Sag Harbor ARB Says No Twice


11 howard_0418

The house at 11 Howard Street. 

When Andrew Grossman approached the ARB last winter with plans to extensively renovate a house at 11 Howard Street, his plans were shot down. At the time ARB members said his design did not fit in with Sag Harbor or its historic district and would be better realized in a Bridgehampton farm field.

Part of Mr. Grossman’s plan called for moving most of the house to a more central location on the lot, so board members were surprised when he informed them an engineer’s report had determined the house was structurally unsound and should be razed.  Last Thursday, his attorney, Brian DeSesa, asked the board to approve a demolition permit.

It refused, with board members questioning how a house could have deteriorated so quickly. “We’re not going to review a demolition at this point,” said Cee Scott Brown, the ARB’s chairman. “It’s not in the cards.”

The board also ended its informal review of the request of John McLaughlin to build a new house at 43 Suffolk Street.

Last Thursday, Mr. Brown told Mr. McLaughlin’s architect, Kirby Grimes, that the board would not approve the plans he had sketched for a wide house with a hip roof that would cover most of the width of the lot.

“It looks like Mount Vernon. It doesn’t feel like Sag Harbor,” said Mr. Brown, who repeated  a critique that the design “does not play well with others” on the street in part because of the massing of the proposed structure.

Mr. Grimes said Mr. McLaughlin had wanted a house that echoed the Custom House, which is set off Main Street at Garden Street, but at several previous meetings, board members balked at what the architect presented.

“Just walk down the street and see what is there. This does not resonate with the other houses,” added Mr. Brown who described Suffolk Street as “the Park Avenue of Sag Harbor.”

“He knows what he wants and it started with the Custom House and I had to make it fit,” Mr. Grimes told the board. He added that he had another proposal for a less massive house—“I’ve got one in my valise I’m not supposed to show you,” he said—but that Mr. Mclaughlin’s “objective is to let it fail and see what kind of remedy he has.”