After Long Zoning Board Debate, Garden Street House Expansion Wins HPARB Approval

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The residence at 52 Garden Street in Sag Harbor, photographed on Wednesday, 10/18/17. Michael Heller photo
The residence at 52 Garden Street in Sag Harbor, photographed on Wednesday, 10/18/17. Michael Heller photo

By Christine Sampson

An applicant who spent many months laboring before the Sag Harbor Zoning Board of Appeals won almost effortless approval from the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review last Thursday.

The ZBA saw about six different versions of renovation plans for Sara Colleton’s house at 52 Garden Street, her attorney, Dennis Downes, said in October. The final iteration needed a pyramid variance of 1,458 cubic feet that earned ZBA approval on a 3-2 straw vote during that month’s meeting.

The project had been scaled down dramatically from a two-story addition that initially relied on a pyramid variance of 4,100 cubic feet, which the ZBA rejected in March after deeming it too large. A scaled-down, 3,448-cubic-foot version was also rejected by the ZBA.

Ms. Colleton’s architect, Kathryn Fee, who appeared on her behalf at last Thursday’s HPARB meeting, said the final version, a ZBA-approved, one-and-a-half story addition to the back of the house and one-story addition to the living room, will ensure that the house “virtually will look the same from the front.”

The HPARB voted 5-0, after a fairly brief discussion, to approve Ms. Colleton’s plans.

“I am kind of stunned that you were able to accomplish this,” HPARB chairman Anthony Brandt said. “It all depended on the ZBA, because you had such tight spaces to work in. I think you’ve done a remarkable job. I have no problem with it.”

Board member Val Florio added, “It’s a really clean integration.”

At one point in the application process, Mr. Downes had claimed Ms. Colleton needed the two-story addition on the back of her house to be able to create a second-floor master bedroom and bathroom in which she could fully stand up straight because she has a tall stature.

Instead, the latest plans call for a small one-and-a-half story addition to the back of the house to extend the kitchen and then adding a 1-story section to be built as a living room so that the current living room on the first floor can be converted to a master bedroom. That eliminated the need to build a master bedroom on the second floor, Ms. Fee said.

“We’re willing to make these compromises because [Ms. Colleton] loves the house and she wants to restore it,” the architect said.

The project must now go before the village’s Harbor Committee due to its proximity to wetlands and the incorporation of a new septic system, Ms. Fee said.

 

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