Adam Scott and his husband, Chris Beacham, were tentatively approved Tuesday night for seven variances that will allow them to renovate their 5 Vickers Street residence — a proposal that has been scaled back from its initial application to the Sag Harbor Zoning Board of Appeals made roughly a year ago, when the couple and their architect, Richard Searles, asked for 14 variances to expand the 900-square foot home and build a pool on one of the property’s three front yards.
On Tuesday, Mr. Searles said in addition to relocating a pool to the rear yard of the property, a planned patio had been removed in an effort to reduce the number of variances needed to approve the project from eight to seven. Mr. Scott and Mr. Beacham needed approval for a pyramid variance of 3,207.25 cubic feet, a rear yard setback to allow the pool to be placed 5 feet from the property line where 15 feet is required, another rear yard setback for the construction of a stoop 5 feet from the rear lot line, two front yard setback variances to allow the addition to be situated 17.9 feet from Downer Place and 10.4 feet from Harrison Street where 30 feet is required and a height variance of 1.5 feet to allow for a proposed 5.5-foot pool fence.
Mr. Scott made an emotional plea to the board, noting he and Mr. Beacham “love this village” and are expanding the small residence in the hopes of starting a family that they plan to raise in Sag Harbor. The property they “could just barely afford” to purchase several years ago has proved challenging to renovate, said Mr. Scott, being a narrow lot with three front yards. Their application, he added, will set no new precedents and has the full support of neighbors in Chatfield’s Hill. Mr. Searles added that the residences surrounding Mr. Scott and Mr. Beacham’s property will still be larger than the house on 5 Vickers Street after the renovation.
“I think they have done as much as they could,” ZBA member Scott Baker said, noting it is a challenging site to develop because of the slope of the property.
“I think you have taken a very unique and difficult site and listened to us and turned in an application I probably could support,” said ZBA member Susan Mead.
“I just hope we are not encouraging people to file multiple variances because the number of variances you filed for is eye-popping,” she added.
The board agreed, 5-0, in a straw poll it would support the project, which will be formally approved at its May 21 meeting. The board also voted, 5-0, that next month it will approve variances that will allow Carol Rollo to construct a small, one-story addition to a first-floor bedroom at 39 Garden Street with ZBA chairman Robby Stein calling the project “minimal.” A second story addition on the back of the existing residence at 44 John Street, owned by Scott Landau and Melissa Wilson, will also likely be approved next month after a 5-0 straw poll in favor of the project. Both expansions were designed by Sag Harbor architect Anthony Vermandois.
Michael Brosnan earned a 5-0 straw poll in favor of variances that will allow a building project, already underway at 19 Cuffee Drive, to move forward. Mr. Brosnan brought the case to the village when he realized the property had been staked out improperly by a surveyor — only realizing it after construction of the residence had already begun. Variances needed for the project to continue included a front yard setback of 23.8 feet, where 30 feet is required, to allow for a front porch and a side yard setback for a cellar entrance.
Board members seemed in agreement that where the home sits on the property largely conforms to the rest of the neighborhood.
Jeffrey Brock’s request for variances to allow for a two-story addition, the construction of new dormers, a swimming pool and deck at 17 Montauk Avenue failed to find the support from the board, largely due to the fact that plans for the pool have it in the front yard of the property and with no setback to the property line.
“I think there are way too many variances,” Mr. Baker said. “The pool is a problem. I would not approve it.”
“It is the historic district,” said Ms. Mead. “Everything we do creates a precedent and we have turned down similar applications.”
Board members did note with the pool removed, the number of variances needed for the project to move forward would be significantly reduced.
“The rest of it, as far as I can see, is fairly workable,” Mr. Stein said.