Board questions size of carriage house proposed for Bancroft site

Oct 8, 2020

CHAGRIN FALLS — While village Architectural Review Board members indicated they did not oppose demolition of an existing garage on the historical Bancroft house property, their Tuesday morning vote to OK the move was put on hold pending approval of the structure which would take its place.

It is a village requirement for all demolition requests, village Building and Zoning Inspector Harry Edwards said during the virtual ARB meeting attended by the new property owner Frank Gallucci and architect Michael Caito.

The sticking point for all three ARB voting members – Wendy Naylor, William Childs and Chairman Dr. Steven King – was the size of the replacement building.

The proposed double-decker, four-car carriage house with a basement recreation room would be connected to the historic East Summit Street home by a two-story breezeway, according to the presented plan.

Mrs. Naylor said, “I am not averse to demolition, but the addition is too big and appears secondary to the original house. A four-car garage is very large.”

Dr. King and Mr. Childs agreed a “scaled down” addition was preferable because it blocks the eastern view of the original home.

Mrs. Naylor also suggested the cupola on the new structure be removed to lessen the appearance of “twining” the original house. Dr. King noted the cupola detracts from the original home’s iconic turret.

Mr. Childs noted that the architectural drawings and elevations were “beautiful, but we need AutoCAD (computer aided design) renderings to see what it will really look like.”

He added that the exterior breezeway entry door appeared “more important” than the main entrance of the home. While the board does not dictate interior functioning of the home, he suggested that the kitchen be relocated closer to the garage entrance.

Neither Mr. Gallucci nor Mr. Caito were opposed to the board’s suggestions and agreed the size of the new carriage house could be condensed.

“I currently carry groceries up a flight of stairs so this is not a problem,” Mr. Gallucci noted. He added the kitchen in the center of the home made it a focus of his family’s life.

“We don’t want you to make the house a museum and are glad you intend to live in the house and not in the breezeway,” board adviser George Clemens quipped.

Mr. Caito said the plan was a work in progress and he and Mr. Gallucci intended to take all comments into consideration.

Mr. Childs suggested the project include a civil engineer and geological experts who will work with the village “so you have a good solid team behind you.” They are already onboard, Mr. Caito said.

The meeting closed with ARB unanimously agreeing the plans be revised and resubmitted as per the suggestions made earlier in the session.

The Bancroft property which sits atop Grove Hill at North Main and Summit streets had been the object of a Save Grove Hill neighborhood campaign last winter when the then owner proposed to demolish the house, rework the hill and build a condominium development.

The Western Reserve Land Conservancy got involved and together with the neighborhood group mounted a campaign to raise well over $600,000 to buy the property from the developer.

The campaign went down to the May deadline for fundraising but was successful and permitted the conservancy to take temporary ownership and serve as holding company until it could find a buyer who would agree to restore the Bancroft home and northern portion of the property.

The West Cottage Street side of the property was transferred to the village and a committee has been formed to produce plans for a new village park.

Its first meeting has not yet been announced. Members recently named to the committee include representatives from Village Council, the neighborhood group, village parks commission members and land conservancy representatives.

“Board questions size of carriage house proposed for Bancroft site”. Chagrin Valley Times. Retrieved October 16, 2020.

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