About a dozen residents filled the Village of Plandome Board of Trustees meeting audience Monday night to discuss proposed zoning code changes.
Originally discussed at the February meeting, the proposed changes include reducing the allowable gross floor area and the floor area ratio for new homes in the village.
Mayor M. Lloyd Williams said the changes were spurred by constant complaints from residents that houses in the village were being built larger and larger, some as large as legally allowed on the property.
Trustee Andrew Bartels said he worked alongside Trustee Katie Saville, who was absent from the hearing, as well as the village’s zoning board, zoning appeals board and design review board members on the changes posted to the village’s website.
“The current zoning code has in each of these three tiers for the gross floor area and the floor area ratio, and the formulas are complex,” Bartels said. “We felt it would be important to simplify it into one formula and to lower the maximum of the gross floor area in each district.”
The village is divided into four districts, and the gross floor area reduction for each district would be about 25 percent, Bartels said.
In the proposed changes, the maximum gross floor area in each district would be reduced — from 10,000 square feet to 8,000 in District A, from 8,640 to 6,500 in District B, from 7,200 to 5,500 in District C and from 6,200 to 4,700 in District D.
If the proposed changes were in effect today, approximately 15 village homes would have been affected.
In District A, 10 homes are between 8,000 and 10,000 square feet and the other 104 homes in the district are less than 8,000 square feet. The current average gross floor area is 4,662 square feet.
In District B, two homes are currently larger than 6,500 square feet but smaller than the current 8,640-square-foot requirement and both homes — 25 West Drive and 57 North Drive — would be grandfathered in because of age, Bartels said. The current average gross floor area is 4,012 square feet.
District C is the largest district in the village with 212 homes, but only five — 55 Plymouth Drive, 65 Plymouth Drive, 152 Plymouth Drive, 142 Plymouth Drive and 132 Plymouth Drive — exceed the proposed 5,500-square-foot amendment and could all be moved to District A under the proposed changes. The current average gross floor area is 3,442 square feet.
In District D, no homes exceed the current or proposed maximum gross floor area measurements and all are less than 4,000 square feet. The current average gross floor area is 2,397 square feet.
In all districts, the formulas to calculate floor area ratio have been replaced with a simple figure per district. In District A, maximum floor area ratio would be .31; in District B, the ratio would be .32; in District C, the ratio would be .34; in District D, it would be .35.
Residents, however, voiced their concerns that the proposed regulations would negatively affect their property values at the March meeting and again Monday night.
Douglas Elliman real estate broker Connie Liappas said the system, which would change from a three-tier system to a single tier for each district, would cost some homeowners up to $750,000 — about $480 a square foot — in lost property values if the houses were required to be 25 percent smaller.
“I feel you will be losing value per property,” Liappas said. “That is my educated opinion. I think it’s important that these beautiful, grand homes stay large and important properties.”
Bartels said many residents’ comments since the February meeting have requested a two-tier system, with different requirements for a lot less than half an acre and more than half an acre, for example.
When Bartels polled the audience, no resident agreed that the zoning code needed to be updated and half of the dozen in attendance said they would prefer a two-tiered system.
Bartels said the proposed zoning changes would be reviewed and amended before the June 11 meeting, but no vote to approve is planned for the next meeting.