Cinema’s Rooftop Equipment Remains an Issue for Review Panel

A screening plan is awaited by the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review board for the heating and air conditioning equipment on the auditorium roof of the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center. Peter Boody photo

As expected, the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center withdrew its application to Sag Harbor’s Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board last week to approve its plan to externally brace a third-floor wall.

But the board’s chairman noted that issues at the cinema building remain pending before the board, particularly plans for screening HVAC equipment on the roof.

Cinema board chair April Gornik disclosed two weeks ago that the plan for external bracing would be withdrawn as too time consuming because of the requirement for a public hearing, which wouldn’t have been held until October 26 meeting of the HPARB at the earliest.

She learned of the long delay only when she appeared before the board on September 26 to explain the cinema’s plans to solve a structural problem with the third-floor wall that had emerged over the summer. By the following week, she disclosed in response to questions that the cinema would save time by bracing the third floor internally, which will take up precious space but won’t require HPARB approval.

When the withdrawal was announced at the board’s October 10 meeting, with no representatives of the cinema present, board chair Dean Gomolka commented that there were issues “still to be worked out,” and added, “This is open,” as far as the board was concerned, rather than withdrawn.

He said that building inspector Thomas Preiato had told him no certificate of occupancy would be issued for the building “with the stuff on the roof” — a reference to the exposed heating and air-conditioning equipment.

“There’s a lot going on there,” commented board member David Berridge, including “variations from earlier drawings.”

Answering emailed questions this week, Mr. Preiato said he understood the cinema would be removing the shed-type roof that it erected along the top of the southern and western second-floor wall late this summer to hide steel rods; they were installed when the project engineer said the third-floor wall needed lateral bracing to support a bank of windows.

The shed roof did not conform to approved plans, triggering a return to the Review Board under Mr. Preiato’s orders.

As for the equipment on the roof, he wrote, “They have been put on notice as far as the screening of the HVAC units on the roof [is concerned] and will need to return once again [to the board for approval]. On some pages of the plans, it did show equipment but not as large. It was left off on the more important renderings.”

Ms. Gornik mentioned the issue in her appearance before the board on September 26, promising that the HVAC equipment on the roof would be hidden. “We know it’s visible — we don’t like it, and we’re looking at solutions for it,” she said.

In an email sent in response to questions this week, she wrote, “We will be submitting screening ideas to them ASAP. They had originally approved placement of our HVAC system, but we had not submitted screening schematics.”