The focal point of an anti-development movement in the village is facing the prospect of being demolished once again, even despite the passage of stricter zoning and planning laws meant to slow the progression of residential development in Larchmont.
A century-old property on Ocean Avenue in the village of Larchmont was the subject of a special meeting of the village Planning Board last week, after a new application was filed by owners of the property, KOSL Building, who intend to raze the structure and 27 trees.
No vote was held, however, on whether to allow the special permit for demolition after one board member was unable to attend the meeting.
According to Sarah Bauer, a candidate for village trustee and historic preservation advocate, the four Planning Board members in attendance were divided over whether to grant the permit.
While an original plan—which was retracted after a prolonged moratorium—would have demolished the on-site structures and subdivided the property into four separate buildings it’s not clear that KOSL will pursue the same plan, first telling the Planning Board that they would leave the lot empty, only to later admit that they may sell the property.
The private 40 Ocean Ave. residence, which has existed on the property for 122 years, sparked a full-on movement in 2016 when residents protested its potential demolition in droves.
Subsequently, the village Board of Trustees and land use boards, with the help of a hired consultant, passed the moratorium on residential development and undertook a holistic revamp of its zoning and planning laws that were eventually passed last year.
A residential advocacy group, Preserve Larchmont, which helped to spearhead a movement to blockade what they felt was a trend of overdevelopment in the village, is arguing that the demolition should trigger a positive declaration under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, SEQR.
“The developers should be forced to provide alternatives to save the house before demolition is even considered,” the group said in a statement. “Our village leaders must require this mitigation effort be evaluated.”
After the postponement of a decision by the Planning Board on the issue, a new meeting has been scheduled for March 20 at 7 p.m. in the courtroom of Village Hall. At that meeting, a vote on the permit application for 40 Ocean Ave. is expected to take place.