By Christine Simek
On June 28, the Village of Cold Spring Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) held a continued public hearing to consider the application of Butterfield Library, 10 Morris Ave., to build a one-story, custom-made shed structure in its rear yard. The proposal requires a 7-foot variance of Section 134-7(C)(5) of the Village Code; one that would allow the library to erect the shed 3 feet from the edge of its property line as opposed to the required minimum of 10 feet.
Gillian Thorpe, director of the library, said that the placement of the 8-by-12-foot shed, which would be used solely for storage, would make it as inconspicuous to neighbors as possible. The design is for a plain, pitched-roof structure without windows. It would be tucked between trees next to an existing neighbor’s shed and painted dark green or dark brown to further help it blend in with its surroundings.
The shed is needed to house equipment and tools usually stored in the basement while renovations are made to the lower level of the library. “It’s not something we foresee as being permanent,” Thorpe said. She indicated that the shed will be erected on compacted Item4 (a mix of gravel rock), not concrete, and will sit on blocks. “The reality of it is that when people put one of these things up, they don’t take them down,” clarified Don MacDonald, ZBA chair.
Public discussion was brief and favorable. Thorpe said that several neighbors of Butterfield Library including Katherine Adams of Fishkill Avenue and Jean Roberts of Morris Avenue, were contacted by the library and are supportive of the project. All neighbors were sent notice by certified mail; no responses were recorded.
Carol Filmanski, another resident of Fishkill Avenue, voiced her support of the project as well. “I’m in favor of the shed,” she said. “I love living near the library. It’s a vibrant place and I think the shed over in the side yard is great. I understand the need for a shed. It’s fine with me.”
On the topic of this and analogous shed construction in the Village, MacDonald said, “to us, what the neighbors say counts huge, and so if neighbors complain … we would ask more questions. [We want to] see if we can make everyone happy.”
Before a formal vote can be taken, the ZBA is required to refer all applications to the Planning Board for their opinion, but a straw pole indicated that the variance, which would be exclusive to the life of this shed only, would be unanimously approved.
At its July 3 meeting planning board members expressed surprise at the size of the shed and what they believed was its ordinary design. In developing their advisory opinion they stressed they did not have a problem as along as it was temporary. The Historic District Review Board will also have to pass judgement on the design of the shed as the library is with in the historic district of the village.
Photo by M. Mell