Consolidating Retail: Proposal to Modify Former Headley Studio

Posted on 01 December 2010

By Kathryn G. Menu

The new owner of 40 Madison Street, next to the former United Methodist Church in Sag Harbor, hopes to consolidate two existing retail spaces at the site into one and expand into the building’s current second floor, reducing the number of apartments on the parcel from two to one, according to plans filed with the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board last month.

According to the plans, presented at a village planning board meeting on Tuesday, November 23 by property owner Natasha Esch’s attorney Miles Anderson, Esch hopes to take two existing retail spaces and a one-bedroom first floor apartment to create one 1,990 square-foot shop. In addition to marrying the two first floor stores, the plan also calls for the creation of a mezzanine for the retail space carved out of the second floor of the building.

A second-story apartment, currently boasting two-bedrooms, would be reduced to a 497-square-foot efficiency apartment in the plans, drafted by architect Mark Sosa of Arcologica.

Last Tuesday, Anderson presented the board with a breakdown of parking calculations, which shows under the proposed expansion, the property would actually require one less parking space than it already has.

At an October planning board work session, when the project was first presented, the planning board asked for an interpretation of the village code from building inspector Tim Platt, to determine whether or not an existing attached deck could be included in calculating the existing square footage of the building.

Anderson said as of the November planning board meeting, he has yet to receive an answer from Platt.

The question is critical, because as the plan stands, expansion of the building into that deck area may not be considered an expansion of the building’s square footage, if, as in the past, the building inspector deems the deck space is equivalent to existing building space.

If Platt agrees with that interpretation, as the project would not increase floor area, does not require more parking, or an increase in sanitary flow, and is under 3,000 square feet, it would be exempt from site plan approval under the new village code.

The board agreed, pending Platt’s determination and a detailed landscaping plan, to approve the project exempt from review.

In other planning board news, this Monday, December 6 the board will host a work session to go over public comments it received last week regarding the expansion of the John Jermain Memorial Library on Main Street.

At a public hearing last week, a handful of residents supported the library’s plans to almost double the size of its current facility with a modern, glass and steel addition planned at the rear of their property.

Parking, namely the lack of on-site parking, was debated with one resident charging the village would be setting a precedent for future commercial development if it allows the library to use street parking in its calculations for how it will ensure there is enough parking in the area to accommodate the larger library.

Other residents argued, along with the library’s environmental consultant David Emilita, that there is more than enough parking in the area for the expanded library, including planning board member and former library board president Gregory Ferraris, who admitted he was once opposed to the concept but now sees it as an economic advantage for the village business district.

Monday’s work session will be held at 3 p.m.

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