More Details Emerge on Proposed West Water Street Condos

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The view from West Water Street of a rendering of the condominiums proposed by developer Jay Bialsky. Courtesy image

Plans are taking shape for the condominiums proposed by developer Jay Bialsky for his newly acquired property on West Water Street, with new details presented during last Thursday’s meeting of the Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review.

During a preliminary discussion of the project, the board praised the back of the building, which faces the water, but asked architect David Harvey to keep working on the front of the building. Board members said they took issue with the building’s “massing,” a term referring to the impact of the size the structure on the streetscape.

Plans show the proposed building at 36 feet at the top of the third floor and 53 feet at the top of the roof where a deck is located. The board’s historian, Zach Studenroth, said it reads like a four-story building and called it “towering and overwhelming.”

“This is a throttled-down version of a previous proposal of building condos all across the waterfront,” Mr. Harvey said.

The previous iteration “never came to us where we had to decide, but I can assure you we were not happy,” the board’s chairman, Anthony Brandt, said. “I guess what bothers me … is this is the largest building that’s purely residential that this board has ever had to do, and there’s a bit of what you could call cognitive dissonance. We have to get our minds around it.”

Mr. Studenroth suggested pushing the rooftop deck back a few feet, away from the edges of the building, so that it has less of an impact on the mass of the structure.

“Let’s see if I can make that work,” Mr. Harvey replied. “It’s an important building in Sag Harbor, so everything you say to me I’m going to take to heart.”

Board member Val Florio complimented the design because it would not “blockade” the water. The design shows one building that actually appears to be two separate ones, so that there is a watershed view in between.

“There’s a lot of merit to the application,” he said.

Both sides called it “a work in progress.”

The West Water Street project has yet to go through the Zoning Board of Appeals process and still has a pending application before the Sag Harbor Planning Board, which is leading site plan approval and an environmental review of the property line modification requested by the developer as part of the creation of the John Steinbeck Waterfront Park.

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