By Kathryn G. Menu
It has been over a month since Amalgamated Bank, the mortgage lender that first funded the proposed West Water Street condominiums, took over official ownership of the development, recladding the building in cedar and moving it closer to completion after years of stasis.
On Tuesday night, the project was back in front of the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board for alterations to landscaping and proposed patio areas on the property, all of which were tentatively approved by the board at the close of the meeting.
John Reddington, senior landscape architect with Araiys Design Landscape Architecture in Southampton, presented the changes Tuesday night, noting that while many had to do with landscaping on the property, ultimately the changes were being proposed to deal with health and safety issues.
Reddington said plans still include a crosswalk between the West Water Street condominium property and the former Baron’s Cove property, which is being redeveloped into a luxury resort and restaurant by Cape Advisors — the firm behind the luxury condominiums at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory.
While revised plans had also included outdoor patio areas for each ground floor unit, that ultimately increased lot coverage beyond what is allowed on the property under the Sag Harbor Village code. Reddington said the property would now feature a total of three patios.
Also proposed is shared landscaping on the property line separating the West Water Street condominiums and the former Baron’s Cove property, which will include a number of native plants, said Reddington, among them western cedar.
Three London Plane trees planned for the north side of the property will be moved south, said Reddington, because there is no room to plant the trees due to the drainage required for the property. A fourth London Plane tree has been added to that grouping, he said.
The new plan also proposes to add cobblestone aprons at the entry and exit of the property, for aesthetic purposes, and removal of a blue stone walkway in the parking lot.
The revised plan also proposes a new line of evergreen shrubs on Long Island Avenue to help hide the massing of the rear of the building, said Reddington.
Sag Harbor Village environmental planning consultant Rich Warren said one thing the board should consider is there will no longer be large trees on the north side of the property. He added Warrens Nursery had submitted a letter to the board stating with the drainage on the property it was impossible to fit the large London Plane trees.
“Those trees are coming out and the material going in is all relatively low so it will probably look a lot like what is there from a visual perspective, although it will be cleaner, neater,” said Warren. “I guess the question is whether you feel it is significant or not.”
Board member Gregory Ferraris noted there were never trees traditionally on the West Water Street side of that property.
“I think the most significant change is not the movement of the trees away from there but the redesign of the outside of the building which is dramatically better than what was there,” said board member Larry Perrine.
Warren said his only other concern was he believed the patios, currently 30 feet from the property line, need to be a total of 35 feet from the property line to meet code. Village attorney Denise Schoen agreed, and said before any approval becomes official she would need to confirm that with the building department.
Schoen also said she will need a letter from Cape Advisors confirming they are allowing plantings on their property and that the Baron’s Cove property site plan would also need to be amended to show the additional landscaping.