By Christine Sampson
After a lengthy restoration project at 22 Rector Street that its owner said “went haywire,” the Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review on January 12 approved two attic dormers that the board members agreed they found less than palatable.
The board also said, though, that it was hesitant to boomerang the problem back to the owner, George Holley, who blamed these two particular dormers – which were not in the approved plans – on a builder who acted independently while he was out of the country for several months.
“This guy was doing whatever he wanted to do,” Dennis Downes, Mr. Holley’s attorney, told the ARB on January 12.
The Sag Harbor Zoning Board of Appeals approved variances for the two extra dormers last May, along with a stern warning to the building community not to stray from approved building plans. Mr. Downes said the delay in bringing the case back to the ARB happened because the homeowner and architect sought building inspections to make sure every other aspect of the plans were in compliance.
Mr. Downes noted the attic’s four other dormers had been approved by the previous members of the ARB, and told the board that Mr. Holley would have to resort to legal action against his builder if he could not obtain approval from the ARB and ultimately get his certificate of occupancy for the home.
However, ARB Chairman Anthony Brandt found himself looking at the bigger picture during the January 12 meeting, noting that “the previous board was very different.”
“They approved something I don’t think we would have approved,” Mr. Brandt said, “but I’m reluctant to put the hardship back on the homeowner.”
He polled the other board members, who expressed their displeasure with the aesthetic of the home’s attic dormers.
“We’re stuck,” Mr. Brandt said. “We’re left to rubber-stamp something that we’re not happy with. . . . Frankly, I don’t know what to do.”
ARB member Bethany Deyermond said she had heard from Mr. Holley’s neighbors that the light coming through the windows on the attic dormers was already too bright, and that the additional dormers were a hardship on them. Mr. Downes said window shades would be installed as a solution.
ARB member John C. Connor said he felt the removal of the two unapproved dormers would create a worse situation.
The board ultimately approved the extra dormers, with Mr. Brandt concluding, “It more than hurts our feelings.”