Village historic district amended

MANCHESTER VILLAGE - Despite some reservations, three new properties were added to the Equinox Historic District in the Manchester Village during a meeting of the village's board of trustees Monday, Jan. 6.

The 1811 House and two one-acre parcels of land adjacent to the golf course house and the parking lot were added to the Equinox Historic District to better reflect the Equinox Hotel's master plan, said Elizabeth Boepple, the resort's attorney.

Donald Brodie, the chairman of the village's development review board, was present at the meeting and wanted the minutes to reflect that the DRB did not approve of this zoning change. He pointed out that the 1811 House was zoned as B1 business district and the two one-acre parcels near the golf course were zoned as rural residential property.

"The board members noted for a desire for more specific information concerning the development of the property involved, before recommending approval," Brodie said, reading from a statement he brought to the meeting.

Orland Campbell, also a DRB member, said the issue for him was zoning itself. He said a good deal of thought was put into creating these zones and were put in place for specific reasons.

"The feeling that I had was that the golf course, and the golf club and the 1811 House were certainly not contiguous to the Equinox and are they linked in any form of design or any form of cohesiveness to the Equinox building and campus as it currently exists," he said. "I thought it would be a mistake at this point in time to change the zones simply to accommodate, to make everything uniform to the Equinox Historic District."

Boepple said at the meeting, the property is a set up as a campus - not all the property is contiguous to the main hotel. The zoning district is divided by Route 7A and always has been, she said. Adding these properties just creates a more inclusive, campus-wide zone, she said.

"What we're talking about is expansion of the EHD [Equinox Historic District] in order to accommodate planning under one set of bylaws," she said. "Without that, then the hotel, resort property which does in fact include the 1811 House, will have to try and fit any kind of plans into different sections of the zoning bylaws."

Campbell said that he "does not buy" that every time the Equinox Hotel buys property, it should become part of the Equinox Historic District, specifically mentioning the 1811 House.

Brian Knight, president of the trustees, said the matter of the zoning change was brought to the trustees but was never formally an issue of the DRB. Knight said the trustees asked the DRB for their informal opinion on the matter, and never expected they would open up a hearing and issuing a formal opinion.

The zoning issue was discussed by the trustees, he said, and it was approved.

Campbell said the next time the board of trustees wants the opinion of the DRB, they should be invited to a meeting, because otherwise what is discussed at the DRB meeting will be done so in a formal matter.

"It was done in an informal basis, I regret doing it, because it was totally out of hand and misunderstood," Knight said. "It caused a lot of confusion. I have learned my lesson and it won't happen again."


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