Despite the developer’s announcement it would preserve the home at the center of a local development controversy, Preserve Larchmont says that is not the case.
“The developer who owns 40 Ocean Avenue did an about-face at the (most recent) Larchmont Planning Board, and declined to withdraw or amend its application to demolish the historic house, known as ‘The Orchard,'” the group said in a statement.
40 Ocean Properties, LLC instead stood by the proposed demolition of “The Orchard” and the four-lot development proposal indicating that the relocation of the house was simply an alternative option, not the proposed plan.
The long-standing position of Preserve Larchmont is that the historical house and many of the significant old growth trees located on the property should be preserved, and that other options are available. The developer’s proposal contemplates chopping down approximately 27 trees.
“We would like the Village to consider other alternatives as it proceeds with the Environmental Impact Study, alternatives that respect our local ordinances regarding tree preservation, guarantee preservation of the historic house and reduce the scale of the proposed development to something more in context with the surroundings,” says Kelly Brock, President of Preserve Larchmont.
According to the group, moving the large, stone-foundation house could “end badly and be a backdoor demolition plan.”
In April, the Larchmont Planning Board determined that the developer’s plan to demolish the house to make way for a 4-lot subdivision and 4 new houses could have a significant impact on an important historical resource and required the developer to prepare a full Environmental Impact Statement.
On May 15 the Planning Board began considering how to proceed with scheduling all phases of the Environmental Impact Statement, including when to issue their Positive Declaration and setting up a framework for public comments.
I completely understand the motivation to preserve this and other gorgeous homes & properties in Larchmont; it is indeed part of the community’s charm. However, attempts to regulate housing development will ultimately undermine any long term “preserve Larchmont” goals; restricting new housing and protecting older, grander homes from demolition will only further raise land values, thereby artificially inflating an already heady market!
You can’t have a free market in private property apply to the village’s current homeowners, while trying to make the market in new housing public.