The all-too-familiar tale in Sag Harbor of property owners or their contractors violating their permits and the village code was told again last week when the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board took up the cases of 140 Bay Street and 17 Milton Avenue.
Both are properties in Sag Harbor’s historic district, where the HPARB has regulatory authority.
Vegetation was destroyed in violation of the terms of a landscaping plan approved by the board in 2017 at the property of Ann Charlotte Brown at 140 Bay Street, where a house is undergoing extensive renovations.
At 17 Milton Street, the owner of which is listed as 16 Lincoln Street LLC, vegetation including trees were removed and a pool was installed without any approved plans or permits, worsening an existing drainage and runoff problem, according to village officials. John Botanic appeared before the board as the applicant.
“We should not beat around the bush,” board chairman Dean Gomolka told attorney Brian DeSesa, who was representing Ann Charlotte Brown at the July 11 meeting of the board. “I mean I went over there and I was heartbroken” because so much vegetation had been removed, Mr. Gomolka said. He added that Building Inspector Tom Preiato had asked him, “How could you guys have approved this plan?”
The answer was they hadn’t.
This week, on July 17, Mr. Preiato issued a stop work order on the property, which once featured trees and plantings “like a lush English garden,” as HPARB member David Berridge put it, and now is largely denuded.
In the other case, Mr. Prieato issued a stop work order well before the board’s meeting. No summonses have been issued in either case. In both cases, the board tabled the applications for certificates of appropriateness and called for detailed landscaping plans.
“This seems to be happening more and more often,” Mr. Gomolka said at the July 11 meeting. He said he would be speaking to the mayor soon about increasing penalties for code violations.