Village trustees in Roslyn Harbor are mulling legislation that prohibits certain construction materials from being used on new residential homes or for remodeling the exteriors of existing properties if they don't meet certain design and quality standards.
Mayor Louis Badolato last week asked village building inspector Stephen Fellman to create a list of materials Roslyn Harbor should ban. Badolato and trustees plan to discuss the list, which could include vinyl siding and some roofing shingles, during their monthly meeting on March 26 and perhaps move toward legislation on that day.
Trustees said last week that they’re considering passing a law because they don’t want homes built with subpar materials that will make a home look unsightly years down the road. But the leader of a Long Island builder's association said he believes trustees are overstepping their bounds.
“This is not saying you can’t do to your house what your vision is for your house,” Badolato said. “What we’re saying is, if you want to build a Victorian or if you want to build a Federal-period Colonial or you want to build a modern house, you can do that — but you have to use the right materials.”
If the village passes a law, the do-not-use list will appear on building permit applications, said Deputy Mayor Sandy Quentzel.
In villages across Nassau County, the task of approving a home’s aesthetics falls under an architectural review board. Roslyn Harbor doesn’t have such a board, and trustees said they have no interest in creating one.
The village does have a planning board whose members can review a home’s designs and construction materials, but Village Attorney Peter MacKinnon noted that not all home remodel plans are seen by the planning board.
“If it doesn’t go before the planning board for site plan review, then there’s no control over the materials being used,” MacKinnon said.
Fellman said part of the push for regulating construction material stems from one particular resident. The homeowner came to the village recently with plans to cover the exterior of the home with a synthetic version of stucco that Fellman called a "crummy product.”
“It ends up rotting out beneath the framing [of a home], it comes apart and birds can peck at it,” Fellman said. “We should have a requirement that it’s gotta be real stucco, not the synthetic stuff.”
A decision on the request is pending, Fellman said
Mitchell Pally, CEO of the Long Island Builders Institute, said no municipality — including Roslyn Harbor —should get to dictate what residents can use on their homes. Different homeowners use different materials for their own reasons, but "that's not what government should be concerned about," Pally said.
"This is a reasonably well-off community, and they're just trying to impose what they believe is good appearance on everybody else," Pally said about Roslyn Harbor. "As long as they're [homeowners] meeting local zoning laws, that's the homeowners' choice as to what they want to use."
Will they stay or will they go?
Roslyn Harbor officials haven't finished a draft list of construction materials that may be prohibited, but the village's building inspector said potential contenders include:
Most kinds of synthetic stucco
Certain kinds of vinyl siding
Some types of asphalt roofing shingles