SagTown Expected to Appeal to ZBA

A newly-reopened SagTown Coffee did a brisk business on Sunday, August 6, 2017. Michael Heller photo
The Main Street retail space of SagTown Coffee is visible from the original coffee shop after most of a dividing wall was removed. Christine Sampson photo

By Kathryn G. Menu

SagTown Coffee was issued 37 tickets by the Village of Sag Harbor as of Tuesday afternoon, and according to building inspector Thomas Preiato, business owner Shane Dyckman should expect to receive two tickets daily until an ongoing dispute over the expansion of his coffee shop into an adjoining Main Street retail space is resolved.

The first ticket is for a zoning code violation for the removal of a wall that separated the original SagTown Coffee space in the shopping cove off Main Street, and the former Collette Consignment retail space Mr. Dyckman is now leasing as a part of his business. That removal of the wall was done without site plan approval by the village’s planning board. The second ticket is for the space being in violation of its own certificate of occupancy. While the ultimate fine levied on Mr. Dyckman will be decided in court, each violation carries a maximum potential fine of $1,000.

On Tuesday, Mr. Dyckman’s attorney, Brian DeSesa, appeared in Sag Harbor Village Justice Court on behalf of his client, where Justice Lisa Rana adjourned the case until December 12.

According to Mr. Preiato, Mr. Dyckman’s original application to the planning board to legalize the expansion was withdrawn, with Mr. DeSesa citing a provision of the zoning code that allows a building owner with multiple uses to redistribute those uses — provided the total floor area is not expanded — without site plan approval. Mr. Prieato said he has issued a determination stating that section of the code is not applicable in this case, and that Mr. Dyckman still needs site plan approval.

“I believe they will appeal my determination to the ZBA,” he said. Attempts to reach Mr. DeSesa by press time were unsuccessful.

In other Justice Court news, attorney Stephen Grossman pled not guilty on behalf of his client, Janet Lehr, who was issued six citations for the now infamous Larry Rivers’ “Legs” sculpture astride her Madison Street, Sag Harbor home. Ms. Lehr has been cited for lacking a building permit for an accessory structure; for lacking a certificate of compliance; for having an accessory structure in a front yard; and for violating the pyramid law and rules governing the setback and height of accessory structures. Each citation carries a maximum fine of $1,000.

A lengthy legal battle over the status of “Legs” as either artwork protected by the First Amendment or as an accessory structure subject to village zoning has been debated in Sag Harbor’s Municipal Building, and in the court system, for close to a decade. A state Supreme Court justice ruled in the village’s favor in November 2015, supporting a determination by its zoning board of appeals denying Ms. Lehr variances that would have allowed her to keep the “Legs” adjacent to her home. In May, Mr. Preiato began citing the property owner again after the sculpture was not removed. The case will be reheard in Sag Harbor’s Justice Court on January 30.