Public Hearing Planned on Fischl, Gornik’s ‘The Church’

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Artists Eric Fischl and April Gornik will formally present a new plan for the exterior of the former Sag Harbor Methodist Church at 48 Madison Street during a public hearing on December 13 before the Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review.

The board, which already approved new windows for the project, voted 4-0 to set the hearing last Thursday after architect Lee Skolnick explained the details. Among them were louvred shutters for the steeple; front doors being remade to match the original doors; and canopies over side and rear doors.

Mr. Fischl and Ms. Gornik plan to turn the former church into an arts innovation center called “The Church.”

Board chairman Anthony Brandt told Mr. Skolnick, “You’ve done a wonderful job.”

“It’s a labor of love for all of us,” the architect replied.

In other news, the BHPAR approved new, replacement Marvin windows for a house at 59 Hempstead Street after board member Bethany Deyermond visited the property with its representative, architect Colin Hoogerwerf.

Ms. Deyermond said after the visit, and after speaking with Zach Studenroth, the board’s historic preservation consultant, she favored the window change. Mr. Hoogerwerf said the homeowners had also agreed to install wooden screens in the new windows to keep a more historic look to them.

“Some have already been replaced,” Mr. Studenroth said. “I think going to the solution of the wooden screens would be an enhancement.”

Additionally, both parties agreed the steel chimney, part of a venting system, could be removed but the brick chimney would remain. The original proposal called for both to be removed. The board approved the changes, 4-0, with member John “Chris” Connor — who has been a staunch advocate for the preservation of original windows — absent.

Representing homeowners Brandon Haley and Anna Flett of 18 Suffolk Street, architect Justin Terzi and project manager Monika Zasda pitched an unusual idea: the removal of a swimming pool. The plan is to remove the liner, fill it and convert its function to drainage for the property. A pergola with an outdoor dining area, including an island for a barbeque grill, is also planned. The homeowners also own the adjacent house at 22 Suffolk Street, which also has a swimming pool.

“It’s a great idea, what they’re doing,” Mr. Gomolka said.

“One less swimming pool in Sag Harbor,” Ms. Long said.

“Do we get brownie points?” Ms. Zasda asked, and the board approved the application 4-0.

For 18 Rysam Street, homeowner Mary Anne Bennett and Bruce Bennett asked the board to approve dormers “to get a little head room” on the half-story second floor, Mr. Bennett said. The proposal also called for the removal of four pre-existing, historically inaccurate skylights and new cedar siding, an asphalt roof, the relocation of kitchen windows and a new French door for the rear patio.

Mr. Bennett called the dormers “pretty low profile.” Mr. Studenroth pointed out the house is listed as a “contributing property” in the village’s historic survey, which says it dates back to approximately 1900.

“It’s always a challenge to convert a one-story house into something more,” Mr. Studenroth said. “It’s been done, historically, in town. This is not the first generation that is finding a one-story house inconvenient.”

Mr. Brandt said he “hated it,” but acknowledged, “we constantly approve additions to old houses.”

“In this case, I don’t like it at all, but I don’t see how we can deny something like this,” he said.

The board approved the application for 18 Rysam Street, 4-0.

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