Sag Harbor ZBA Tackles Unapproved Improvements


In an attempt to keep a blue stone patio and outdoor shower enclosure on a freestanding studio space, Pat Libutti pled his case to the zoning board of appeals for two variances that would allow the structures to legally remain on the Hampton Street parcel.

On Tuesday, August 19, the zoning board heard out Libutti, who is currently trying to sell the Hampton Street property as his family has had to move west for personal reasons, and needs an updated certificate of occupancy. Libutti needs a lot coverage variance for the blue stone patio and a side yard variance to allow for the shower, which is 1.8 feet from the lot line when the village code requires 10 feet.

According to Libutti, he applied and received a variance for construction in 2005, but made two mistakes. The patio was not shown in any of the plans and while the shower was shown on a site plan, Libutti noted it did not appear on the construction documents, which were the plans approved by the village building inspector.

“The architect represented to me it was a pretty minor thing,” said Libutti, later acknowledging that he and his family take responsibility and stand in front of the board with two accessory structures that have already been built.

 “I do appreciate your honesty in your rider,” commented board member Gayle Pickering, later adding, “We often get very creative replies to this section. It’s honestly refreshing.”

Honesty aside, board member Kathy Radziewicz noted she felt the shower’s placement so close to the lot line was “unfortunate.”

Whether or not the shower was built according to county standards was of greater concern for Sag Harbor Village Attorney Anthony Tohill, as Libutti said it is not connected to septic at the house, but filters through nine-feet of rocks underneath the shower and into the water table. Tohill suggested the board reach out to the building inspector to ensure this is a legal practice before granting a variance that approves it. Tohill also suggested the board take a look at all prior variances to ensure they have a grasp on what was already approved. Chairman Michael Bromberg had commented earlier that he only recalled granting a parking variance on the parcel.

The board will revisit the application at its September 16 meeting.

In other zoning board of appeals news, the board approved a lot line modification between two existing, non-conforming lots, which allowed 340 square feet of lot area to be transferred from 22 Latham Street to 20 Rogers Street. Hagen voted against another variance approved for the Rogers Street parcel, which allows for a new dwelling on that property, because he felt he did not have enough information on the septic system planned for the residence. The rest of the board voted to approve it.

Craig and Ellen Rhodes were also approved for an area variance to construct a shed at 15 Howard Street. Radziewicz voted against the approval as she felt it set a precedent for approving a variance despite that the owner could move the placement of the shed into a more conforming part of the property.