SagTown Coffee Earns Compromise from Planning Board for Now

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Workers from Zappola Construction began to clear out debris from the burned-out interior of SagTown Coffee on Friday, April 21, 2017, as part of the store's reconstruction following the Sag Harbor fire. Michael Heller photo
Workers from Zappola Construction began to clear out debris from the burned-out interior of SagTown Coffee on Friday, April 21, 2017, as part of the store’s reconstruction following the Sag Harbor fire. Michael Heller photo

By Christine Sampson

SagTown Coffee has compromised, for now, on its plan to rebuild following the December 16, 2016 fire that damaged its space, opting to occupy two separate storefronts instead of one combined space as owner Shane Dyckman had originally planned.

The updated plan was announced during Tuesday’s Sag Harbor Planning Board meeting, which followed a recent meeting between Mr. Dyckman, building inspector Tom Preiato and planning board chairman Gregory Ferraris. Mr. Ferraris said Tuesday he and Mr. Preiato advised Mr. Dyckman about his options, including this one, which they said was the fastest way to allow SagTown to reopen.

“They were seeking to expand the ‘wet use’ of SagTown into the retail space, which would need variances and could take numerous months,” Mr. Ferraris said after Tuesday’s meeting. “This was a way to allow them to move forward. We’re trying to accommodate every applicant [after the fire]. We’re bound by provisions, but this was the avenue of least restriction.”

Mr. Dyckman had originally received a building permit to renovate SagTown Coffee “in kind.” He then came under criticism in May from Mr. Preiato, who said in a memo to the planning board that Mr. Dyckman’s crews had removed a wall between the two stores, SagTown and the neighboring storefront toward Main Street formerly home to Collette Luxury Consignment, despite being advised not to remove the wall. Mr. Dyckman’s attorney, Brian DeSesa, said the wall had been damaged in the fire and had to come down, and the wall was rebuilt.

Mr. Dyckman said after Tuesday’s meeting he expects to open both the coffee shop and the separate retail space before the end of July. Declining to provide details on the retail space — “that’s why we have paper on the windows,” said Mr. Dyckman — he said he can hardly walk down Main Street without someone asking him when SagTown plans to reopen.

He said he plans to file a new building department application for a combined store “by week’s end.”

“I’m just trying to follow the rules, and it just takes time,” Mr. Dyckman said. “So far so good. Everything’s going along as planned. Of course, I would like the village to have some sort of special exemption to move forth with construction. I have to build this store around a wall, which is going to come down anyway, which is costly.”

The planning board on Tuesday adopted a resolution allowing a simple change of tenant occupancy in the retail space, the 680 square feet that were formerly occupied by Collette Luxury Consignment. It did so based on four facts: that the retail space is not increasing in size, and that it does not have a parking requirement; that both the existing and proposed uses are permitted uses within village code, and that the new use does not trigger new Suffolk County Department of Health requirements.

“We appreciate you going the route you did because not all too often you get an applicant who would,” Mr. Ferraris told Mr. Dyckman and Mr. DeSesa during Tuesday’s meeting.

Mr. Dyckman said after the meeting he is “very grateful that they’ve decided to let me move forward.”

“It’s just tricky for me because I have all brand new equipment to install, and then I’ll have to do construction all over again. Two steps forward and one step back,” he said. “But I’ve accepted my fate, and I think everything’s positive.”

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