On Monday evening, September 11th 2017, The Board of Architectural Review abruptly denied approval for a solar panel installation at 23 Shawnee Road due to a highly subjective, aesthetic decision. The Board, who unanimously approved both the design and landscape plans of this new construction by Healthy Home Builders, LLC, was swayed by one attendee’s obvious, prearranged request for denial. This was based on one personal grievance and endorsed by a new, alternate board member who by rights should have known to recuse himself as a biased homeowner within close proximity. Healthy Home Builders and other hearing attendees were blindsided by what should have been a no-contest decision. Healthy Home Builders was unfairly challenged, and punished based on what can only be classified as short-sightedness and irresponsibility.
The installation of solar panels, now commonplace, benefits not only the home owners but also the entire community. Once installed, low-profile solar panels blend into the architectural lines of the home – far more attractive than the power poles, transformers and wires that obstruct Shawnee Road’s appeal now. Not to mention the benefits that include an offset of 50% of the home’s annual electrical usage and reduced strain on an already antiquated power grid.
The home building industry dictates that newly built homes maximize every possible square inch of space on the available lot in order to be economically viable for the builder as well as appealing to buyers. Just ask any local realtor. Healthy Home Builders is the only builder in Scarsdale looking to proactively mitigate this by significantly decreasing their home’s carbon footprint. Solar is a huge factor in that equation. Large homes are going to be built on lots this size in the Village of Scarsdale under the current laws and building codes. Isn’t it in our best interest to make the home as energy efficient as possible?
Based on the above photographs and rendering of the proposed solar collectors, ask yourself this: Does this truly have a negative effect on the property values in the neighborhood? Or, does it show a more responsible, desirable place to live for generations to come?
We ask the residents of Scarsdale to weigh in on this important debate. Do opinions and aesthetics trump the benefits of responsible building practices and clean energy for future generations? The injustice that took place at the most recent hearing, for no other reason than personal satisfaction, is appalling. It’s time this Board take into consideration what’s right for the neighborhoods at stake. Consider its current and future residents, and make sound decisions that move us forward while upholding the true values that make Scarsdale a desirable community.