Trustee O’Neill: “I don’t want to see this project proceed unless the following can be guaranteed”

Following the residents' reaction to the Richardson House project presentation on BOT meeting, January 18th, 2022, Trustee Patricia O'Neil addressed the public during the February's BOT meeting. Trustee O'Neil, who resides on Circle Drive, conditioned her support of the project on the following:

  • "Parking. That the staff parking and parking for residents visiting the village hall is convenient, off the street behind the building and not blocking pedestrian path to the train platform" - The Board has yet to present a parking enforcement plan to the public

  • "Prohibit curbside or the use of the driveway for any commuter drop off and pickup" - The Board has yet to presented legislation to address this concern

  • "The use of technology such as cameras, smart phone scans, fobs as well as physical devices such as an access gate, signage and code enforcement are just ideas that must be well thought out and incorporated into the development of the project and its must be enforced" - The Board has yet to provide details on the technology that will be used, the cost and the methods of enforcement

In her statement to the public, Trustee O'Neil also addressed her requirement to see that the building would be landmarked:

  • "... the building must be landmarked with restrictive covenants to include but not limited to prohibiting parking in front of the building either on the street on the village right of way or on the property. And prohibit any future expansion of the building or any expansion of the hardscape so that we have some guarantee that what is ultimately approved will remain like that forever." - Since the meeting the Board has abandoned their plan to landmark the building in response to the residents' inquiry of the cost of maintaining a landmarked building. No other solution that would prevent a future change to the structure size and character has been presented

  • "... I think it is taken out of the hand of the village. There are strict rules, even if you have to replace the roof or the gutters or anything like that. It guarantees that the building will always remain the same ... the house is a cedar sided building with a cedar roof, so that in the future it will always have a cedar roof. And it will always have cedar siding. So, it's a guarantee that the building will remain like that forever and ever." - Based on the Richardson House inspection dated January 23rd, 2021, the house's cedar roof is nearing its useful life. The Board did not allocate any funds in the proposed renovation budget for a cedar (or any) roof replacement

  • "There should also be a maintenance plan that is committed to for both the building and the grounds." - The Board has not presented a maintenance plan for the proposed new village hall and the 300-year-old structure. A maintenance plan is a perpetual commitment that would drastically change the residents' tax commitment and is currently EXCLUDED from the tax impact analysis


 


Trustee Patricia O'Neil's full statement to the public from the February BOT meeting:


"I know that we are still in the fact-finding mode and still doing research and gathering information. And I hear the concerns from the Circle Drive residents. And it's my obligation to my neighbors in the Circle Drive area to say that I don’t want to see this project proceed unless the following can be guaranteed to our residents. Again, we are still doing research. Nothing has been firmed up yet.


  • Parking. That the staff parking and parking for residents visiting the village hall is convenient, off the street behind the building and not blocking pedestrian path to the train platform

  • Prohibit curbside or the use of the driveway for any commuter drop off and pickup

  • The pedestrian access to the railroad is to be well lit and maintained

  • Prohibit nonresident parking in the circle drive area which will also create a decrease in traffic in the entire area

  • Prohibit those non residents’ access to the railroad via the village hall

  • We should provide and maintain green space play area and benches for the residents to use

  • The use of technology such as cameras, smart phone scans, fobs as well as physical devices such as an access gate, signage and code enforcement are just ideas that must be well thought out and incorporated into the development of the project and its must be enforced

It is not going to be solved tonight but those are important things that definitely need to be addressed and guaranteed


There are other things too that I think about too for example signage identifying the building as the village hall. Again, we are a long way from this, but should not be backlit, non-illuminated and should be residential in its scale and design.


And again, I don’t know if there can be some restrictive covenant that could be attached to the approval of this, that the building must be landmarked with restrictive covenants to include but not limited to prohibiting parking in front of the building either on the street on the village right of way or on the property. And prohibit any future expansion of the building or any expansion of the hardscape so that we have some guarantee that what is ultimately approved will remain like that forever. There should also be a maintenance plan that is committed to for both the building and the grounds."


In response to the mayor's question of the implication of landmarking a building, Trustee O'Neil replies:


"I'm not a landmark expert. But it's my understanding that when a building is landmarked,

any change to the building, any change to the building at all, I think even color, lighting. I think it is taken out of the hand of the village. There are strict rules, even if you have to replace the roof or the gutters or anything like that. It guarantees that the building will always remain the same and that any repairs need to be done in such a way that the materials match and are of the same quality and so on and so forth. Again, the house is a cedar sided building with a cedar roof, so that in the future it will always have a cedar roof. And it will always have cedar siding. So, it's a guarantee that the building will remain like that forever and ever."