduced by the CHP; and

Whereas: on January 29, 2017 the Board of Trustees held a de novo hearing to determine whether the Building meets the criteria stated under SVC §182- 5; and

Whereas: the Village Board has reviewed the record, including a report and photographs submitted by the applicant, and have visited the site; now therefore be it

Resolved: in considering the level of significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture present in the building, as well as the integrity of location, design, setting materials and workmanship, when applying the criteria specified under SVC §182-5, the Village Board makes the following findings of fact:

A. Whether the building is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to broad patterns of Village, regional, state, or national history;
There is no evidence in the record from the CHP or otherwise that the subject property, 3 Claremont Road, is associated with events that would contribute to broad patterns of Village, regional, state or national history. The Village Board notes that the Building is not individually identified in the Reconnaissance Level Cultural Resource Survey Report (2012), which provides a snapshot of the Village's architectural fabric as a preliminary effort to identify buildings and areas with potential architectural or historical significance.

B. That the building is associated with the life of a person or persons of historical significance.

The chain of title indicates that in 1915 the property was owned by Juana C. De Ajuria, who conveyed it to Sadie Siewers in 1924. In 1944, Sadie Siewers conveyed title to Eugene Mindlin, who later conveyed the property to Sandra Zwillinger in 1969. In 1983, Ms. Zwillinger conveyed title to Joyce & Gilbert Beidengreen, who in 1995 conveyed title to the property to the applicants herein, Abby Livingston & William Weinstein. A review of the title holders reveal that Ms. Zwillinger is perhaps the most noteworthy individual to hold title to 3 Claremont Road. Ms. Zwillinger was recognized as the first women pioneer on Wall Street. Indeed, Ms. Zwillinger's significance as a pioneer on Wall Street is commendable, but such accolade does not rise to the level that would render her a person of historical significance. Accordingly, the Village Board finds that the subject property is not associated with the life of a person or persons of historical significance such that the Building would warrant preservation.

C. That the building is the work of a master and embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction that possess high artistic values.

The record indicates that the building was constructed in 1915 and that the original architect is unknown. However, it should be noted that although the architect is unknown, that alone is not dispositive as to whether the building is a work of a master. By definition, a master is a person recognized for greatness in their field and is considered a craftsman of consummate skill whose work rises above and is distinguishable from others. Here, the Village Board finds that while the front façade is distinctive, the distinguished elements of the front façade are not continued on the sides and rear of the Building. Accordingly, the Village Board finds that the Building does not reflect the work of a master.

As to whether the Building embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction that possess high artistic values, the Village Board finds that while the front façade is noted as being distinctive, the Building has had several modifications, including but not limited to, a series of different windows, window and door closures, and cutouts all of which impact the integrity of the architecture and renders the Building inconsistent with its distinctive front façade. Further, the record indicates that the Building has been classified by four different architectural styles, including Beaux Arts, Mediterranean, Colonial and Neo-Classical, which suggest that the Building consist of a "mish-mosh" or "hodgepodge" of architectural styles rendering it uncharacteristic of a particular style or period. Accordingly, the Village Board finds that the Building does not embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction that possess high artistic values.

D. That the building has yielded or may be likely to yield information important in prehistory or history.

The Village Board finds nothing in the record that suggest the Building yielded or may yield information important in prehistory or history; and be it further

Resolved: that based upon the forgoing, the Village Board herein grants a Certificate of Appropriateness to the owner and applicant of 3 Claremont Road for the purpose of facilitating the demolition of the existing structure located therein, subject to any other requirements, rules, and regulations of the Village of Scarsdale and the Building Department.

Submitted by: Village Manager Date Submitted: February 7, 2018 Submitted for: February 13, 2018



#2 Response to Marc 2018-02-16 20:51
Hi Marc,
Please know that some people do care. The house is very clearly Neoclassical and hardly a “hodgepodge” of styles. It’s tragic that our board is completely ignorant to architectural references, The house has many characteristics of Le Petit Trianon. Le Petit Trianon was built in a style that represents order, rationale thought, and civility, and I can only find a sad metaphor in this house being knocked down,
#1 Marc Zwillinger 2018-02-16 00:25
Although I was disappointed to read that my mother's career -- while commendable -- was not of historical significance, other parts of the article are less subjective and likely wrong. For example, not that anyone cares, but the house was intended to be a model of Le Petit Trinon in France. The architect can likely be identified by plans that might be stored at Marx Realty, in New York City, because Eugene Mindler, the owner from 1945-1969 was a builder at that company, and did some of the renovation. Oh well.

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