Neighbors Raise a Noisy Stink over Harbor Market & Kitchen Construction

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Neighbors object to the heating and ventilation equipment on the roof of the new Harbor Market & Kitchen. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz. 

By Stephen J. Kotz

Excitement over the arrival of the new Harbor Market & Kitchen, which is slated to replace a longtime Sag Harbor staple, Espresso Market, at the corner of Division and Henry streets, has turned to dread for some neighbors.

The group of about a half dozen residents are upset that during the renovation of the building, the market’s new owners, Paul and Susana Del Favero, have had mechanical equipment, including heating and ventilation, moved to the roof.

“It looks like an airport. I’ve never anything like it,” said Kenny Mann of Henry Street. What’s worse, she said, is the noise from the equipment, which she said she has already heard, despite it being the dead of winter. “All I hear is this roar, a loud humming,” she said.

“We have nothing against having a store here. There has always been a store here,” said Andrew Skonka, who lives across the street. “But I see a huge expansion with all that equipment from what was there a few years ago. We are concerned about the noise and the odors.”

The neighbors have launched a website, Hamptonsforum.com, and a petition drive on Facebook. Mr. Skonka said they have already have about 80 supporters.

They have recently hired attorney Jeffrey Bragman in an effort to get the village to revisit the application. An ideal solution, Mr. Skonka said, would be if the village made the market restore the roof to how it appeared when Espresso was in business. Not only is the market in the middle of a residential neighborhood, he said, but it is also in the village historic district.

But despite the neighbors’ concerns that the work is being done without the proper permits, the village’s building inspector, Tom Preiato, said this week that everything is in order and that plans submitted by architect Douglas Moyer showing the mechanicals placed on the roof had been approved by the village Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review as well as the Building Department before his arrival in November.

On Wednesday, Mr. Preiato said a January 12 email he sent to Joseph and Elizabeth Trevisani of 26 Henry Street mistakenly stated that there were no permits for the roof work. He said he corrected that mistake in a subsequent letter sent to Mr. Moyer on January 22.

Mr. Preiato said the Del Faveros have agreed to ask the ARB to approve plans to screen the mechanical equipment on their own. That meeting will take place on Monday, February 23, at 5 p.m. at the Municipal Building.

In the meantime , the village Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a hearing on Tuesday, February  17, at 6 p.m. on the application of 184 Division Street Realty, LLC., the property’s owner, for variances to allow adding food preparation equipment, including a counter, sink, and oven, in the basement, which constitutes an expansion of a nonconforming business use in a residential neighborhood.

This week, responding by email, the Del Faveros said they have been upset by the petition drive and insisted they were trying to be good neighbors. They said none of what they called a small group of neighbors had ever approached them in person to discuss their concerns and added they continue to spread “the falsehood” that the work is being done without permits.

“The fact is that every permit required was applied for and granted by the ARB and the village Building Department,” their email stated. “We actually incurred great expense waiting and patiently respecting the Building Department permitting process—one that was delayed by months—yet we never lifted a hammer without permission.”

The neighbors’ petition drive also lists a number of complaints dating back to the days when Espresso occupied the site. Among those concerns are the lack of proper sewage, noise from delivery trucks idling outside,  smoke from the ventilation system, and litter and rodent problems, among others.

The Del Faveros insist that they cannot be held accountable for the sins of a former business and stressed that they had taken many steps, from siding the building in cedar and installing dry wells, to improve the building.

“To support this petition is to contribute to making it impossible for small local business owners to open in this village,” the Del Faveros stated. “Because if someone like us cannot come into this village, play by the rules, build a business that is environmentally sound, then what is left?”

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