The Sag Harbor Village Board at its August 12 meeting amended the code to give the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review more leeway in adopting guidelines for the applications before it.
In the past, those guidelines have been listed in the code, but concerns have been raised in recent months that the ARB’s hands have been tied by restrictions from which it cannot waiver.
“There is too much specificity in the code,” said village attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr., who said that “minutiae” such as the type of windows should be a policy decision of the board. He told the board the change would leave the general standards in the code and delegate some authority to the ARB to set policy.
Only Trustee Robby Stein voted against the measure, saying he was concerned about giving too much authority to the board.
When the ARB met last Thursday, assistant village attorney Denise Schoen said the board’s action was an attempt to allow the ARB to follow “a living document” of recommendations.
“That was a pretty monumental thing to do for the board,” she said, adding that the ARB members “should take that as a huge compliment to you because the board is relying on you to put guidelines in place. I don’t don’t think that exists in many communities.”
She agreed with Mr. Thiele’s assessment that the codified guidelines were too restrictive, saying they “hog-tied” the board and referred to the visit earlier this year by Julian Adams of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, who argued that the board should use some leeway in its determination.
As if on cue, the first applicant to appear before the ARB was David Brogna, an owner of In Home on Main Street, who had sought to replace windows in his building and had been delayed while the board tried to determine whether it had the authority to approve aluminum-clad windows, and after a brief discussion, it gave Mr. Brogna the go-ahead