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Feb 14, 2018 11:20 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Historical Consultant Says Mocomanto Proposal Now Falls Within Guidelines

Feb 14, 2018 11:33 AM

Proposed changes to Mocomanto, the nearly 125-year-old Victorian home on Lake Agawam in the estate section of Southampton Village, now fall within local and national guidelines, a historical consultant for the village’s Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation said in his most recent report.

The proposed changes include nearly doubling the size of the home at 472 First Neck Lane by adding a two-story addition to the north, along with a smaller one-story addition. The home is within the village’s historic district, though the structure itself has no official protection as a historic property.

The comments were part of Zachary Studenroth’s third report, which was issued on February 7.

“In summary, the revised and current proposal for an addition to the historic house known as ‘Mocomanto’ is consistent with both local and national standards,” Mr. Studenroth wrote. “Its scale is visually subservient to that of the existing resource; its architectural detailing is harmonious with the historic building; and its design does not replicate but rather bases the proposed work on a prior model which served as an inspiration for the new.”

For nearly a year, neighbors of Mocomanto have expressed strong opposition to homeowner Ken Fox’s plans of nearly doubling the size of his home, which have been presented and fought for by a team of lawyers, architects and historians.

In his report, Mr. Studenroth notes that guidelines in the village code say that additions should be compatible with the character of the existing home, but “should not recreate the past or give a mistaken impression of false antiquity.”

He added: “The architectural detailing of the addition is harmonious with that of the existing house.”

ARB Chairman Curtis Highsmith asked Mr. Studenroth not to comment on his report at an ARB meeting on Monday evening, due to the number of submissions of new information that was presented to the board within five days of Monday night’s meeting.

The submissions included elevation interpretations created by Siamak Samii, a local architect who was hired by opponents of the project, as well as a letter opposing the project, Mr. Studenroth’s report, and new information on the length of the eastern-facing wall, based on surveys from the 1950s.

Because board members were overwhelmed with the new material, they asked speakers to limit their comments to new material, and to avoid rehashing what was already said.

Still, Patrick Fife, an attorney who represents opponents of the project, expressed continued frustration on behalf of his clients. Most notably, he pointed out to board members that the home will be enlarged by 79 percent. Mr. Samii also expressed concern over the increase in size, saying it will create a large wall along Lake Agawam.

Mr. Highsmith and the other three board members all noted that they need more time to review all of the new material. They are expected to reconvene on February 26 at 7 p.m.

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