By Christine Sampson
The architects behind the reconstruction of the Sag Harbor Cinema last Thursday assured the Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review that people looking up at the cinema from Main Street would not be able to see anyone or anything atop the proposed third floor roof deck.
In a handful of appearances as a discussion item, the architects fielded questions about the visibility of people, and specifically umbrellas should they be erected for social events, from the street.
Architect Allen Kopelson explained Tuesday that the 28-foot height of the façade, and the depth of five feet, seven inches from the floor of the proposed deck to the height of the façade with an inner railing set even farther back from the façade, would “virtually block any visibility from the terrace.”
Board members seemed satisfied with Mr. Kopelson’s explanation — even though their recent conversations around residential rooftop terraces that can be occupied have leaned toward less-than-favorable.
“What I don’t want to hear about or hear is music coming from up there or a party and I don’t want to see people there,” board chairman Anthony Brandt said Tuesday. “We get alarmed at things like this because well for the obvious reasons — the noise, the distractions, et cetera. It’s the same as the residential situation. The neighbors don’t like to see a big house go up with a rooftop deck.”
Alternate member Judith Long agreed.
“I, and I think the whole board, were pleased that the architects incorporated our concerns about the roof terrace into the current plan,” she said Tuesday. “We didn’t want people on the terrace to be seen from the street, or vice versa.”
Board member Val Florio said the “immediate concern” had been not just the visual impact of the people being seen from the road, but also the safety issue of someone dropping a drink or glass onto the sidewalk.
Board member Bethany Deyermond said she has concerns over the cinema’s proposed deck because she worries about rooftop decks in residential plans in general and she wants to be fair in her decisions.
“I’m glad that [the architects] listen and they’re trying to follow our suggestions,” Ms. Deyermond said Tuesday. “I feel, for private residences, we have been having quite a bit of discussion about the rooftop patios and we’re suggesting that they shouldn’t be planned anymore because no matter what you do in Sag Harbor, especially on the little streets, the houses are very close. No matter what, they’ll see into each other’s yards. I’m not for those. Therefore, I’m feeling a little bit hesitant about the one on Main Street.”
The board also appears to value the Sag Harbor Partnership’s plans to reconstruct the cinema’s façade to its previous appearance.
“All that is important,” Mr. Brandt said. “It’s one of the cases where the building should be reproduced as much as possible because it’s iconic. It’s really the signature building in Sag Harbor and to lose it is a great loss.”
“I’d say the entire village would agree on that,” Ms. Long said.
Mr. Florio said Tuesday the consensus from the board “is that the theater should remain true to its original look and feel — which it absolutely is. The reconstruction will be authentic, but with a marvelous interior makeover. … As unfortunate and tragic as the fire had been, something truly wonderful is literally rising from the ashes, thanks to the generosity and superb efforts made by the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center. It’s a pleasure to see this project coming to fruition.”