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You are here: Home Real Estate Real Estate: No Decision on 11 Dolma Road Due to Untimely Death of the Applicant's Attorney
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Real Estate: No Decision on 11 Dolma Road Due to Untimely Death of the Applicant's Attorney

LawrenceGrahamAttorney Lawrence Graham passed away on February 19.Those who are focused on historic preservation in Scarsdale will be interested in a strange turn of events concerning an application to demolish a Normandy style farmhouse built in 1928 at 11 Dolma Road.

The applicants filed an application to take down 11 Dolma Road with the Committee for Historic Preservation in 2020by Lawrence Graham of Cuddy and Feder in White Plains who had considerable experience in the field.

Unhappy with the result, they appealed that decision to the entire Board of Trustees of Scarsdale who heard their case on February 4, 2021. At this most recent hearing Graham was joined by Andrew Shriever in making their case that the committee’s ruling should be overturned.

The Village was represented by James Staudt, who summed up the case saying, “If ever credit should be given to the CHP it is in this case. There are 600 pages of documentation. The record demonstrates that both sides were afforded opportunities to supply evidence…. The decision provides clear articulate reasons and thoughtful discussion of how Julius Gregory advanced architecture into the modern age…. it is difficult to fathom a more thorough process.”

Following the hearing the Village Board deliberated in executive session, so their thoughts on the matter were not made public. They later said they would announce their decision at a future meeting of the Village Board and the matter was on the agenda for the February 23, 2021 meeting.

However, at the 2/23 meeting, Mayor Marc Samwick said, “There was a very unfortunate incident. One of the attorneys on this matter passed away over the weekend.” He requested to move this item to the next meeting and took a vote of the board and the move to table passed unanimously. Asked later why the matter was tabled, Samwick said, “We felt that, out of respect for the loss of the lead advisor to the owner, and to provide the owner the opportunity to be in front of the village with a full team, it was reasonable to defer this item for two weeks.”

Samwick was referring to Lawrence Otis Graham a 59 year-old lawyer and author who was well known around the county. He died this past weekend. No cause of death has been provided.

Graham was a graduate of White Plains High School and lived in Chappaqua at the time of his death. He attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. He was a New York Times bestselling author of 14 books and was a contributing editor at U.S. News & World Report. He offered weekly commentary on Cablevision News 12 TV, which keeps him in contact with the top government officials in the region. Larry has served as legal commentator for WNBC and has appeared on “The Today Show” and PBS’ “Charlie Rose.” His corporate and legal research has appeared in USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

Remembering Graham, County Executive George Latimer said, “His writing particularly struck a chord as he described growing up Black, well-educated, articulate and accomplished, and still facing prejudice and racism in this society.” He continued, ““I met him when he and his wife Pam - a talented and successful executive in her own right - lived in White Plains and I was going door-to-door running for re-election as a County Legislator,” Latimer said. “I walked away from that front door meeting knowing I had just met an impressive man... and he was that and more over the 25 years of our friendship.”

So now, nine months after the original application there is still no decision on 11 Dolma Road.

At the same time as the Village Board was meeting, the Committee for Historic Preservation was in conference to consider an application to raze another historic home, this one at 2A Cooper Road.

Builder Bobby Ben Simon has already subdivided the original 3.75 acre property in anticipation of building two additional houses on the property. Unable to sell the original home, he was granted permission to take down a large garage with servants’ quarters and proceeded with that demolition. Now he has applied to take down the 21-room, 10,656 square foot Colonial Revival home built in 1914.

However, his application provided no historic information on the home, leaving the Committee for Historic Preservation to do the research. They have asked architectural historian Andrew Dolkart to help them learn more about the provenance of the home and, if possible, name the architect who is not identified on the original plans.

In order to give the committee and Dolkart time to do some research, Committee Chair Adam Lindenbaum proposed to hold the application over to the committee’s next meeting on March 23, 2021. They encouraged neighbors or anyone with knowledge about the home to contact Frank Diodati in the Building Department who will relay the information to the committee. After the committee discusses the information, there will be opportunity for public comment.

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