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One Building Owner Hopes to Raise Building, Another Hopes for Outdoor Pizza Oven

Posted on 29 January 2010

Giorgio 125 Main street site Layout2 (1)

Sag Harbor’s Tutto Il Giorno plans to build an outdoor pizza oven with the hopes of diversifying its menu, although the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board expressed concerns on Tuesday night that neighbors to the Italian eatery may not be pleased with the concept of the smell of homemade pizza wafting through their windows come summertime.

During its regular meeting, on Tuesday, January 26 Bill Hajek, representing Tutto Il Giorno presented preliminary plans to the village planning board for the accessory structure, which would comprise 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 with the roof area a little more than four 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 by Rich Warren of Inter-Science Research Associates, the village’s planning consultant, 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. Warren also questioned whether construction of the pizza oven would increase the number of employees needed at Tutto Il Giorno, which could change the parking requirements of the restaurant. Lastly, he asked the restaurant to demonstrate what kind of landscaping buffers it intends to install in the area between the property and neighboring residences.

While the project will have to seek variances from the zoning board, village attorney Anthony Tohill said that board should not hear the application until the planning board has finished its own review. According to Tohill, if the zoning board granted a variance for the pizza oven, the planning board’s hands would be tied in discussing it.

According to Hajek, the pizza oven would utilize propane gas, not wood, reducing any potential odors for neighboring residences.

“They are not opening a pizzeria,” noted Hajek. “They are simply adding diversity to their menu.”

Hajek added that he did not believe the addition of pizza oven would result in the need to hire more employees nor did he think it would necessarily draw people to the restaurant, but rather give the existing clientele more dining options.

“You mean you don’t want more business,” asked board member Larry Perrine.

“What I meant to say is this will not increase their seating capacity,” said Hajek. “It won’t draw more people to dine at their facility at any one time.”

Board member Greg Ferraris said he believed the key to the application would be notifying neighbors of the property.

Planning board chairman Neil Slevin said the biggest concern of the board was the impact on neighboring properties.

“This may, ultimately, require a site visit by the board,” said Tohill.

In other planning board news, during its work session it also discussed the proposal by James Giorgio to raise his commercial building at 125 Main.

Charles Thomas, Giorgio’s longtime architect, explained the proposal is to raise the existing building three-feet, remove additions off the rear and finish the basement, creating an access at the sidewalk level. The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees has already indicated they would look favorably on granting Giorgio a sidewalk easement to allow the new commercial space. According to Thomas, the project will not require any additional parking spaces and the new retail space would only increase the size of the building by 322 square feet.

“I actually think this is a pretty good little project and in reviewing it I think is actually the kind of thing that would add visual diversity on Main Street,” said Warren. He did ask if an adjacent property, also owned by Giorgio, would have anything built on it in the near future, noting if so, it should be considered with the rest of this application. Thomas assured that outside of a brick walkway, which would connect Church Street to Main Street, at this time Giorgio had no plans to do anything other than complete the project at 125 Main Street.

Tohill said the construction of a sidewalk connecting Church and Main streets could be something that is advantageous for not only Giorgio, but the village as a whole.

Before the application can be deemed complete, Warren asked Thomas to file details on landscaping for the property, including a planting plan as well as a plan detailing what drainage control is already on site. Warren also asked Thomas to provide a parking plan showing a minimum of five percent of all parking spaces are handicap accessible.

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