Approve Demolition


Members of the Sag Harbor Historical Preservation and Architectural Review Board (ARB) have widely debated the guidelines for home demolition in Sag Harbor village, as a demolition project came before the board last week. This Tuesday, at the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) meeting, the issue of demolition was again raised as local architect and ARB member, Michael Mensch, presented a demolition project to the board. Mensch appeared before the board on behalf of his clients, Susan Henriques Payne and Joseph Payne, who seek to replace their existing two-story home on Taft Place with a new two-story home with a second floor deck and an updated septic system.

“There are very good reasons to demolish this house. It is in extremely bad repair, and really cannot be saved,” said Mensch. “It was built in the late 1950s when there were no codes or regulations to be adhered to.”

Mensch went on to say that the home doesn’t meet FEMA regulations and would need to be elevated a few feet. He added that the structure has a substandard and “old-style” leaching pool, instead of an up-to-date septic system. Mensch has already secured a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation permit for the project. The Harbor Committee has also already granted Mensch a wetland permit.

Mensch came before the board seeking a parking variance to allow off street parking near the front yard, instead of the rear yard as required under village code. Mensch said it would be virtually impossible to place the parking on the side or rear of the home, since Rattlesnake Creek runs alongside the rear of the house and borders Barcelona Neck Preserve.

The current structure has an existing enclosed garage, but Mensch hopes to eliminate it to “lighten up the structure and give a view past [the home] to the creek.”

He added that the new parking would be roughly the same size as the existing parking, but would be shifted slightly to the south. The asphalt for the parking spaces will also be replaced with a pervious, and more eco-friendly, material.

In the end, the board approved Mensch’s plans.

“This is about as small [of a project] as you could do with this lot,” said ZBA member Gayle Pickering. “I think you did a good job at keeping the project contained.”

The preceeding application presented by Miles Anderson, for the Amaza Lee Meredith Estate on Walker Avenue and the contract vendee Frederick Richards, for a two story family dwelling was criticized as being too large for the property. Anderson was asked to discuss reducing the size of his project with his clients and return to the next ZBA meeting in April.