By Kathryn G. Menu
The protection of Sag Harbor’s historic district, and the potential precedent set when the Sag Harbor Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board (ARB) allows synthetic — non historic — materials on homes or businesses within that district was at the heart of debate surrounding several applications during Monday night’s ARB meeting.
During a meeting that also included a discussion about the use of synthetic materials in the condominium project at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory (see story, page 1), the ARB also heard a discussion item with local property owner and resident Jim Giorgio, who has been rebuilding a Main Street structure that dates back to the 1750s.
Giorgio, and his architect Chuck Thomas were before the board to discuss windows, which had been replaced in the historic building at 125 Main Street with aluminum clad windows. Thomas opened the discussion by stating they would remove those windows from the front of the building and replace them with wood windows, but that they would also like to replace two windows on each side of the building with larger picture windows to make them more attractive for a business looking to move into the space.
Board member Bethany Deyermond said she would like to see any windows visible from the street clad in wood. Giorgio said because the interior finishes had been completed on the one side of the building where the windows would be visible from the street, it could cost upwards of $30,000 to change.
Deyermond still wondered what precedent that could set.
More importantly, said Save Sag Harbor board member Susan Mead, allowing picture windows in a historic Main Street building could jeopardize the village’s historic district, which could in turn impact businesses who benefit from an investment tax credit given to properties within that district.
“What about appropriateness,” asked local designer Steven Gambrel. “This is a very important house.”
Gambrel called the proposal “wildly inappropriate.”
“That is how you ruin a Main Street,” he said.
“Everyone is concerned about ruining Main Street but a lot of local businesses who have approached us have expressed concern about the visibility of the location,” said Giorgio.
“I have no problem leaving it exactly as it is and closing it up and finishing it out,” added Giorgio. “I may have problems getting local retailers.”
Giorgio said it was in the board’s hands to decide how he should proceed. As it was a discussion item, no action was taken.
However, the precedent of the windows — and those installed in the condominium project at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory —left questions for other applicants. John Scocco and David Brogna, the owners of In Home, approached the board protesting their denial of windows — the same as those in the former Bulova building and the same as those currently installed at 125 Main Street.
“The precedent was set that they have been used in the village, especially in the business district and we want to replace them that way,” said Brogna, noting they require less maintenance.
Village attorney Denise Schoen noted 125 Main had reapplied for historic windows.
“We have just asked someone to take them out and I think that sets a precedent,” added ARB member Christine Patrick.
“They have decided to go ahead and do the historic windows and I believe the best thing for this particular situation is to stay with the action we previously decided on,” said Deyermond. “It should be the wooden windows.”
Later in the meeting, Anthony Vermandois, representing Tereza Romaelli on a Palmer Terrace project, also asked the board if vinyl or aluminum clad windows were now acceptable in the historic district. The board maintained they would prefer to see wood.
Robert Michaelson, on Oakland Avenue, also made an application to the board for solar panels. His home is on the edge of the historic district, noted his representative David Knieriemen of Green Logic Energy.
Knieriemen argued that while they may be visible from Somers Place, the system is all black and would not be visible from Oakland Avenue.
Patrick suggested the board take a field visit to the home before making a decision.