While Scarsdale Village Trustees convened in a meeting room on Monday night to discuss the building process, another drama was unfolding in Village Hall. The Board of Architectural Review was in session and one item on the agenda drew a small crowd of concerned Fox Meadow residents. They were there to voice their views on a home that was renovated at 48 Ogden Road.
Originally a ranch-style house, the home has been remodeled into a Tudor. But one element of the renovation did not comply with the approved plans. The design plans that were reviewed by the BAR included a large arched, mullioned window above the front door. That window was in keeping with the style of the house and approved by the BAR who has jurisdiction over the exteriors of renovations and new homes.
But rather than comply with the approved plans, the residents installed a large stained glass window featuring a blue ribbon, pictured above. Since it deviated from the original plan, the homeowners had to reapply to the BAR for design approval in order to get a certificate of occupancy for the house.The homeowner, Dr. Bayrakdarian, argued that the new window was beautiful, had personal meaning to the family and was very costly. He explained that the design for the window was derived from the emblem for the Ladies Aid Society. Elizabeth Blackwell the first female physician in the United States helped to found the society, which trained nurses during the Civil War and sent supplies to the troops. Bayrakdarian claimed it would cost $35,000 to replace the window and questioned why the Board and his neighbors could rule on matters of personal taste. He submitted photos of other stained glass windows on Tudor homes in Fox Meadow and said that the shape of the window conformed to the original plans. He asked if he could simply install a plate glass window and hang the stained glass window behind it inside the house. Appealing to the audience, he added, “my children are young and we want to live here in harmony with our neighbors.”
This is not the first time neighbors objected to the renovation. At a BAR meeting in March 2011 where plans for the house were vetted, a Fox Meadow woman said the planned house looked like a "faux Tudor" and voiced concerns about the building materials and lack of landscaping to screen the house. She feared the new house would "change the whole feel of the neighborhood."
After considerable discussion on Monday October 15, the BAR members voted on the amended plans and turned them down unanimously. The Bayrakdarian’s now face a choice – they can removed the stained glass window and substitute the window shown in the original plan or file an appeal to overturn the BAR’s decision.