Despite Objections Harbor Committee Okays Redwood Requests

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By Stephen J. Kotz

Despite the objections of a neighbor, who cited concerns about flooding, the Sag Harbor Harbor Committee on Monday said it would issue a wetlands permit for a construction project at 232 Redwood Road that has been proposed under the name Palo Aalto, LLC.

As she has done at several previous board meetings at which the application was discussed, Cam Gleason urged the board to deny the request for a 425-square-foot swimming pool, saying the property was in a flood plain and the addition of more impermeable structures would simply exacerbated matters.

Ms. Gleason offered the board photographs, taken in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which, she added, “wasn’t even a big storm” on the East End. She urged the board to be firm and consider the role wetlands play in collecting stormwater runoff. “You don’t think you can deny it because it meets the setback,” she said. “I would request that you stop piecemealing approval of swimming pools in the tidal plain overlay district.”

“Everything  Cam said is important for how we deal with things from now on going forward,” said committee member Bruce Tait, referring to a proposed six-month moratorium on wetland permit applications that was adopted by the village board after a public hearing at which nobody spoke on Tuesday.

“The whole problem is we have too many people,” Mr. Tait quipped. “Maybe we can take applications for who wants to leave?”

Back to the application at hand, Susanna Hermann of En Consultants, a North Sea environmental consulting firm, reminded the board that it conformed to the village wetlands law.

“We’re not asking for any variances and we meet all the setbacks, including coverage,” she said. She added the only issue to be resolved was over the type of screening between properties. “We just here hammering out the details,” she said.

The landscaping issue revolved around a 90-foot-long retaining wall that had been proposed 18 inches from the property line. At last month’s meeting, the committee asked that it be built 3 feet from the property.

The board asked that Ms. Hermann return with a landscaping plan showing evergreen instead of deciduous trees with an eye toward approving the application next month.

The board also said it would approve the application of Howard and Sydney Druckman at 192 Redwood Road to demolish an 800-square-foot house and replace it with a two-story house with a 1,511-square foot footprint, decks, porches and a 220-square-foot pool.

The house would be 70 feet from the wetlands, the pool would be 59 feet and the porch would be 55 feet. The application also calls for a new septic system that would be between 96 and 104 feet from the wetlands.

The board’s new chairman, Stephen Clarke, scolded the Druckmans’ attorney, Dennis Downes, for requesting the permit contingent upon the submission of a completed landscaping plan for a wetland buffer.

“The challenge that we have is we asked for it a month ago and hen asked again last week,” Mr. Clarke said. “I’m just going to say, fair warning, this is the last time I do this for a permit… if we have to do this again, the answer is going to be no.”

Mr. Tait added the committee should also make it clear “we are looking for a really robust planting plan,” using larger plants that would stand a better chance of surviving.

The committee also agreed to reopen a hearing on the application of Patrick McDonough of 62 West Water Street who is seeking to add  an 8-by-26-foot second story addition to his house.

The applicant was also represented by Ms. Hermann, who said that the applicant was unhappy that the board had sought a 35-foot wetlands buffer when a neighboring house only had a 15-foot buffer.

Mr. Clarke said he was not inclined to reopen the hearing, saying that the McDonoughs had building code violations that have not been cleared up, but the rest of the board prevailed in convincing him that it would be okay to reopen the hearing so they could weigh in on the landscaping plan fro the buffer area.

Finally, the board issued a prompt approval to Redwood Anchorage at 40 Redwood Road for permission to replace some 338-feet of timber bulkhead with vinyl sheathing.

“This is a pretty straightforward reinstallation of an existing bulkhead,” said Bill Mack of First Coastal Corporation of Westhampton, who represented the marina.

The board saw no problem with the application, but Mr. Tait said he would like to see a 10-foot buffer between the upland and the docks that is planted with vegetation that will not be fertilized.

“We’re going to start asking the village to do the same thing to their bulkheads,” said Mr. Tait.

Richard Warren, the board’s environmental consultant, noted that the Southampton Town Trustees also request a 10-foot buffer,  and Mr. Mack agreed that it would not be a problem.

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