Variances Granted for Errors Placing Equipment in Yard


Setback variances to legalize mechanical equipment placed too close to property lines were granted last week by the Sag Harbor Zoning Board of Appeals at one of its shortest meetings in memory.  The board also granted a sky plane variance to legalize the slight incursion of a roof gable into the required sky plane. In both cases, the work had been approved by the Building Department before siting or design errors were discovered.

At a public hearing on the case at the board’s 25-minute meeting on December 17, no one spoke against the application of Steven Schucker for three setback variances to legalize equipment installed with the Building Department’s nod at 3 Taft Place, including pool mechanics, a concrete pad for a generator and an air conditioning unit.

Because the Building Department missed the errors and issued a certificate of occupancy for the property, board members agreed with member Susan Mead’s comment that the need for variances was not the result of a self-created hardship.

“The point of this is there was no attempt to conceal” the errors, board chair Tim McGuire said. He noted the applicant had a permit for the work, the required variances were “pretty minimal,” and there was “no effect on the neighbors” because stockade fencing hides the property.

“What I think happened is they misinterpreted the side yard for the rear property side” of the corner lot, said the applicant’s attorney, Robert M. Connelly. Mr. McGuire noted that the Building Department became aware of the errors only after a neighbor raised the issue.

The board voted unanimously to grant a side yard variance of 3.4 feet to allow the pool equipment to remain 11.6 feet from the property line instead of the required 15; a side yard variance of 7 feet to allow the generator pad to remain 8 feet from the line; and a rear yard variance of 1.7 feet to allow an air conditioning unit to remain 8.3 feet from the line instead of the required 10 feet.

Because there were a number of adjournments and a withdrawn application on the agenda, the case was heard early in the meeting. One neighbor, John Brannen, who had planned on speaking against the application, arrived only after the board had ended its meeting.

The board also granted variances in three other cases, including the application of 38 Meadowlark, LLC for a small sky plane variance of 113 cubic feet for the east-elevation gable on the new house at 38 Meadowlark Lane. The error was discovered after a permit had been obtained for the work, the board noted in its decision.

In another case requiring variances to legalize violations, the board granted three small setback variances for a refrigeration unit that has been in operation for decades behind Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese Shop at 89 Division Street. Building Inspector Tom Preiato said the minor errors were discovered during a routine review.

The board also granted small setback variances for 127 Jermain Avenue to allow the applicant, Elizabeth Dow, to install three basement window wells.