Plan to Turn Rt. 114 Warehouse into Office Complex Gains Ground

Warehouse on Route 114 in Sag Harbor slated to be remodeled as an office complex. Peter Boody photo

Correcting a miscalculation will help Stephen Loeffler move one step closer to converting a former plumbing shop that is now a warehouse at 152 Hampton Road (Route 114) into a six-unit office complex.

The realization his proposal contained a basic error came after he presented a revised plan to the Sag Harbor Board of Zoning Appeals on February 27 that cut back on the surfaces devoted to permeable walkways and driveways on the half-acre lot.

His goal in making the changes was to reduce the total lot-coverage variance required for the project from 41 percent to 36.3 percent, where 25 percent is the maximum amount of total lot coverage allowed in residential zones.

He revised the proposal in response to board members who had resisted the amount of driveways, walkways and parking surfaces included in the project when his application was first aired before the board in January.

“Any place we could adjust our permeable surfaces, we did,” Mr. Loeffler told board members last week.

During the discussion, board members and their attorney Denise Schoen realized Mr. Loeffler had included permeable walkways and access driveways as structures when he computed how much of the parcel would be covered and the extent of the variances he would need.

As Ms. Schoen noted, driveways and walkways are not structures, whether they are permeable or not, so should not have been included. “Honestly, I don’t think you’ll need a total lot coverage variance” after his calculations are revised, she commented.

Without the proposed permeable surfaces included, Mr. Loeffler said, total lot coverage will be 21 percent, well below the 25-percent maximum set by the code.

Ms. Schoen suggested that the board hold a straw poll on the question of whether not it was willing to grant “a single variance for the landscaping plan,” which will cover 5.7-percent less than the 50-percent of the parcel required for vegetated area by the zoning code.

“I think this is a building and a facility that will be a benefit to the community,” ZBA chairman Robby Stein said just before the vote, “so in terms of where we can facilitate things and make it accessible to the community, what I think you’re doing is very positive and I appreciate that.”

He said that, by using permeable surfaces, Mr. Loeffler had “satisfied what my concern was.”

The board, with two members absent, voted 3-0 to support a variance from the minimum required vegetative area and to ask Ms. Schoen to draft a decision to be voted at the board’s next monthly meeting on March 19.

The proposal, for which the Appeals Board granted a change of use variance from residential in 1987 — at a time when zoning variances did not expire — will still require approval from the Board of Architectural Review.

Other decisions

Also last week, the Appeals Board agreed by 3-0 votes to grant variances sought by two applicants:  Jeffery Rosenberg, for the construction of a pool, spa and septic-system retaining wall at 62 John Street, where a modest one-story bungalow on Upper Sag Harbor Cove will be replaced by a new two-story house; and Sag Harbor Main Property Corp, for a sky plane variance to add a two-story addition and a patio on the rear of the house at 311 Main Street, on a narrow lot just north of Otter Pond.

In addition to their straw vote in the Loeffler application, the board agreed by 3-0 votes to ask their attorney to draft decisions granting variances, to be approved at the March 19 meeting, on the applications of: David Florence for several setback variances to allow for the construction of a pool and additions to the house at 11 West Henry Street; and Judy and Rod Gilbert for a sky plane variance to allow for a second story addition to be erected on a house at 148 Redwood Road.

The board adjourned until March 19 the continuing hearing on the controversial application of Mark J. Madden for variances to allow for the construction of first- and second-floor addition to the house at 11 Carver Street, which Mr. Madden requested; and the application of Adam Scott and Chris Beacham for variances to build additions, a pool and a patio at 5 Vickers Street. The applicants have modified the plan to exclude a retaining wall and the pool and build instead a hot tub with a small patio.