Dozens of residents showed up at Community Board 8’s Land Use meeting on Monday night to voice their concerns over a proposal being presented to build three houses in Fieldston.
They fear Indian Pond will be destroyed if the plan, which includes cutting down as many as 50 trees to build three houses and three driveways, is approved.
Three brothers — Matthew, Edward and Marshall Bloomfield — own 4680 Fieldston Road. Their 1.3-acre piece of land is occupied by a Tudor house, built in 1918 and surrounded by a small forest of trees and bushes between Fieldston Road, Indian Road and Livingston Avenue. Indian Pond sits directly behind the lot. The proposed houses include three smaller houses ranging from 3,600 square-feet to 4,900 square-feet around the existing Tudor.
“It’s an oasis of green in a concrete area. So many people enjoy that pond and it’s going to be disturbed ecologically in so many ways,” Dan Kobal, a Fieldston resident, said.
Ron Odrich agreed.
“Any kind of construction is going to destroy the pond,” he said.
Mr. Odrich said he compiled a list of at least 20 studies that need to be conducted before any work takes place. He was especially concerned with how the construction period, which could be as long as eight years, would affect the pond and the Bloomfield family's decision to stick with the project and not sell it to developers.
The Fieldston Property Owners Association has hired Christopher Rizzo, an attorney specializing in environmental and land use law from Carter Ledyard and Milburn, to represent them in the matter. He was also present and spoke at Monday’s meeting.
One of the major concerns of many residents was runoff that would affect the pond.
The lawyer representing the Bloomfields said they would hire an environmental engineering firm to look at the issues being raised by the community.
As far as residents’ contention that the project would simply place too many houses on a small property, the planners said the proposed new density was no different than other lots in Fieldston.
The architect in charge of the project, Harry Kendall of BKSK Architects, said the land currently has only 6 percent lot coverage. The proposal would bring the lot coverage up to 16.6 percent, which he said is the average lot coverage on blocks in Fieldston.
Once Community Board 8 considers the project with input from the community, the plan will go back to City Planning, which will then await approval from the Landmarks Commission. Since Fieldston is landmarked as an historical district, the Landmarks board has to approve all new buildings. If the proposal passes Landmarks, it goes back to City Planning for a public hearing before construction.