Elevation of Historic, Main Street Building in Sag Harbor Nears Approval

Posted on 30 April 2010

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Sag Harbor Village environmental planning consultant Richard Warren shows concerned neighbors a map of an all but approved subdivision at Route 114 and Lighthouse Lane.

James Giorgio’s hopes to raise his historic building at 125 Main Street three feet and add new retail at the basement level, giving the space Main Street access, will likely be approved next month after the project received praise and no criticism at a public hearing during Tuesday night’s Sag Harbor Village Planning Board meeting.

On Tuesday night, architect Chuck Thomas explained that in addition to raising the building, over 500 cubic-feet of village-owned soil would need to be excavated at the front of the property in order to create the new retail space. A brick patio is also proposed at the rear of the building, with a pergola, as well as a brick sidewalk that would link Church Street to Main Street.

Ernest Schade, a Sag Harbor resident who owned the building for 20 years said the project was crucial to the structure’s viability. He said the building, which dates back to the 1750s and is located next to one of Sag Harbor’s most celebrated historic structures, The Latham House, is sturdy, but that the cedar cladding the building is rotting.

“I would hate to see this building collapse because it is being eaten away,” said Schade, noting there are so many openings under the house that rats were once an ongoing problem.

Michael Eicke, who owns Christy’s Art Center just a few doors down from 125 Main Street, seconded Schade, noting it is structures like Giorgio’s that give Sag Harbor its special character.

“If this building is to survive another 120 years, it has to have a new base,” he said.

Eicke added the creation of street-level retail at the location will open up the end of Main Street.

“It keeps a lot of people away and to survive, again, you need a window and you need an entrance on the street level,” he said.

Sag Harbor resident Dolores Fenn said she wondered about the need for an 8.6-ft. ceiling height in Sag Harbor, but quieted when learning the overall height of 125 Main is expected to fall eight inches below the ridge of The Latham House.

The planning board is expected to approve the site plan for 125 Main Street at its May 25 meeting.

A handful of neighbors of a 3.2acre, six-lot subdivision at Route 114, Lighthouse Lane and Washington Avenue approached the board concerned about what would eventually be developed on the properties. While one lot is proposed to keep an existing two-story, single family dwelling, the remaining five lots would be developed at a further date.

Peter Rocker, a resident on Lighthouse Lane, said he was worried about whether the houses would not be custom, but spec homes, and about their size.

“The houses, each would be a custom home on a given lot,” said attorney Dennis Downes. “There is no plan to do a subdivision like you would think in Levittown.”

Neighbors, including Barbara Reese and Jackie Fuchs, joined Rocker in crowding around a map provided by Sag Harbor Planning Consultant Rich Warren, but without any plans yet laid out for the homes, did not make any more comments to the board.

The subdivision may be approved next month.

In other planning news, both the retail spaces that house East End Prime and the Juicy Naam on Division Street, were granted changes of use, which will allow them to continue to operate as they have for the last six months. Dorothy Moorhead was also granted a waiver for site plan approval to construct a deck at the rear of her 34 Main Street building. Jack Tagliasacchi, a member of the board, was granted approval for four outdoor tables at his restaurant Il Cappuccino. Tagliasacchi recused himself from the final vote.

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