Mocomanto Owners Revise Already-Approved Expansion Plan In Effort To Appease Neighbors - 27 East

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Mocomanto Owners Revise Already-Approved Expansion Plan In Effort To Appease Neighbors

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Mocomanton in Southampton Village.  DANA SHAW

Mocomanton in Southampton Village. DANA SHAW

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author on Nov 13, 2018

Even though a plan to renovate Mocomanto—a Victorian estate in Southampton Village that abuts Lake Agawam—has already been approved by two village regulatory boards, its owners have decided to submit a different proposal, hoping to appease the concerns of neighbors.

Opponents have said that the approved changes would overwhelm the property and fail to preserve the residence’s architectural features, but they are on board with the revised plan and have agreed to drop a lawsuit challenging the earlier decisions as a result.

For two years, Ken and Ana Fox have tried to restore and expand the 125-year-old home, but their neighbors have fought their efforts, both in Southampton Village Hall and in court.

The Foxes are now asking members of the Zoning Board of Appeals and Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation to amend their previous decisions, earlier this year, which paved the way for the historical home at 472 First Neck Lane to double in size.

The homeowners’ new architect, Arthur Fraser, consulted with neighbors of Mocomanto over the past five months to develop plans that both satisfy the Foxes’ right to make changes to the property and the neighbors’ concerns.

“What is good is that the parties have come up with a solution that works for both of them, so the applicant gets the size of the house that he wants. It’s just constructed in a way that is less problematic for the neighbors,” said John Bennett, the Foxes’ attorney.

As a result, Whitney Stevens, as well as Joyce and Robert J. Giuffra Jr., who have adjacent properties to Mocomanto, have dropped litigation against the ZBA, which approved a variance in February needed to move forward with the renovation.

“These new plans are a much better alternative than the prior plans,” Mr. Whitney said in a letter to the ZBA, calling on board members to approve the proposal.

The proposed ground floor includes a west-facing porch to match an existing wrap-around porch to the south and east. The revised plans also put the second-floor footprint at 22 feet wide and 30 feet deep—a significant change from the approved northerly expansion of 32.5 feet. The proposal also includes a pyramidal roof instead of a flat roof, which Siamak Samii, the neighbors’ architectural consultant, said is more “architecturally pleasing.”

Mr. Samii and architectural historian Jonathan Foster both wrote letters to the ARB in support of the revision.

The ARB will hold a public hearing on November 26 on the revised plans.

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