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Roycroft site rebuilding plan hits a snag

A step toward securing environmental clearance for the planned reconstruction of the two-story Roycroft Power House hit an unexpected snag last week.
Village trustees were expected to determine the project would not have a significant environmental impact. But an attorney representing the Dylewski family, which owns the Roycroft Antiques shop located behind the fire-ravaged Power House, insisted there were outstanding issues.
In the end, the Village Board tabled any action on the matter.

The back of the Power House building, which burned 11 years ago, is in front of the Dylewskis' building, and an HVAC unit proposed for the back of the Power House could cause problems, said the family's attorney, Michael S. Cerrone.
Cerrone complained that the project could further limit access to the antique store, which already has a narrow driveway. The project also could restrict emergency access and affect snow removal, he said. Plus, a Dylewski family member lives in the store building, and some wondered how difficult it might be to sleep there with sound from the unit.

"This board should look at all the future impacts of this project, [especially] without a master plan in front of you," Cerrone said. "Take that hard look you're required to take."

Christine Peters, executive director of the Roycroft Campus Corp., firmly defended the project and said the RCC is trying to work with the Dylewskis. She also noted that no master plan exists for the campus, although a planning process is in place.

It's hard to say what will ultimately be done with some of the other buildings because the RCC doesn't own all of them.

"We've had this eyesore for 11 years," Peters said, referring to the burned Power House, which would be reconstructed to 95 percent of how it used to look. "We are trying to be good neighbors. We need to work collaboratively in order to accomplish our mission. Once the Power House is rebuilt, it will bring more tourists and to the Dylewskis, as well."

The HVAC unit was to have been in a different corner of the property but had to be relocated due to a stairway. "I'd love to put it in a different location," Peters said, but noted that state historic preservation specialists have specific guidelines and don't want it facing the street. Nor is the RCC in the position of buying an easement from a neighboring property for $75,000.

The Copper Shop, also to be restored, is to become a living-history site where modern-day Roycroft artisans will make furniture, teach crafts to others and give public demonstrations.

The RCC's attorney warned the trustees that if the necessary projects, like the one discussed last week, don't get timely approvals, the project will start getting backed up.


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