Jefferson Street House Nearing ARB Approval

The house at 5 Jefferson Street in Sag Harbor's historic district. Christine Sampson photo

Mitch Winston’s plans to renovate a house at 5 Jefferson Street moved another step toward approval from the Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review on Thursday, despite the objections of a neighbor, Duncan Darrow.

Anthony Vermandois, the architect for the project, told the board a flat-roofed addition to the rear of the house would be lowered, eliminating the need for a pyramid variance; the driveway had been extended to eliminate the need for a parking variance, and that his client was still waiting for approval from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services for a variance to build a pool near the property’s septic system.

“When you first came before us, you wanted to tear down the house and we told you that wasn’t going to happen,” said Mr. Brandt. “Since then, I get the impression you really haven’t done that much to the building, and we pretty much see that as the right way to go.”

Attorney Christopher Kelley, who represented Mr. Darrow, asked that the board hold off on approving the plan until he had time to review the plans and obtain a report from a historic consultant Mr. Darrow hired to review the plans for the house. Although Mr. Kelley questioned whether the board should approve the house plans without a finished landscaping plan and before Mr. Winston received approval from the county health department for the pool variance, Elizabeth Vail, the board’s attorney, said if the county denied the variance, the applicant would be entitled to amend their plans.

Mr. Winston then asked the board if it would be possible to get permission to start work on the house, noting that the only work that could be done in two weeks would be preliminary in nature, but the board said it would hold off until May 24.

“This is the last time we are going to table the building,” Mr. Brandt told Mr. Kelley, requesting that he submit the historic consultant’s report before that next meeting.

The board approved the plans of Catherine Toscano for a new two-story house on Joels Lane following a brief public hearing on Thursday. The proposed house, described as a “modern farmhouse, will be 3,767 square feet and contain five bedrooms and five and a half baths with a two-car attached garage.

Board member had little to quibble about with the design, pausing momentarily to discuss the casement style windows and raising some concerns about a proposed pool fence and landscaping plan. “We can’t approve a fence that we don’t see,” said member Bethany Deyermond, while her colleague, John “Chris” Connor asked for completed landscaping plan.

Board chairman Tony Brandt, referring to the fact that there was no public comment on the plan, said, “as usual, none” before asking the board to vote. Ms. Toscano, who appeared with Daniel Gomes from the Smithtown firm of the engineer Thomas D. Reilly, was asked to return in two weeks with landscaping and fencing plans for the pool.

In other action, the board agreed to schedule a June 14 public hearing on the plans of Michael Voelker to expand a cottage at 46 Palmer Terrace. The project has been represented by builder Robert Tortora and architect Anne Sherry, who have agreed to reduce the size of the addition to meet the board’s concerns.

The board also discussed informally the plans of Tal Litvin to build an addition to the cottage he owns at 20 Grand Street. Mr. Litvin told the board it was his understanding that main portion of the house was once a candy shop that had been moved to its present location from the business district years ago. Zach Studenroth, the board’s historic consultant, noting there was no record of such a move in the village’s historic district records, questioned whether the cottage’s provenance was accurate or not.

Board members asked Mr. Litvin to tone down the plans for the addition, which they said looked like it was part of a completely different building.