Board Approves Flat Roof Designs For Two Wellington Estates

Wellington’s Architectural Review Board approved the design of two homes with unusual, contemporary-style flat roofs on Wednesday, May 18.

Both of the homes — 16754 Norris Road and 15565 Sunset Lane — had been discussed by the board before. In March, the board tabled a decision on the Norris Road project after board members offered suggestions for ways to improve the design. The Sunset Lane home was discussed at the April meeting, but it was not approved. While a majority of the four board members present liked the design, that was not enough to grant approval, which with only four board members present required a unanimous vote.

Regarding the Norris Road property, located in the Rustic Ranches neighborhood, after being postponed in March, the applicant submitted a revised plan taking the board’s concerns into account. These included a third roof plane, additional design elements and articulation of the rear elevation.

According to the property owners, their goal was to create a modern, tropical look that combines indoor and outdoor living space. The new design is less boxy with more design elements.

Board members were generally pleased with the changes made to the project.

“I think the design is much improved, on both elevations, the front and the rear,” Board Member Miguel Alonso said.

However, not all board members were sold on the idea of flat roofs in Wellington.

“We have to be very careful. These houses may be on a 10-acre plot of land, hidden, but what happens when it is in a more congested area?” Board Member Dayna Bertola asked. “I have nothing against flat roofs. I think all these homes are beautiful, but they are not to code. Until the code catches up, we can’t just pick and choose.”

Village Attorney Laurie Cohen said that each of the petitions should be judged on their own merits. “There is nothing you are doing in this hearing that would set a precedent for a different property under different circumstances,” she said.

The Norris Road design was approved 6-1 with Bertola dissenting.

Switching to the home on Sunset Lane, located in the Palm Beach Point neighborhood, its design was supported by three of the four members attending the April meeting, with Bertola dissenting. Since an absolute majority of the seven-member board must approve all petitions, the application was neither approved, nor denied.

A motion was made at the start of the meeting to add a reconsideration of the Sunset Lane project to the agenda, which was approved. Several board members also reported that they had been in communication with representatives of the Sunset Lane property owners but that it would not affect their decision making.

As discussed in April, the 10.66-acre vacant property is owned by Marigold Farms LLC. The flat roof design carries throughout the project, both in the main residence, as well as a barn, covered arena and maintenance building. It is located in the Equestrian Overlay Zoning District.

Like Norris Road, the estate is proposed for a tropical modern design using mostly earth tones. The design does not include a parapet wall to screen the flat root, which was recommended by village staff. Aside from that and several other conditions, village staff recommended approval of the design.

A letter was provided from the Palm Beach Point Property Owners’ Association in support of the project.

Architect Annie Carruthers of Insite Design Group spoke on behalf of the applicant.

“The design is modern but intended to be very organic to fit into the landscape,” she said. “All of these elements are quintessential mid-century modern, a traditional style that employs a flat roof.”

Carruthers noted that the house it set back 209 feet from the property line and will be heavily landscaped and gated. “It couldn’t be more private and difficult to see by the public,” she said.

Carruthers said that no equipment would be on the roof, which will be white in color. She questioned the need for a parapet, saying that it would make the home look more commercial. “It loses its elegance,” she said. “We are requesting approval as designed.”

Bertola was again critical of the project. “Prior to purchasing this property, did the owner look up the codes?” she asked. “People are not doing their due diligence, and we are going to keep getting this recurring problem.”

Carruthers said they did know that the design would need special approval. “We do understand that it is a deviation, but we do believe that this is why the [Architectural Review Board] exists.”

Board Member Ryan Mishkin supported the architect regarding the parapet. “I don’t think it’s particularly necessary,” he said.

A motion to approve the flat roof for Sunset Lane, as designed without the parapet, passed 6-1 with Bertola again dissenting.

In other business:

• The board approved an existing window covering for Prestige Italia on Fairlane Farms Road in Commerce Park East. The company was cited in February for having window coverings on more than 50 percent of its windows. Staff suggested a compromise of removing just 25 percent and leaving 75 percent covered with its logo and text covering no more than 50 percent.

Benjamin White from Prestige Italia explained that the company makes high-end horse saddles, and the white UV film on the windows protects the expensive leather goods inside. “The most important thing is the protection of the leather goods,” he said.

He noted that the goal of the window covering is not primarily to advertise the business. While the board considered approving staff’s recommendation, in the end, they decided that given its location in a low-traffic, flex zoning area, leaving as is would not create an eyesore.

The board agreed to leave the protective window coverings as is by a vote of 5-2.

• The board unanimously approved a new color palette for the Palm Court at Wellington multi-family community. The proposal was to update the exterior colors for the six multi-family buildings at 711 Forest Club Drive. Dating from 1987, there are a total of 120 units. The new design is more modern with earth tone colors.