A revived condominium development at 21 West Water Street was back before the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board Tuesday night, and although the board appeared to look favorably on changes to the original project – including outdoor rooms – developers will need to ensure it does not exceed lot coverage restrictions.
The planning board approved the original site plan for the 21 West Water Street condominiums in 2006. Last month, it was revealed that after nearly four years in stasis, the more-than-halfway-completed condo project was back on track, revived with the hopes of finishing in the fall of 2013.
In 2009, the project – including 19 luxury condominium units and a rooftop pool – halted amid financial turmoil in the corporation behind the development, East End Ventures, resulting in millions of dollars of liens 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.
Last month, revisions to the design of the building and grounds were received favorably by the village’s Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board (ARB). On Tuesday, East End Ventures architect John Reddington presented those same changes to the planning board with hopes of getting an amendment to their original approval.
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 have also been 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.
On Tuesday, board member Gregory Ferraris asked what constituted an “outdoor room.” Reddington explained the outdoor room extends the porch and then enclosed an outdoor area with hedge. A gravel area, meant for outdoor seating, is also proposed.
Sag Harbor Village Attorney Denise Schoen and environmental planning consultant Rich Warren said those gravel areas will count towards the property’s overall lot coverage and should be reviewed by village building inspector Tim Platt to ensure East End Ventures does not need a variance for coverage and to make sure the proposed plan meets all of its setbacks.
“I guess one thing I would say is if they are increasing coverage, the board needs to consider whether or not to open a public hearing,” added Schoen.
“I don’t think it’s really anything,” said Ferraris.
The project will have to be altered to be Dark Skies compliant, according to a letter from the village’s engineer, Paul Grosser. East End Ventures had selected the same fixtures used on Sag Harbor’s Main Street, which is not Dark Skies compliant.
In other planning board news, a new subdivision has been proposed by Albert Sibony at his Madison Street property. According to the application, the lot at 268 Madison Street is currently 40,109 square feet. Sibony hopes to divide the property evenly, creating two lots just over 20,000 square feet, which would comply with the Sag Harbor Village code.
“I think that this application complies with the provisions for a minor subdivision,” said Ferraris. However, he added, before Suffolk County Health Department signs off on the subdivision, the planning board cannot move forward with its environmental review.
Warren suggested the applicants take a look at a six-lot subdivision, Lighthouse Lane, which was approved in 2011 and contained similarly sized lots to what Sibony hopes to accomplish. That subdivision was before the Suffolk County Health Department for several years.
Schoen said the health department will send the application back to the planning board when it is ready to see it moved into a State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) phase of the subdivision’s review.
“I don’t think there is anything that will hold you back on our end,” said Ferraris. “But it’s best it stay off the agenda until the health department renders an opinion.”