I recently met with a local and well-known architect who lives in the Orienta area of Mamaroneck to ask his thoughts regarding pre-purchase, relatively quick feasibility studies and the importance of same when considering the possibility of home expansion or substantial alterations.Clark has held positions on every Land Use Board in the Village of Mamaroneck
(Member of the Zoning Board of Appeals for two terms – 10 years – Chairman for 5; Chairman of the Board of Architectural Review; served on the Planning Board for two terms; and is a current member of the Harbor and Coastal Zone Management Commission) and so Clark was the logical choice when thinking of a local architect.
Whenever I need to ask someone about a feasibility study for a potential home renovation project of any size, I immediately think of Clark because he is so well respected and forthright.
Clark lamented that too many times, a potential buyer will first purchase a home, allowing emotion to take over and thinking that it will be easy to obtain a zoning variance, should one be required to execute a desired building renovation or alteration project. However, the very first thing they should consider before that purchase is to call an architect and ask about existing zoning controls and requirments and what is permissible for both that specific home, property and the overall area.
Too often people buy homes assuming that it will be easy to have a zoning variance granted for a renovation or improvement.
Not necessarily so.. It is always best to first have a feasibility study conducted, to help evaluate and analyze the potential of the project and to basically offer comfort to the decision makers.
A Zoning Board of Appeals will always offer a fair hearing regarding a variance request, but outcomes are always unpredictable.
Clark put forth 2 key points that should be of initial concern:
1) zoning, most important.
2) condition of the house.
Clark will render an honest opinion that will hopefully help direct the client in the best direction and in their best interests.
While Clark chooses not do formal home inspections, he does have obvious knowledge about construction as an architect ,and so while the first consideration when thinking in terms of renovation would be zoning, the second should be the condition of the house and property.
Recently, he came across a home that he had viewed for a possible significant expansion and while he felt the overall project was feasible, he also noticed that the home had extensive structural termite damage. All correctible but obviously establishing a higher labor and renovation cost and the buyer then had to determine whether it was worthwhile to follow through on the purchase, etc. based on the overall expense. There can always be unforeseen issues, and so it is wise to conduct due diligence beforehand.
Clark undertakes a great deal of work on behalf of home-owners who perhaps forgot to close-out one or more building permits and are about to sell a home, or after the Title Company discovers an open permit or finds other complicating issues. Since Clark is so knowledeable and knows the members of the various Building Departments so well, he is often the first choice of many area residents, attorneys and agents.
Clark has a great rapport with Building officials as he has a good reputation based on credibility and honesty.
Clark thrives on challenges, especially where he can utilize his creativity and can overcome (sometimes with heroic effort) a seemingly impossible situation.
He always offers an honest and objective opinion and one of Clark’s favorite sayings is “The difficult takes time; the impossible takes a little longer.”
As we were chatting, I couldn’t help but notice a small sign on an end table pertaining to the Hampshire Country Club . Clark was recently interviewed on the Tom Murphy Show (LMCTV) in December, 2012 with regard to his thoughts on same.
While there is nothing official, there has been some discussion by the owners of the club with regard to the possibility of building an apartment building where the club house stands. The issue is that the area is not zoned for residential use, only as a Marine Recreation Zone and home-owners in the Orienta area are concerned as it could set a precedent in the area if certain residential development otherwise not permitted by zoning is allowed.
Area residents love Orienta because of those water views and coastline which the area is reknowned for….
The interview is below – enjoy (Part 1 and Part 2) …
Here is Clark’s contact information should you have any questions:
Clark Neuringer Architect
tel 914 698 8207
fax 914 698 8208
tel 914 698 8207
fax 914 698 8208
Mamaroneck is GREAT!