A plan to raze a Larchmont Manor mansion built in 1896 and develop up to four new homes on four lots on the current property has been met with community outrage and swift local response.
The iconic property at 40 Ocean Avenue in Larchmont, known as “The Orchard,” is the former home to Miriam Curnin, who served as both the Village’s Mayor and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Larchmont Library.
According to public records, the home went to contract October 30, 2015 and sold for $4,999,000.
10 Ocean Avenue is zoned as R-15, or 15,000 square feet for one residence. A variance would not be needed because, according to sources in the Village, the Ocean Ave property is well over 60,000 square feet, so up to four 15,000 square feet lots would easily fit.
Larchmont resident Theresa Viti Finck, who has been working to stop a 4- unit subdivision at 5 Vanderburgh Ave. in Larchmont, writes, “Developers are well funded, well informed and will push our zoning laws to the limit. We need to make a strong showing to our village officials that we expect and will support their vigilance in approving and monitoring construction projects.”
The Vanderburgh property is zoned R-5, and plans are still being discussed for the four new houses there which presently comply with Village Code. (This will be again discussed at the next Planning Board Meeting in the Village Courtroom Dec. 7)
A petition drive begun by the group savelarchmont.org, organized by a committee of residents, reads,
“In the last few years, we have all watched as Developers have targeted Larchmont, tearing down old, single-family homes, subdividing the lot and installing several new Development houses. Decisions like this are ruining the character and charm of Larchmont, and eventually impact the overall value of all homes in our community.”
Save Larchmont has encouraged residents to email or call the Village to say that present Village law is not adequate to protect the Village from over-development.
This week, The Village Board of Trustees responded on the village website, announcing that the Board will begin reviewing Village Code.
“The Village has received many messages from concerned residents about the increase in tear downs and subdivisions in the Village,” the Board writes. “Each application is subject to the jurisdiction of the Village’s independent land use boards, Planning, Architectural Review and, if necessary, the Zoning Board of Appeals…. The Village Board is initiating a review of its Village Code, which includes the local law on zoning, site plan review, demolition and subdivision of land.
Mayor Anne McAndrews told theLoop, “We have engaged a planner for the overall study of the Zoning Code of the Village.” The last comprehensive review was over ten years ago.
The Town of Mamaroneck, a separate jurisdiction, is considering a moratorium on similar projects until further study is done.
A neighborhood meeting for nearby residents Sunday 12/6 at 4:00 at 10 Walnut Ave will be held to discuss the proposed development at 40 Ocean Avenue.