Madison Street Renovation Nears Approval from ARB

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The home at 200 Madison Street in Sag Harbor. Stephen J. Kotz photo

A couple who have been discussing a major renovation to their home on Madison Street in Sag Harbor found out from the village’s Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review at a hearing on Thursday, March 8, that they still have a hurdle or two to clear.

Dominic LaPierre and Laura Auerbach, who are both architects, have proposed an addition to their two-story home at 200 Madison Street that will more than triple it from about 1,300 square feet to about 4,000 square feet.

They have discussed variations to their plans with the ARB for several months and told the board they hoped their application would be approved in short order. Mr. LaPierre said changes had been made to the windows to answer the ARB’s concerns, but board member Val Florio, who is also an architect, raised concerns about a one-story portion of the addition that would exceed a 15-foot height restriction

“The volume from outside is reading like a two-story height,” he said, noting that under the village code, the addition would count as a two-story structure and place the addition in violation of gross floor area limits.

“Other than that, I think you have really cleaned up the look,” Mr. Florio said. “You’ve made good strides simplifying things that were once very complicated.”

“I think we’ve worked with you guys for a long time, and it has been a very symbiotic relationship,” said Ms. Auerbach, who added they would be willing to tweak the plans one more time if it meant they would see their project approved.

“We do need to leave today with some kind of approval,” she said. “We cannot afford to keep coming back again and again. This is getting to be a tremendous financial strain for our family.”

“You have been here a long time. I’m very sympathetic,” offered the board’s chairman, Anthony Brandt, who added the addition plans called for a major redesign of a small house. He suggested that the board could close the hearing an issue an approval that would be contingent upon Mr. LaPierre and Ms. Auerbach submitting final plans meeting the board’s approval.

The ARB’s attorney, Elizabeth Vail, put the kibosh on that idea. “I just always recommend that you wait for the revised drawings,” she said, noting that the certificate of appropriateness the ARB would issue with an approval needs to be “tied to specific drawings you have approved.”

Stacy Pennebacker, a neighbor to the south, was the sole member of the public to speak. She thanked the ARB for taking the neighbors into account. “I wish it was smaller in scale and more sympathetic” to the original house on the property, she said, although she appeared happy to learn that trees between the two houses would not be cut down as part of the project.

The board tabled the application until March 22 when Mr. LaPierre and Ms. Auerbach will present another set of revised plans.

There were no speakers at a second public hearing on the application of John and Manon Reuter who want to add an addition that would essentially double the size of their house at 58 Palmer Terrace at the corner of Jermain Avenue.

Board members and their historic preservation consultant, Zach Studenroth, made several suggestions for modest changes to the design presented by Shawn Leonard and Bill Cummings, and tabled the hearing until March 22.

The ARB also approved an April 12 public hearing on the new Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center, which will replace the old Sag Harbor Cinema at 90 Main Street. The ARB has already discussed the design, which will appear very similar to the original movie theater, with the exception of a rooftop deck. Attorney Christopher Kelley told the ARB the village Zoning Board of Appeals has already signed off on the application and is awaiting a written decision, and the village Planning Board will a hearing for site-plan approval on March 27.

In what was likely one of the quickest applications in ARB history, Zachary Crawford was given approval to install a cellar Bilco door at his home at 394 Main Street in less than a minute.

“I make a motion to approve,” said member Dean Gomolka, noting the door was not visible from the street before the rest of the board members had even opened their folders. “Thanks for stopping by,” he told Mr. Crawford as the board approved the application.

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