Tarrytown Planning Board: Here a McMansion, There a McMansion

A few items up for debate at Monday's meeting involve proposals for multi-million dollar "behemoth" houses.


So many McMansions, where do we begin?

Before the Tarrytown Planning Board tonight are a number of agenda items that are expected to generate some heated public debate, and much of them have to do with Really Big Homes.

The first public hearings are slated for three lots sold and up for approval for Toll Brothers building single-family dwellings at 110 Wilson Park Drive, 7 Warner Lane, and 5 Warner Lane. One of these properties will severely crowd the Ice House on Warner Lane and has already generated negative responses from the neighbors at the Board's recent site visit, though these homes pale in comparison to other items on the agenda (Jardim East, Greystone).

Among the most vocal dissenters is resident Rob DeRocker, who put out a call on Facebook for folks to come tonight to fight the construction of homes he described as “behemoths,” “absurdly out of place,” and “entirely out of character” with the surroundings. He wrote:

Neighbors: The Toll Brothers project is proceeding apace, including a hearing scheduled for this Monday, April 23 regarding the gargantuan 8,000 sq. ft. McMansion Toll is proposing to build next to our 2,500 square foot historic "Ice House" on Warner Lane (and near other houses that are all between 1/3 and 1/2 the size of this proposed Toll structure – one that along with the proposed house next to it a neighbor characterized as hotels, not houses).

It’s hard to even begin to describe how ridiculously out of place these houses, if allowed to go through as proposed, would be – not to mention detrimental to the adjacent public park and damaging to a beautiful, century-old maple tree on our own lot. (One of the Toll stakes labeled “house corner” is almost directly under the drip line of that tree. An arborist we’re retaining has said that construction anywhere near that stake would kill the tree.)

Not only is the proposed house absurdly out of place – even comically so, except that we’re not laughing – it is enormously bigger than the one originally proposed by the previous developer. (E.G., a width of about 65 feet in the original vs. nearly 120! Ft. for the latest proposal). We can argue whether houses of this magnitude belong anywhere in Tarrytown. But of the 14 lots, the one place it makes absolutely no sense to put it is in the lot next to ours on Warner Lane. The original developer recognized that.

The Board, since the size of the house is actually within code, plans to focus instead on format and siting: perhaps making the structure L-shaped instead of long and narrow, and moving it away from the Ice House. 

There should also be debate about access to the soccer field — pedestrian only, so no ambulance if some young soccer player gets hurt — and about the heavy-duty wall proposed to separate private lots from parkland. Residents can see a sample of the wall down beyond the stone house on the driveway to the right of the park (the stone house also to be demolished, which could draw comment too). 


It will certainly be a long session as also on the agenda are continuation of public hearings on the following:


Greystone on Hudson, 612 S. Broadway

In the final stretch before subdivision approval with its Final Environmental Impact Statement is the . Thanks in part to developer Andy Todd having addressed many of the points one Patch reader submitted to him, there will perhaps not be many fireworks, though there's likely to be a tangle with Greenburgh over their having to pay for maintenance on the 21.7 acres to be donated as open space. Could this be closed to the public as a result?


Jardim Estates East – Subdivision, Browning Lane

Jardim East, having submitted its Draft Environmental Impact Statement, faces active debate on the basis for a subdivision: how many lots and where, how to deal with code issues. If resident Linda Viertel is back, she will be vocal on not destroying Gracemere and Taxter amenities. What's in all this development for the folks who want to enjoy the vanishing open space? Can we connect Taxter Ridge Park, the Aqueduct trail, the new Tappan Zee Bridge pedestrian and bike crossing?

The rough numbers here are six to eight new $2 million dollar homes, compared to Greystone's 20 properties at $5 million a pop — McMansions all, or maybe trophy homes. A worthy question: who buys such houses and why?


Tarrytown Honda, 480 S. Broadway

is back on the agenda after a gap and sure to generate more debate from local residents with issues on the massive demolition and rebuild proposed for this automotive dealership.


EF International, 100 Marymount Avenue

The , proposing a conversion of an existing library into a dormitory for about 225 students, is tabled for the moment but sure to generate residential complaints about unruly students on Neperan when it returns... 


Stay tuned and come to tonight's meeting, Monday April 23, 2012, 7 p.m., Village Hall, One Depot Plaza

John Anderson April 24, 2012 at 03:32 AM
hyp·o·crite /ˈhipəˌkrit/ a bunch of them, in Tarrytown. Use this lightbuld, drive this car, put this much air in your tires, go solar, hold hands and save the planet (oh, but by the way, it's okay to build an energy consuming 8,000 Sq. ft. house). sshhhh... So funny how Tarrytown officials push their agenda, but there is always room for exceptions. You really think someone would buy that house? Probably would be a tax write off anyway.
Bjorn Olsson April 24, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Interestingly, one of the things Tarrytown at least used to be famous for was that it once contained as many a 65 large mansions, like Lyndhurst, Tappan Hill, The Castle, Kykuit, The Cedars (American Booksellers Association). The village was known as "The Millionaires Colony" back then.
Rob DeRocker April 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Gotta say, anyone who attended that Planning Board meeting last night would have a hard time not being impressed by -- and even proud of - those members. There are major infrastructure developments the developer is required by the findings to put in before they can move another inch of dirt for their ginormous houses -- for one, a workable soccer field where a four-year-old wouldn't be in danger of drowning, as the board chair put it. The Planning Board appears set to hold them to the deal they signed onto, and never was that more clear than last night. Watch the video of the meeting when it comes out and see if you agree.
Krista Madsen (Editor) April 24, 2012 at 06:04 PM
I think the problem with a McMansion is they aren't so nice.
Living in Tarrytown May 23, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Here a WALL there a WALL I want to know WHO will take care of these WALLS after their built? (check out the ones on County house road) No access to the field? Who is paying the expense to repair, remove fallen tree's and trees still standing, and do new grading on the path to get to this New soccer field, (The kids from Hackley managed to hike through the woods, and through the hole in the fence for years,) I guess Tarrytown will have to purchase a 4 runner for ambulance duty, to bring someone off the field to the parking lot at the skate shack, Where the ambulance is waiting. Their has Never been safe access to the back field or Lake, Dosen't Tarrytown remember when there fire truck was stuck in the snow and ice, during a possible rescue back in (97?) The truck went off the access road up over the path..
Living in Tarrytown May 23, 2012 at 01:50 PM
ALSO......Talking about Danger in the Soccer field..... There is Not Only the water from the new catch bassins, How about the Marsh land before the lakes,the access to the lakes itself. the ticks from the deer, rats and birds..coyote's, Dogs off leash,. and Let's not forget our huge snapping turttles that are out and about now, spring time, (soccer time) traveling up to HIGHER grounds to lay their eggs, especially now. The Police already have their hands full of the EF student's partying down in the field, as well as other's....But let's open it to the public with our signs that say, closed after dusk, Keep your children away from the water, and check for ticks! Don't feed or go near the wild life. (these are only common sense to most parents) My thoughts..... Build a Safe Soccer Field in a SAFE Zone like our baseball fields are, Not out in the middle of the woods and lake side., How about in the GM parking lot, or in Neperhan Park... (JUST Saying) After Toll Brother's is gone, How much will this cost the Village to Maintain each season


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