By Kathryn G. Menu
The revived 21 West Water Street condominium project was given a tentative green light for amendments to its original plan, approved in 2006, on Tuesday night.
It was the second month the applicants, East End Ventures, were before the planning board to alter plans slightly from the original approval.
In January, after years of the building sitting partially completed, it was announced developers hoped to have the halfway finished condo project completed by the fall of 2013.
The project stalled in 2009, with reports of financial turmoil reported mid-way through its completion including millions of dollars in liens filed against the property by subcontractors. East End Ventures is currently in the midst of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and its original lender, Amalgamated Bank, has given the project debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing through its Longview ULTRA Portfolio in an effort to allow work to continue at the property, which will lead to a better return when the property is ultimately sold.
In January, revisions to the design of the building and grounds were received favorably by the village’s Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board (ARB), and those plans were reviewed by the planning board later that month.
The density of the project is being scaled back, from 19 to 15 units, allowing for six three-bedroom and nine two-bedroom units. Outdoor rooms were also created for the first floor apartments, evergreen screening is proposed along the west side of the property line, as is an access ramp from the southwest corner of the building onto the adjacent property, the Baron’s Cove Inn. Pedestrian access to the property has also been limited to an access point off Long Island Avenue.
In the wake of concerns that the outdoor dining rooms, created over gravel, would increase the lot coverage of the project, on Tuesday Jon Reddington, landscape architect for the project, said the plan had been scaled back to remove that proposal.
However, while project sponsors agreed to a Dark Skies compliant lighting plan for the north side of the parking lot, they asked the board to allow them to move forward with the original 2006 plan for lighting on the southern side of the lot, citing safety concerns. The Sag Harbor Village code was amended in 2009, after the lighting plan’s approval, to require Dark Skies compliance.
Planning board chairman Neil Slevin wondered if the neighboring Baron’s Cove Inn renovation and expansion coupled with this lighting plan could have a negative impact on the neighborhood. Sag Harbor Environmental Planning Consultant Rich Warren said with the street lights on Long Island Avenue, close to where lighting on the West Water Street parcel would not be Dark Skies compliant, that he questioned if the lighting would actually impact neighbors.
He added that given East End Ventures is seeking an application to modify the project so it is actually Dark Skies compliant on one side of the property — where it was not before — the board should have reservations.
It is expected the plan will be approved at the board’s next meeting on April 23.