NEW CASTLE – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton have been renovating a house they bought next to their Chappaqua residence without several required local permits, according to building department records.
An in-ground swimming pool at 33 Old House Lane — the 3,631-square-foot, ranch-style house the Clintons bought for $1.16 million in August — had been back-filled and covered with gravel, according to an October report from town Building Inspector William Maskiell.
Maskiell, who said he visited the home Oct. 5, after the department received a complaint about excavation done there, said as he headed to the basement to talk to the contractor, he noticed the kitchen, floors and walls appeared to have been recently renovated and new electrical fixtures were being installed in the ceiling. The person who complained was not identified.
Maskiell said he told the contractor that permits were required.
“During conversation I was told that the owners wanted to have all work done and finished by Thanksgiving and were quite adamant about it and what had started as a paint job turned into this,” Maskiell’s Oct. 17 inspection report said.
A Clinton spokesperson did not return requests for comment.
Maskiell said in an interview that sometimes homeowners come in to file for a permit, but the majority of the time it is either an architect or contractor.
“The homeowners have to sign the applications because it’s their property,” Maskiell said. “If you own the house, you’re responsible on everything that goes on with that house.”
The major outstanding permits at 33 Old House Lane are for the filling-in of the pool and the home renovation, he said.
Maskiell said while it’s conceivable the previous owner of 33 Old House Lane could have made some changes there, “the work I saw, at least 90 percent or 95 percent that I saw I can honestly say (was) being done now.”
Permit issues that continue to go unaddressed can lead to fines against a homeowner and/or a contractor, he said.
The Journal News/lohud obtained the building department records through a state Freedom of Information Law request.
Among the documents needed at the 33 Old House Lane property are a demolition permit for the pool, a permit for the house renovations, and certification that the material used to fill the pool is not from a contaminated source. There have been reports that 33 Old House Lane would be a getaway home for the Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea, and her family.
At 15 Old House Lane, a home at the end of a cul-de-sac where the Clintons have lived on and off since buying it for $1.7 million in 1999, Maskiell wrote that “during a standard records search and follow-up conversations” there were some outstanding permits there as well. That includes an electrical inspection at a library/gym, and a sprinkler sign-off by an engineer and the town water department, according to the building inspector’s October reports.
Also, three variances from zoning regulations for the guard house and the height of a fence have expired, the records indicate. Maskiell said that under such a variance, a person must re-appear before the zoning board every five years to attest that nothing has changed and the need for the variance is the same.
It is not the first instance of the home of a political figure having building permit issues in the area. In 2014, Sandra Lee, who hosts several Food Network shows, had renovations done at the home, which she shares with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, without building permits. The residence is on Bittersweet Lane in New Castle.
Even as Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump range across the country looking to seal the deal with voters on Nov. 8, they’ve had their local moments back in Westchester County, where the two own homes some five miles apart in affluent New York City suburbs.