Concerns Over Canopy


The historic preservation and architectural review board (ARB) counted itself the first of the Sag Harbor Village boards to grant approval for the condo project at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory on Thursday, July 10. The following week the project received harbor committee approval and tentative zoning board of appeals approval, paving the way for final approval on the 65-unit luxury condo project.

But ARB chairman Cee Scott Brown knows this certainly won’t be the last time his board sees this project as the developers, Sag Development Partners, embark on resurrecting and redeveloping the historic factory building. On Thursday, before giving the project its stamp of approval, the board requested continued jurisdiction over the architectural details of the project. In particular, the board asked that Sag Development Partners return when they have finalized plans for an entryway on Church Street, as well as plans for a mechanical door on Division Street, which will lead to the underground garage.

The main concern is the overall design of a glass canopy at the entryway on Church Street. They requested the entryway be simplified, with board member Robert Tortora suggesting it simply be a wrought iron fence and gate.

“The ‘60s aspect of the pedestrian entrance feels too much like Sutton Place,” mused Brown.

The other minor issue, said Tortora, is a concern that what is now appearing as a perforated metal door at the entrance to the underground garage could be unsightly.

“It’s one of the issues we have had from the get-go,” said Brown.

Spokesman for Sag Development Partners David Kronman said the firm had yet to settle on a door.

“It’s a big deal,” replied Brown.

Village attorney Anthony Tohill suggested they add the requirement for continued jurisdiction into their approval, as with a project of this magnitude these are likely not the only design issues to arise once construction commences.

For Brown, and the rest of the board, after over a year of meetings, there was little to discuss.

“Certainly as chair of this board I would be happy to endorse this project 100 percent,” he said.

“We want to thank you for great, great advice,” said Kronman. “It’s a far better project than when we started.”

For the second month in a row, a modular home proposed on Hillside Drive East for Gena Lovett and Charles Jones became the subject of debate, although this time around it was neighbors, and not the board, that took issue with the project.

Contractor John Distefano is proposing to build the project and came back to the board this month with a number of revisions to the proposal at the request of the board, including moving the entire 3,300 square-foot residence and garage over five feet on the lot.

Other changes included that the siding be cedar impressions and the windows be centered.

“This is a vast improvement from the first one,” said Tortora of the design.

Eunice Moore, one of two neighbors who attended the meeting, said she was concerned about the size of the house compared to what exists in the community.

“Everything in the plan is as of right,” said Tortora.

A Garden Street residence with a reported five-foot high foundation due to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood plain regulations had many members of the board upset.

“We have to get this FEMA thing under control,” said Tortora, noting when a residence is in a flood plain that requires this elevation they can seek a FEMA variance from the zoning board.

Attorney Tohill noted that if a municipality adopts a policy of granting FEMA variances, FEMA can and will respond, stopping the practice.

“It’s done,” he said of the Garden Street home, which has received ARB approval.

In other news, Bryan Wong was approved for a fence and gate at his Latham Street residence; Larry and Maria Baum were approved for new front windows on their 4 Bay Street building, and Jody Allardice was approved for the demolition of an existing shed and reconstruction in kind of the same at 127 Bay Street. 

Above: An artists rendering of the entryway on Church Street to the proposed condo project at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory. (Beyer Blinder Belle architects and planners design and rendering)