By Kathryn G. Menu
Dating back to 1840, the Gingerbread House on Main Street is an architectural gem in the village. Lynn Park Charveriat and her husband, Christopher, hope to one day feature antique European treasures in what is one of Sag Harbor’s most iconic structures.
It has been six months since Charveriat and her attorney, Dennis Downes, first floated the concept of transforming the historic Gingerbread House from a two-family residence into a building featuring the Charveriat’s store, La Maisonette, on the first floor with an accessory apartment on the second floor.
On Tuesday night, Charveriat and Downes returned to the planning board with formal plans. According to Downes, the goal is to ensure the front of the Gingerbread House appears untouched while the interior is renovated to accommodate a 1,372 square-foot antique store. A small portion of the house’s wrap around porch will be used seasonally to display goods, said Downes.
The proposal also includes plans for a handicapped accessible ramp on the south side of the building, which will connect to a new sidewalk leading to a parking area at the rear of the structure. Downes has proposed five new parking spaces, one being handicap accessible, with two additional parking spaces found within an existing garage.
Drainage is proposed for the parking lot, which Downes said would be covered in pea stone, not asphalt, and marked off with Belgium block.
Downes said landscaping was limited, particularly in the front of the building.
“I don’t think anyone wants that to block the view of the Gingerbread House,” he said.
A public hearing will be held on the project at the planning board’s Thursday, December 20 meeting at 5:30 p.m.
Just down Main Street, it’s been over three years since local commercial property owner James Giorgio proposed a renovation of 125 Main Street. It appears Giorgio is finally poised to move forward with an ambitious plan to raise the historic building —currently home to wellNEST — build a new foundation and reconstruct the building, piece-by-piece, from the inside out.
Giorgio, with architect Charles Thomas, have proposed several different incantations of this project since June of 2009. The first involved raising the building and carving out a new retail space for street level access. Traditionally, patrons have entered the retail spaces at 125 Main Street by staircase — not always ideal, noted Thomas at the time.
Giorgio was approved for that project in 2010, but was halted when Thomas came back to the board in 2011 after discovering the building was literally falling a part. The applicants then proposed demolishing the building and rebuilding in-kind, but that plan was met with opposition by community members and local not-for-profit organizations, including the Sag Harbor Historical Society.
The building was originally constructed in the 1750s.
Giorgio and Thomas went back to the drawing board with plans to restore, rather than demolish the historic building and scaled back the project as well.
According to Thomas, the project will still include plans to lift the building and construct a new foundation, with the full building being remodeled from the inside out. However, plans for the second street level retail space have been abandoned. Thomas said from the exterior, the façade of 125 Main Street will appear exactly as it does today.
The building, when completed, will contain one large commercial space, with a second-story accessory apartment. Two additions on the rear of the building, which Thomas said were literally built on dirt, will be removed and an additional 367 square-feet of space will be added to the back of the structure.
Giorgio earned a parking variance from the zoning board of appeals to allow him to only add one parking space in the back of the building and to reduce the amount of required landscaping on the property from 20 percent to 16 percent in September.
At Tuesday night’s planning board meeting, a public hearing on the project drew no comments. The board will likely approve the project at its December 20 meeting.
Lastly, the planning board revisited the site plan approval given to Matt Coffin for Monc XIII at 49 Madison Street.
According to planning board chairman Neil Slevin, a village code violation was issued to Coffin for lights that were installed on the building but not approved in the lighting plan the planning board signed off on.
Lights that offended some neighbors, said planning board member Greg Ferraris, appeared to have been removed, but regardless, the board asked the building department to obtain letters from all of his neighbors stating they approve of the new lighting plan.
That application will also continue at next month’s December 20 meeting.