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Keep Architectural Review Board, Residents Say

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – A proposed village code revision which would get rid of Sleepy Hollow's Architectural Review Board doesn't sit well with some residents who say it plays a vital function within the community.

“To throw the baby out with the bathwater would be a terrible mistake,” Mark Fry said.

Village officials have tentatively proposed eliminating the Architectural Review Board in favor of the Building Department and the Planning Board so that the process can be streamlined. Officials say the change would mean less hassle for property owners.

Under the revision and trustees' proposals, the Building Department would handle minor things such as fence or signage styles, which are already specified in the village code. The Planning Board would be responsible for other property changes.

The proposed changes are part of continuing efforts to revise and update the entire village code. The village board has been holding public hearings on proposed changes to solicit community input. There will be another set of public hearings once proposed changes have been finalized and the board is ready to vote on the new code.

Catherine McKinley said she thinks the Architectural Review Board is “a very important safety net.” There's a reason for it,” she said, noting that the board helps maintain the look and feel of the village.

The Architectural Review Board can be a great asset to the community, Fry said, because it gives buildings a continuing sense of values and heritage.

The buildings in the village “have been here long before we were born and they'll be here long after we're gone,” Mark Fry said. “Our only responsibility is to husband them well” for the next generation.

The village has yet to give residents a good reason for eliminating the Architectural Review Board, Daniel Scott said. Scott said the board should fine tune the code instead of getting rid of it altogether. “It's taking a meat cleaver and being a butcher where a surgeon is needed,” he said.

Cynthia Sandler said the Architectural Review Board would be especially needed with the coming of a new real estate development on the old General Motors site. The village, she said, should have a say in the design particulars.

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