After Rebuke, Dormers To Stay

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By Douglas Feiden

The Zoning Board of Appeals is sending a sternly worded message to the construction and contracting community of Sag Harbor:

Don’t alter or add to previously approved building plans without proper permission — or be prepared to pay for violations.

The ZBA’s warning to builders, lawyers and owners was issued at its Tuesday meeting as it voted to legalize two already constructed roof dormers on the south side of the George Holley residence at 22 Rector Street.

Board members had grappled with the decision — which provides relief from the pyramid law to obtain a building permit — because they said the builder had gone ahead and erected dormers that weren’t in approved building plans and didn’t seek additional approvals, as required by code.

Despite the apparent breach, ZBA Chairman Tim McGuire said the board concluded that had the as-built dormers been included in the original application, it would have been approved at the time.

“So in good conscience and from a legal standpoint, however annoyed or put out we were with the way this took place, we had to approve it,” he said.

But the panel took the unusual step of inserting into its decision a clause, noting its concern about a “proliferation of additions and alterations” that fail to comply with previously approved plans and lack needed approvals or building permits.

“The consequences may end up being costly to the homeowner,” it states. It’s a message that will be communicated to architects, lawyers and contractors, Mr. McGuire said.

As for severe violations in the future, he added, “Even if a house is completed and people are living in it for a year, I, for one, am going to proceed with making them take it apart and put it back to what it was when the building plans were approved.”

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