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Village Considers Axing Architectural Review Board

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – A proposed revision to the village code would mean the end of the architectural review board.

Officials said the architectural review board process can be burdensome if a homeowner or business wants to put up a new sign or fence. Under the proposed revision, trustees would give the building department authority to approve signage and fencing using the standards that are already built into the code. Further changes to a property would mean going before the planning board for approval.

Sleepy Hollow Mayor Ken Wray noted that if a homeowner wanted to do a project on their home, they'd have to go to the planning board. If the project was really extensive, they'd have to go to the zoning board. “Why then make them go to an additional board on top of that?” he asked.

The proposal is part of an overall code revision being conducted by the board of trustees during the past few months.

Trustees said the building department is adequately equipped to deal with standard issues, such as signs and fences because the regulations are already in the code. “The building department is going to have to sign off on it anyway,” Wray said.

Trustees have also suggested adopting certain standard fences so that people could theoretically pick their fence out of a book. If a homeowner wanted a different fence, they could appeal to the planning board.

Resident Daniel Scott disagrees with the proposal. Scott said during a recent public hearing on the code revisions that the function of the architectural review board was different from the zoning and planning boards because it was concerned with ensuring village standards are met.

When it comes to standard things such as fencing or signage, Trustee Bruce Campbell said the board was “a nuisance.” He added, “It's too much bureaucracy for something like that. Streamlining that process will not hamper the village or its appearance.”

Campbell said the planning board could effectively handle issues that the architectural review board would face and suggested that the board could be required to consult with an architect to make sure someone with a background in design was involved.

Trustee Evelyn Stupel said she liked the proposed code revision. “I think this makes sense,” she said.

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