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Sleepy Hollow Split on Architectural Review Board

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – Some residents say Sleepy Hollow's Architectural Review Board is needed to preserve the village's historic image and some trustees say the process is too cumbersome on homeowners.

The debate over the architectural review board continued during a recent board of trustees meeting.

“My understanding is that there would be changes to the architectural review board, which in some regards would be beneficial to a homeowner in Sleepy Hollow like myself to not have as many hoops to jump through in trying to renovate my home,” resident Kristen Idalski said.

Village board members have proposed eliminating the architectural review board as part of its village code revisions. Trustees have proposed that the planning board could handle most of the architectural review board's duties and getting rid of the board would help streamline the renovation process for homeowners.

Some residents feel the architectural review board has specific responsibilities that should be preserved to help keep the village's overall image.

Idalski said she liked the idea about streamlining the process but was concerned how it would affect the downtown area. Idalski proposed having “a smaller committee or group of individuals that would focus specifically on downtown—awnings and signage—to make sure the village retains its historical look.”

“We promote ourselves as a historical place yet in that same token we have a lot of buildings with neon signs,” she said.

Sleepy Hollow Mayor Ken Wray said during another recent board of trustees meeting that he had been persuaded to keep the architectural review board by outspoken residents.

“There's some merit to some of those arguments,” he said.

Wray proposed keeping the architectural review board and making it into a three-person board with the head of the building department serving as chairperson.

Trustee Bruce Campbell said he was “surprised” by Wray's change of mind.

“It's duplicating services,” he said. “It's not streamlining it at all.”

Resident Shelly Robinson told trustees that she was “very pleased to hear the mayor speak out in favor” of keeping the architectural review board.

“It's very encouraging for us to know you're listening,” she said.

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