By Kathryn G. Menu
The Sag Harbor Village Zoning Board of Appeals will have to weigh in on whether or not a proposed 80-seat restaurant at the Baron’s Cove Inn on West Water Street is allowed at the property, according to village attorney Anthony Tohill.
During a Sag Harbor Village planning board meeting on Tuesday, May 24, Tohill said he understood that village building inspector Tim Platt would request that the zoning board determine whether or not an 80-seat restaurant is allowed per the village code.
A restaurant as a principal use within the resort-motel district Baron’s Cove Inn is located in is prohibited. However, as an accessory use it is permitted as a special exception use. The zoning board of appeals will be asked to interpret whether or not an 80-seat restaurant falls into that category.
The proposed restaurant is a part of an overall effort by the inn’s owners, KBR Capital, and its management firm, Cape Resorts, to renovate the Baron’s Cove Inn into a luxury, family-friendly resort destination.
KBR Capital has already earned village approval to renovate the exterior of the existing inn and update the property with landscaping, and as a second part of the renovation has asked to demolish 770 square-feet of existing motel space at Baron’s Cove Inn and construct at 2,200 square-foot restaurant.
The two-story building will include a new entry lobby for the redesigned motel, as well as a bar, patio and restaurant, with 56 seats planned inside the restaurant and the remaining 16 seats proposed for an outdoor terrace.
A new pool house and concession area is also proposed on the site. Eventually, KBR Capital principals have said they will also renovate the existing swimming pool and the parking lot at Baron’s Cove.
On Tuesday night, Tohill said the planning board would keep the inn on its regular calendar, however, it would not act on the application until the zoning board of appeals has ruled on whether or not the restaurant is legal.
According to zoning board of appeals secretary Lisa Koehne, as of Wednesday, no application had been filed by KBR Capital with the zoning board, meaning that the earliest the issue will be raised with the ZBA would be at its July 19 meeting.
After being on hiatus for several months, Tutto il Giorno owner and chef Maurizio Marfoglia returned to the planning board on Tuesday night, requesting permission for an outdoor pizza oven at the Italian restaurant, located on Bay Street.
The plans call for a 43 square-foot masonry outdoor pizza oven and 155 square-foot roofed work area at the rear of the existing restaurant. The oven would be located just over five feet from the property line. A shed, already three feet from the property line, would be demolished in order to accommodate the project.
According to a memo drafted last year by village environmental planning consultant Rich Warren of Inter-Science Research Associates, Sag Harbor code will require the restaurant to seek a variance through the zoning board of appeals as code demands any accessory structure in the village business district be at least 15-feet from the property line.
While James Sabloski, the closest neighbor to the proposed construction, had originally protested the construction, according to planning board chairman Neil Slevin, he has withdrawn his compliant from the record.
However, Tohill said regardless, the planning board must look at it from a planning perspective, and discuss the impacts of having an outdoor pizza oven, whether that be noise, or smoke.
Board member Gregory Ferraris said when the board debated these issues last year, the main concern was the impact to the Sabloskis.
“I think that goes a long way towards negating some of these issues,” he said of the neighbor removing his complaint from the file.
But Slevin disagreed, stating he believes the board must look beyond the current neighboring property owners and discuss whether having an outdoor pizza oven is a good situation for the neighborhood in the long term, noting that the Sabloski’s second story deck is mere feet from the top of the proposed space.
Tohill suggested that Marfoglia present the planning board with information on the kind of filtering units the pizza oven would have, as well as how much noise it is expected to make.
Marfoglia agreed, and added that he has “addressed the noise issue with Mr. Sabloski,” agreeing to move an existing ventilation system on the restaurant itself further away from the Sabloski property, as well as landscape both sides of the property line for screening.
Warren suggested the landscape plans also be submitted to the board. Tohill added Marfolgia should present his case to the zoning board of appeals in the meantime.
In other planning board news, the board is moving forward with its review of a proposed expansion at the Harbor Heights Gas Station on Route 114.
Owner John Leonard hopes to demolish the existing 1,874 square-foot gas station building and erect a 1,842 square-foot building that will include a 1,000 square-foot convenience store on a re-configured property.
The new building would be constructed perpendicular to Route 114, connecting to the gas station with a second service station business on the property, which Leonard also hopes to expand with a new bathroom and office.
The Harbor Heights gas pumps, which now sit next to Route 114, would be moved to the north side of the property and covered by a 20-foot high canopy, which would be lit with Dark Sky compliant lights. The gas station currently has four fueling pumps for regular gas and a diesel pump, but, under Leonard’s proposal, would have seven pumps for regular gasoline and one for diesel.
Leonard has also proposed landscaping on all three side of the property in order to screen the station from neighboring property owners.
This week, the planning board adopted a resolution asking to lead a state mandated environmental review of that project.
The next planning board meeting will be held on June 28 at 5:30 p.m.