Government: Village Adopts Code Changes; Southampton Detective’s Settlement Disclosed


Village Adopts Code Changes

The Sag Harbor Village Board on Tuesday approved three changes to the village’s building code, including a 25-foot height restriction on buildings with flat roofs that had been requested by the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review.

That board’s chairman, Anthony Brandt, was the lone speaker at a hearing on the proposal, which would bring Sag Harbor in line with other local municipalities. Previously, the height limit for houses with flat roofs was 35 feet.

“We brought this forward because we get a lot of complaints from residents who see a lot of buildings go up, large buildings,” Mr. Brandt said. “The neighbors don’t like the lack of privacy and the noise from roof terraces. … You can’t contain it.”

The rule change was passed unanimously, as was a provision allowing attics to be converted to third-floor living space in houses built before 1984 as long as they are confined to the existing attic structure. The gross floor area rules still apply, and the Sag Harbor Zoning Board of Appeals could theoretically still grant variances for dormers to the attics.

The village board was also unanimous in its decision to strike from the code a rule allowing buildings in the village business district that have multiple uses to combine those uses without village approval. The provision was recently cited by representatives of musician Billy Joel in his attempt to renovate, lift and rotate his Bay Street home, a bid which was rejected by the Sag Harbor ZBA.

“Going forward, what it really means is that one will not lose any uses but will go through a normal review process prior to increasing or decreasing a use,” building inspector Thomas Preiato said Wednesday. “It just makes total sense from a zoning perspective and the intent of zoning in general.”

Southampton Detective’s Settlement Disclosed

Southampton Town Police Det. Sgt. Lisa Costa, who had filed a sex discrimination suit against the town and the department in 2014, received a $300,000 payment as part of a settlement agreement, released by the town last week.

The suit was one of two alleging discrimination against female officers on the town force that have now been settled. Lieutenant Susan Ralph also filed suit in March 2015, but her suit was settled when the town board promoted her to lieutenant just a month later.

Det. Sgt. Costa’s suit was settled in August, but the both sides declined to reveal the terms of the deal. Town attorney James Burke this week said the town had determined that the terms should be made public after receiving a Freedom of Information Law request.

Besides the payment, Det. Sgt. Costa received credit for 22 sick days. The town also agreed to pay her attorney’s fees, although it did not admit it was guilty of discrimination.

Det. Sgt. Costa, who was represented by attorney Kelly Magnuson of Albany, had charged in her suit that she had been passed over for promotions because she was a woman and been subjected to sexual harassment during her career with the town.

North Haven Bids Adieu to Tohill

At a brief village board meeting on Tuesday, North Haven Mayor Jeff Sander announced that Tony Tohill, the Riverhead attorney who has represented the village for 32 years, would be retiring at the end of February. “Tony has provided outstanding support to the village over his 32-year tenure,” said Mr. Sander. “In my opinion, he is the best land-use attorney in the area with more experience than anyone I know. He will be greatly missed by the village.”

Short-Term Rentals Approved for U.S. Open

The Southampton Town Board, which in December passed a resolution allowing it to waive a ban on short-term rentals of less than two weeks for special events in town, on Tuesday agreed to do so for the U.S. Open golf tournament, which will be held at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club from June 8 to 19.

To be eligible for the waiver, a homeowner must have a valid rental permit, which costs $200 and requires a homeowner to submit to an inspection of the property and follow other rules.