Hearings Set for Three Sag Harbor Houses Sized Over 3,000 Square Feet

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A rendering of the proposed house at 48 Lincoln Street. Image courtesy Croxton Collaborative Architects PC

With Sag Harbor Village’s building code calling for public hearings on new residential construction and significant renovation projects that top 3,000 square feet, the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review on Thursday advised three applicants they will face hearings for meeting that requirement.

The board will hold a public hearing on February 22 on a proposal for a house at 48 Lincoln Street, owned by Herringbone Holdings. The board also anticipates holding public hearings on March 8 for the house at 58 Palmer Terrace belonging to John and Manon Reuter and the house at 200 Madison Street belonging to Dominic LaPierre and Laura Auerbach.

Represented by architect William Cummings, the house at 58 Palmer Terrace — listed as a contributing house in the village’s historic survey — drew criticism from the board. The plan calls for a renovation of the two-story structure with a wraparound front porch, construction of a two-story addition, a covered porch in the rear, an enclosed link to a two-car garage and an in-ground swimming pool.

“I think there’s a lot going on and a fairly significant change of the existing house,” historic preservation consultant Zach Studenroth said. “That gets me back to the contributing resource part, where ideally you would not be reconfiguring the existing house at all.”

Board chairman Anthony Brandt pointed out the house is on a small hill. “It’s already imposing, and looks larger than it is,” he said. “To extend it that far back … really makes it look ‘holy cow.’”

Mr. Lapierre, who appeared before the BHPAR three times informally for feedback before submitting an application for his Madison Street residence, received mixed reviews on his project. He has proposed a two-story addition in the rear of his house, a new septic system and retaining walls. Traffic flow around the house also emerged as a sticking point, as a curb cut on Jermain Avenue is proposed.

“I’m just really concerned about the curb cut because the traffic is killer,” Mr. Brandt said. “It’s one of the worst corners in Sag Harbor. I’m worried about accidents there.”

Mr. Lapierre disagreed, saying, “There’s a lot of honking and a lot of yelling, but there isn’t really anyone bumping into each other. I think the solution is to take our cars out of that intersection and put them into a driveway. You can turn around in the driveway, so you’re not backing out onto Madison or Jermain. I think we’re solving something.”

The Lincoln Street house, proposed in a modernist style with a horizontal expression, got caught up in a recent code change that limited flat-roofed houses to 25 feet tall, from a previous height of 35 feet. It will be newly constructed at just over 3,000 square feet on a recently subdivided, vacant lot.

“We’ve introduced a roof that has a steeper slope than the local law requires, a standing-seam roof for a two-story residence with a peaked roof that doesn’t come up to a peaked roof expression,” architect Randolph Croxton said by phone on Wednesday. “We had to introduce that roof in order to retain the ability to go to 35 feet.”

According to building inspector Thomas Preiato, the average house size in Sag Harbor is 1,590 square feet. Asked why 3,000 square feet is the threshold for hearings, Mr. Preiato suggested, “Maybe a bigger building has a bigger impact.”

Reached by phone Friday, Mr. Brandt said a hearing is often of increased importance within the historic district.

“Often enough people want more, more, more, and that means they want a big addition. That will swallow up an original house,” he said.

He suggested the 3,000-square-foot threshold for a hearing is reasonable, and said people need to pay closer attention to what’s happening.

“It’s disappointing when people don’t come in, but part of the problem is that this is a summer community,” he said. “People don’t really know what’s going on here in the winter. They come out here in the spring and early summer and are astonished that a house has gone up next to them. It’s not our job to call them up — they have to pay attention.”

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