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New Castle Planning Board, Architectural Review Seek Shorter Conifer Plan

Conifer architect Steve Schoch presented the latest affordable housing concept to two New Castle boards Tuesday night.
Conifer architect Steve Schoch presented the latest affordable housing concept to two New Castle boards Tuesday night. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Conifer Realty presented its latest vision for 54 Hunts Place to the New Castle Planning Board and New Castle Architectural Review Board Tuesday night, and based off the feedback, it seems likely it won't be its last.

While Conifer had presented the latest rendition to the Town Board in April to generally positive feedback , the response from the boards on Tuesday night were sung to a different tune.

“I still think it’s too high,” said Planning Board Chair Richard Brownell, who was unimpressed with the building’s 46-foot maximum height.

Though Conifer’s latest rendition is down to 28 apartment units, it still alternates peak heights at both 3-and-4-stories high. However, one of its selling points is that it “establishes a design language that responds to a lot of the things we’ve heard,” according to Steve Schoch, a Kitchen & Associates architect working for Conifer.

“This is a refined design that has residential character,” he said, adding that the intent of the design was to “create an architecture that responds to its location.”

However, members on both boards were not convinced.

“I still think it’s wholly inappropriate for the community,” said ARB member Sara Kaplan.

Kaplan was the first to suggest a preference for an alternative scenario sketch that Conifer made of which showed the most minimal, simple concept the realty company could think of. That concept is one unit all 3 stories high.

“I don’t think it looks so bad,” said Kaplan, responding to Conifer’s assumption that its bare bones model would not be up to snuff aesthetically speaking.

ARM member Robert Schenkel, who went out of his way to say his board would not approve Conifer’s latest model, was also a fan of the smaller, all-3-story concept.

“It has a main street quality to it.”

Schoch, who was surprised by the affinity to a concept his team had not considered a viable option based off of previous feedback, noted the all-3 story concept would be longer at 270 feet, compared to the 220 foot of the most recent proposal.

In addition to seeing the height of the most recent proposal lowered, both boards recommended Conifer to provide a complete visual analysis, which would allow them to see renderings of how the  building would look from multiple vantage points surrounding the property.

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