A plan by St. Andrew Catholic Church to erect a new building to house religious education, meetings and other functions was met with resistance last week from Sag Harbor’s Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review.
Issues of both preservation and architectural style came into play after architect William Laverty explained the new structure is proposed as a modern, 68-foot-long, 35-foot-wide building with one long, glass side, situated along a retaining wall and extending farther south. It would have replaced a one-and-a-half story structure — which some called a two-car garage and others a carriage house — that currently stands on the property.
“We thought that glass would open it up a lot,” Mr. Laverty said, comparing the St. Andrew proposal to the John Jermain Memorial Library’s new wing. “I thought it was really neat the way [the library] introduced the glass.”
However, the board’s historic preservation consultant, Zach Studenroth, pointed out the “carriage house” is actually a contributing house on the village’s historic survey, and suggested the new structure’s style would not fit in with the character of the neighborhood. The historic survey notes the current structure’s “novelty siding and jerkin-headed gabled roof” built in approximately 1910.
“I am wondering what sensitivity to the adjoining historical buildings is going to be,” Mr. Studenroth said. He suggested “all of this kind of has to be inventoried” before the HPARB can approve plans.
Board member Bethany Deyermond recalled the village code section that prohibits demolition of historic structures.
“That building has to stay,” Ms. Deyermond said, and suggested Mr. Laverty work up a plan to refit the existing building to the church’s needs.
Board member Dean Gomolka questioned whether the church could usurp some of the parking area to build a new, separate structure, but Mr. Laverty said the church was required to retain all of its spaces.
“They’re kind of stuck in the property,” he said.
Board member Val Florio said the proposed building had a busy, commercial feel. “It’s quite tall and I think that the scale of this in relation to the existing buildings is overwhelming,” he said.
Mr. Laverty said during the meeting the board’s points were “well taken” and said he thought the church could still accomplish its goals.
“We’re going to take the comments, come up with a design, and revisit it with the church, maybe use the same profile that’s along Sage Street and match it to what’s on our campus right now,” Mr. Laverty said by phone on Wednesday.