Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor ARB"

Skirmish Over Building Plans


Members of the Sag Harbor Village Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review sparred on Thursday, April 9, with John McLaughlin, the owner of a one-story house at 43 Suffolk Street who wants to tear it down and replace it with a two-story house.

Mr. McLaughlin and his architect, Kirby Grimes, have appeared before the board twice in the past month to gauge its response to new designs for the property. Both times they have been shot down.

After the board said it did not care for plans for a two-story hipped roof house on the property, Mr. McLaughlin returned with plans for a house with a traditional gabled roof, but two flat-roofed extensions and a garage on one side. Again board members were not happy.

“Our job is to see that the house and those next to it play nicely together,” said the board’s chairman, Cee Scott Brown, who said it appeared the design was intended “to get the maximum square footage” out of the lot. He said he would prefer something that was “more organic,” perhaps placed more forward on the lot and extending back, away from the street instead of along it.

A frustrated Mr. McLaughlin said Mr. Grimes had extensive experience in historically accurate design, pointing out that he had once served as a consultant to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.

“My biggest concern is you all seem to have such personal preferences for what should be there that we could spend architectural funds and spin our wheels for months and months and months,” said Mr. McLaughlin. “It’s very confusing.”

With Mr. McLaughlin asking, “Am I to go out and whistle in the wind?” board member suggested Mr. McLaughlin should take a walk around the neighborhood and be “be inspired by the village you live in.”

ARB Okays Hand House Restoration

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Hand house

The historic Captain David Hand House. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

A plan to renovate the historic Captain David Hand House on Church Street in Sag Harbor was given the green light by the Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review on Thursday, December 11.

Board members responded enthusiastically to a presentation by Stuart Phillips, the owner of Workshop 360, a New York architectural firm.

“Our intent is to showcase the house as an historic jewel of Sag Harbor,” Mr. Phillips wrote in an overview of the project he gave to the board, “to make it look like it did when it was originally built.”

The house, believed to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, standing in the village, is owned by Alex Akavan, who recently purchased it from John Krug. Mr. Krug, in turn, had complained that the tiny cottage had suffered damage to its foundation as a result of the major construction project that has been transforming the former Bulova factory into the upscale Watchcase condominiums.

Mr. Phillips told the board protecting the integrity of the building was the first goal. “It’s in danger of falling down,” he told the board, pointing out that the foundation needs to be shored up, walls straightened, joists and rafters replaced or reinforced, and window frames straightened and repaired.

Various renovations undertaken over the years “were hard on the house,” Mr. Phillips said. “What needs to be done to it is to make it special again.”

The plans call for the façade and most of the exterior of the house to remain intact, except for the addition of a shed dormer on the rear, which will provide additional exterior space in a second floor bedroom. Mr. Phillips also presented plans to extend the existing foundation to the rear of the house, creating more usable ground floor space and a back deck resting on stone walls.  The plans also call for replacing the front fence and the elimination of a blacktopped parking area on the north side of the house. Parking will be provided on grass pavers next to the building.

The reception for Mr. Phillips’ plan was a 180-degree turn from that given to Mr. Akavan’s first architect, Anthony Vermandois, who appeared before the board during an informal discussion in October with sketches for a modest addition to the rear of the house. Board members were flat-out hostile to the idea, catching Mr. Vermandois by surprise, who said he was only trying to gauge the board’s reaction and get a sense of the direction it wanted him to take.

According to a “Guide to Sag Harbor” by Henry Weisbery and Lisa Donneson, the Hand house was built in Southampton before 1732. It is possible the house was actually built in the 17th century. The house was moved from Southampton to Sagaponack in 1752 and then moved to the intersection of Madison and Main Streets at the site now occupied by the Stanton house. In 1840 it was moved to its current location on Church Street.

The house belonged to David Hand, a legendary figure in Sag Harbor who outlived five wives all whom he is buried beside in Oakland Cemetery. Author James Fenimore Cooper was said to have been so impressed with Captain Hand that he modeled the character Natty Bumpo in the “Leatherstocking Tales” after him.

Andrew Grossman’s plan to do a major renovation of a house at 11 Howard Street also caught the board’s attention. His architect, Bill Beeton, has proposed moving the existing house to the center of the lot but no closer to the street, and replacing a rear portion of it with a new addition. Board members questioned the appearance of the house, which would be in natural clapboard along the street and shingled on the sides. They also did not care for a proposed breezeway leading to a proposed new garage.

Board chairman Cee Scott Brown said the house looked more something that would be built in a Bridgehampton potato field than in the village.

Tim McGuire, a neighbor, who also serves on the village Zoning Board of Appeals, raised concerns about the appearance and scope of the project.

“It’s just so modern looking I’m shocked looking at it,” he said. “It doesn’t fit in to any part of Sag Harbor, let alone Howard Street.”

That brought an angry rebuke from Mr. Grossman, who had earlier told the board he was designing the house as a memorial to his wife who died in November. He questioned why anyone would object to his plans for the house, pointing out that it is now clad in aluminum siding.

The board asked him to return with a scaled back version.

In other action, the board approved William Cummings’ plan to renovate a three-bedroom house and garage at 8 Ackerley Street.

Mr. Cummings told the board he planned to gut the interior and do an extensive exterior renovation that would involve adding a new chimney, building a second-story deck on the rear of the house and converting the garage into a spa room with fireplace. The front of the house will be sided in white clapboard and the sides and rear shingled with white trim and a gray door.

“We just don’t want you to knock it down if that’s what you find once you get into this project,” said board member Bethany Deyermond. “You need to come back.”

“I live on the street, so it will be interesting,” she said.

ARB Takes Dim View of Renovation Plan for Historic House

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42 Church Sreet

The Captain David Hand House at 42 Church Street is one of the oldest houses in Sag Harbor Village.

By Stephen J. Kotz

A plan to renovate and expand the historic Captain David Hand House at 42 Church Street ran into a brick wall when it was presented for the first time to the Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review on Monday, October 27.

Anthony Vermandois, the architect for the property’s new owner, Alex Akavan, said the cottage could date to the late 1700s and is one of the oldest houses, if not the oldest, in Sag Harbor.

He said the building had been well maintained until it suffered foundation damage that has manifested itself through “visible cracks” that opened during heavy construction at the Watchcase condominiums in the former Bulova building across the street.

Last year, the property’s then owner, John Krug, said the construction work had first cracked his windows before causing damage to the foundation that caused his house to sag and the front door to not close properly. He sold the property to Mr. Akavan earlier this year.

Mr. Vermandois told the ARB his client was mindful of the historic value of the house and did not want to make major changes, but he added, at about 1,000 square feet, it was simply too small for his needs.

“It’s a one-and-half bedroom, not one-and-a-half bath,” Mr. Vermandois said. “He wants two functioning bedrooms and two baths.”

But his plan calling for a modest side and rear addition, as well as digging out the foundation on the rear side to allow for a ground-floor bedroom met stiff resistance from the ARB, which was meeting with only three members, including alternate John Conner.

“This needs to be a restoration,” Mr. Conner said, noting that the house was too important historically to be demolished and rebuilt in kind. “If he wanted a two-bedroom house this is the wrong purchase.”

“Any addition at all is off the table,” Mr. Conner added later, stressing that any work could cause damage to the streetscape.

“It’s a little gem and a treasure. It’s going to have be repaired where things have happened to it from Watchcase,” said ARB member Christine Patrick.

On Tuesday, Mr. Vermandois said he was not discouraged by the board’s reaction. “I think they may have misunderstood our intent,” he said. “We are not planning to do major work.”

He added that the intention of last night’s appearance during the discussion portion of the meeting was “simply to let them know this should be on their radar.” He said he would likely request a continued discussion when the board has a full complement of members at its November 13 meeting before submitting a formal application.

According to a “Guide to Sag Harbor” by Henry Weisbery and Lisa Donneson, the Hand house was built in Southampton before 1732. It is possible the house was actually built in the 17th century. The house was moved from Southampton to Sagaponack in 1752 and then moved to the intersection of Madison and Main Streets at the site now occupied by the Stanton house. In 1840 it was moved to its current location on Church Street.

The house belonged to David Hand, a legendary figure in Sag Harbor who outlived five wives all whom he is buried beside in Oakland Cemetery. Author James Fenimore Cooper was said to have been so impressed with Captain Hand that he modeled him for the character Natty Bumpo in “Leatherstocking Tales.”

A ranch house at the corner of Madison and Susan streets could be undergoing a major renovation if the new owners, Todd and Maureen Powell get their way.

Architect Ryan Kesner of McDonough Architects told the board, the house was constructed in 1960 and is outdated and in need of repair. The owners want to build a series of additions around the house, add a second floor and convert the garage into a pool house, but what got board members’ attention was a proposal to have nine sets of French doors along the back of the house.

Board members asked Mr. Kesner to bring the plans back for another discussion when a full board is present, but they advised him that a plan to have a driveway with three curb cuts, two on Madison Street and one on Susan Street, should be eliminated.

Julian Terian’s proposal to renovate a long vacant house at 39 Howard Street won the board’s approval, although it told Mr. Vermandois, who is designing the house, that it wanted him to remove a cupola that was proposed to house an antique bell.

Mr. Vermandois said a portion of the house would have to be demolished and rebuilt. “The house has been abandoned for almost 30 years now,” Mr. Vermandois told the board. “It’s a question of what condition it will be in once we start to open up walls.”

He said it was the owner’s intention to “keep as much as we can.” Acting chairman Tom Horn advised Mr. Vermandois, “If you find something you have to come in and tell us.”

Neither Mr. Conner nor Ms. Patrick liked the proposed cupola. “Just because they have an antique bell doesn’t mean we have to accommodate the bell with a cupola,” Ms. Patrick said.

The project, which has already received approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals, will have four on-site parking spaces and an 8-by-15-foot pool.

The ARB also signed off on the Sag Harbor Historical Society’s request to add a 14-by-18-foot accessory structure behind the Annie Cooper Boyd House on Main Street. Jim Laspesa, the society’s architect, said the building would be used for educational purposes and be shingled in cedar with a shingled roof. The building would be built to the rear of the property and does not require any ZBA variances, he told the board.

The next Sag Harbor ARB meeting is on Thursday, November 13 at 5 p.m.

ARB Remains Undecided on Jefferson Street House

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The Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural  Review last week was again unable to reach a decision on the application of Evan DiPaolo who wants to build a new house at 10 Jefferson Street.

At a September 22 meeting, board chairman Cee Scott Brown said he wanted to table the application until the board had the opportunity to discuss the placement of the house on the lot with a historic preservation consultant.

He suggested the board may try to consult with Julian Adams, the director of the New York State Historic Preservation Office’s Bureau of Community Preservation Services, who advised the board earlier this year on what type of building materials to allow in the historic district.

Earlier this year, Mr. DiPaolo and his architect, Anthony Vermandois, approached the board with drawings for a house at the rear of the property, but they left that informal session with the understanding that the ARB preferred to see the house built along the street, in keeping with the typical streetscape in the historic district.

They next took a proposal to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which blanched at the required number of variances and sent them back to the ARB.

Mr. DiPaolo, his patience obviously, running thin, appeared before the ARB last week with his attorney, Timothy McCauley of Southampton, who questioned if neighbors who want the house built close to the street “have been enjoying some open space at someone else’s expense.” He said Mr. DiPaolo’s plan would have “no impact on the historic district as a whole or any of the neighbors.”

But a large crowd turned out to voice objections to the plan. Bob Weinstein, a resident of 20 Jefferson Street, has been a particularly vocal critic. He said nothing in his opposition to Mr. DiPaolo’s plan was personal, but that he was concerned about maintaining the integrity of the historic district.

“It is more important to satisfy individual needs or the needs of the historic district?” he asked. “Each of us is going to be gone in 10, 20, 30, 40 years, but the village will be here.”

ARB Seeks Middle Ground on Eastville Project

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The house at 11 Eastville Avenue that has been the subject of a tug-of-war between the owners local preservationists. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

The Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review on Monday okayed plans to demolish what is remaining of a house at 11 Eastville Avenue and replace it with a new one, over the objections of neighbors and preservationists who sought a full-scale archaeological survey of the site.

However, Anthony Vermandois, the architect overseeing the project for brothers Matt and Even Mulderrig, said they would agree to allow the Eastville Community Historical Society and other preservationists to designate an observer during the demolition process to make sure no historic artifacts are inadvertently left behind.

“If we do recover anything, we would like to have the ability to incorporate into the new structure,” he said.

Mr. Vermandois added, though, that time was of the essence and offered a timeframe of six to eight weeks, the time he estimated it would take his client to get a building permit.

ARB chairman Cee Scott Brown supported the idea of Mr. Vermandois meeting with representatives of the Eastville group as well as with Joan Tripp of the Sag Harbor Historical Society to see if an arrangement could be worked out.

This came over the objections of Hampton Street resident Terry Fraser who read a letter from the Reverend Karen Campbell of Christ Episcopal Church, again calling for the archaeological study.

Jackie Vaughn, president of the Eastville Community Historical Society, said her group was troubled by the sale of historic properties without anyone in the village taking note. “We please ask you to reconsider what your role is and what can happen to our historic buildings and make some effort to keep these buildings intact.”

“This board has nothing to do with the sale of real estate,” Mr. Brown responded.

Referring to a passage in Reverend Campbell’s letter, which stated if a site were improperly excavated, looted or left to the elements, “the site is destroyed forever,” Mr. Brown suggested that was already the case.

“It would have been nice to have this conversation about 50 years ago when it was still standing,” Mr. Brown said.

Archaeological Survey Sought for Eastville House

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Preservationists have asked the Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review to order an archeological survey of this property at 11 Eastville Avenue before a new house is built in its place.  Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

The increasing number of teardowns in Sag Harbor has become something of a hot-button issue. But last week, the discussion was expanded to include what do about a house that is literally collapsing onto itself.

The house in question, a derelict cottage at 11 Eastville Avenue, is owned by Matt and Ed Mulderrig under the name Eastville SH LLC. They have proposed demolishing the house, whose roof and rear walls have already caved in,  and replacing it with a new one designed by Sag Harbor architect Anthony Vermandois.

But when Matt Mulderrig and Mr. Vermandois appeared before the Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review last Thursday to discuss those plans, the conversation quickly turned from things like whether the roof of the new house should be made of cedar shingles to what should be done to best preserve the history that is hidden behind and under the rubble.

The Reverend Karen Campbell of Christ Episcopal Church told the ARB she believed the house is one of the oldest in the village and may have predated the Revolutionary War.

She urged the board to order the Mulderrigs to undertake an archeological survey of the house and property “before it is demolished and the artifacts are buried under a beautiful modern home with no history.”

Board members said they thought it was too late in the process to require the archeological survey, but they did table the application until Cee Scott Brown, the board’s chairman, could discuss the matter with village attorneys to make sure the board was not “starting down a slippery slope.”

“This conversation should have been forty years ago when this house was still solid and standing up,” said Mr. Brown.

“I don’t know that we can transfer the burden of all that to the people who bought it,” added board member Penni Ludwig. “Now we’re going to stop their project? It’s sort of too late.”

“If you look at the picture, there isn’t much to demolish,” added board member Tom Horn. “I grew up in the neighborhood in the 1930s, and it was falling down then.”

“It’s been 300 years, what would one month do?” asked Reverend Campbell.

She was joined in her effort to slow down the application by Terry Fraser, a Hampton Street resident. Both said they had sought to reach out to the ARB earlier but had been told at the time there was no application pending on the property, so there was nothing for them to comment on.

“It really is a treasure trove,” said Reverend Campbell, who described her self as an early American history buff. “I know it looks like a wreck when you drive by.”

Reverend Campbell said the house included such intact features as six-over-six window panes, which were common during the colonial period, hand-forged latches on the doors, and a hand-dug well lined with brick.

If the house is simply demolished without an archeological record, “we will lose an important of not only Sag Harbor history but of American history,” she told the board.

Mr. Mulderrig was not too keen about the idea. “I respect the historical significance,” he told the board, “but if you do look at the picture it’s a liability, it is falling down. I don’t even want to go into that place, let alone try to take anything down.”

Later in the week, Mr. Vermandois opened a new front in the battle, submitting a detailed report that sought to debunk Reverend Campbell’s claim that the house pre-dated the American Revolution.

“I believe that while the house is old, it is likely not quite as old as [the Eastville Community Historical Society] suspects, most likely being of early to mid-9th century in date,” he wrote.

This week, Reverend Campbell said she stood by her belief that the house pre-dates the Revolution. “Experts do disagree,” she said.

At Thursday’s meeting, Mr. Vermandois said that if the board were to require an archeological survey of the Mulderrigs, it would be bound to require that of “every house that is on the market.”

He also suggested the ARB would be well-served by getting a “non-voting historic preservationist who comes to meetings and makes these sort of calls before we get to this stage.”

While the board seemed to be of a mind that it was too late to require the archeological survey, it was united in asking Mr. Mulderrig to use cedar shingles for the roof.

The board also retroactively approved a demolition permit for Teresa Romanelli for a house at 51 Palmer Terrace that was torn down.

Mr. Vermandois, the architect for the project, told the board, the house was originally built in 1915, but that most of it dated to the 1960s. He said he had planned to keep some of the foundation and walls “not because there was significant value but I wanted the builder to use them as a frame of reference.”

“There was frankly a miscommunication between me and the builder,” he told the board. “I wasn’t on the job site the day of the demolition.”

The board agreed to issue the permit, although Mr. Brown said that he wished Mr. Vermandois had explained to the board the reason for keeping the walls. “I wish you had been forthcoming with us about that,” he said.

Adams to Weigh in on Sag Harbor Historic Preservation Regulations Next Monday

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Julian Adams, the director of the Bureau of Community Preservation Services with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, will attend next Monday’s Sag Harbor Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board meeting to discuss historic preservation regulations, and specifically materials that should be allowed for reconstruction or renovation projects in the historic district.

That meeting will begin at 5 p.m.

Last Thursday, the ARB met to review several residential applications, including two applications for the Lighthouse Landing subdivision. Both properties, located at 18 Washington Avenue and 10 Lighthouse Lane, are proposed to have a single-family residence and an in-ground swimming pool. The ARB approved both homes, but tabled its approval for the swimming pools pending landscape plans and details about where pool equipment will be stored. Those applications will be revisited next Monday.

In other news, Susan Aminoff received approval for a gunite swimming pool and fence on Franklin Avenue; Deborah and Kevin O’Brien received approval for the removal of an existing chain link fence and the construction of a new wood fence on Joels Lane. The ARB also approved Thomas DiPrete’s plans for a cellar on Archibald Way and Shaun Woodward’s application for an addition on Suffolk Street.

Historic Family Compound Seeks Generator, Renovations

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By Kathryn G. Menu

For Cee Scott Brown, an application for a generator at a family compound that includes homes dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries was certainly uncharted territory.

However, noted Brown, chair of the Sag Harbor Village Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board (ARB), in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy which left many on the East End without power for a week or longer, it’s an application he expects his board will see more of leading into the 2013 hurricane season.

On Monday, the ARB heard an application for Michael Graff and Carol Ostrow, who last year were approved to combine two Division Street properties — one with a two-story captain’s manse built in the 1700s, and a second property that holds the Rysam-Sleight House, built in 1820.

Architect Katherine “Kitty” McCoy proposed changes to the couple’s existing building permit to allow for the location of a generator near the pool house, to replace an existing railing on the second floor deck on the east side of the captain’s manse, to remove an existing exterior basement access from the south side of the house and to replace the existing front door, sidelights and transom in kind.

“The deeper we get into this, the more details there are and it is a big property,” said McCoy, adding her application for this evening is for what she considers minor amendments.

The generator, which would not service the whole house system but would provide for heat and refrigeration, would be placed on a three-by-six-foot pad, said McCoy, and would be housed in an insulated shed that comes with the generator.

McCoy said typically, the generator will run once a week for one hour, and that could be programmed to happen mid-day and mid-week to reduce the impact on neighbors.

Brown said his concern was for neighboring property owners.

“I get the need for a generator, but if it is a self-charging thing, I think it would need to be set on a schedule that is mutually agreed on by everyone,” he said.

The applicants were approved for the generator and for the other improvements, including the replacement of the door, which McCoy said would be done in kind with historic glass.

The ARB also approved Lynn Park Charveriat’s request for two signs at the Main Street property known as the Gingerbread House, which she and her husband are transforming into their store La Maisonette.

However, the board panned a proposal to construct a sign at the top of the stairs entering the property, which people would walk under to enter the store.

“I think the consensus here is the western approach to signage might be more appropriate in Massachusetts, but not here,” said Brown.

In other news, Pierre Sussman was approved to demolish and rebuild an existing garage at 128 Jermain Avenue as well as for a proposed porch. 17 Madison Restoration, LLC, was approved for new window space at 17 Madison Street.

Caroline and Christina Hribar were approved for a cellar under the rear section of their existing house at 15 Garden Street, as well as for a second story addition above the existing kitchen, although Brown abstained from voting in favor of the project.

Brown had suggested architect Carl Hribar make the addition look less like the original house, in order to pay homage to the existing saltbox style of architecture, however Hribar said he tried but that it looked contrived.

“It will look fine,” said Brown. “It just won’t be a saltbox anymore.”

The Corner Bar to Offer Outdoor Dining

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corner bar for web

In Sag Harbor, outdoor dining was once a luxury reserved for places 
like The American Hotel, Sen Japanese Restaurant, B. Smiths and The 
Dockside Bar & Grill. These are restaurants that have their own patio 
spaces where patrons can sip a cocktail and enjoy a meal while 
admiring a bustling Main Street, or boats pulling into the village’s 
marinas and yacht clubs. 

However, in the last three years, village government has embraced the 
concept of allowing virtually all restaurants use of sidewalk space to 
promote outdoor dining in an effort to support local businesses. Now, 
after a meeting with the village’s historic preservation and 
architectural review board (ARB) and receiving approval from the State 
of New York, residents and visitors alike will enjoy the same 
privilege at one of the village’s oldest and most celebrated places to 
grab a burger and a beer — The Corner Bar. 

On Thursday, July 14, Sag Harbor attorney Miles Anderson presented The 
Corner Bar’s concept to the Sag Harbor Village ARB. The seating, which 
will be located on the Route 114 side of the building, facing Bay 
Street Theatre and Long Wharf, is located on New York State-owned 
sidewalk. According to Anderson, Corner Bar owner Jim Smyth has 
already received approval from the New York State Department of 
Transportation for the outdoor dining area, which will feature four 
tables and 12 seats. 

“More outdoor dining,” said Sag Harbor ARB Chairman Cee Scott Brown. 
“That is great.”

Smyth was unanimously approved for the seating and now will await 
approval from the New York State Liquor Authority before following 
through with the plan. 

In other ARB news, the Sunseeker Club, a firm that rents luxury yachts 
and motorboats, was approved for a sign at SGI Marinas at 50 West 
Water Street. The owners of a 20 Hamilton Street residence were also 
approved for the renovation of that house, as well as a 15 x 40 foot 
swimming pool. Robert Smithson, of 32 Eastville Road, was approved for 
a 16 x 32 foot pool in the rear of his lot. 

Lastly, Ann Castaldo, who lives on Jefferson Street directly behind 
the John Jermain Memorial Library, approached the ARB with tentative 
plans to replace the siding of her home, which currently does not have 

Castaldo was interested in using Hardiplank, a type of siding 
engineered to look like wood, but was informed by the board that in 
the historic district of Sag Harbor the ARB requires all homes use 
real wood siding like cedar clapboard. 

Castaldo said she would return with a formal application once she was 
ready to fund the project, which will be completed in phases, she said. 

The next meeting of the Sag Harbor ARB will be held on Monday, July 25 
at 5 p.m.

125 Main Street is Eyed for Demolition

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Last week, a Sag Harbor developer and his architect approached the Village of Sag Harbor Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board to test the waters on if that board would approve demolition and reconstruction, in kind, of a historic Main Street, Sag Harbor building dating back to the 1750s.

It has been about a year since local developer James Giorgio received approval by the Village of Sag Harbor to raise his commercial building at 125 Main Street, next to The Latham House. That approval was seen as a part of a restoration project designed to shore-up the building through a new foundation, but also add a new commercial space on the street level in what is now a crawl space.

However, according to Giorgio and his architect, Charles Thomas, once contractors began taking a closer look at the actual structure, they quickly realized that following through with their plans, and bringing the building up to building code and meet safety requirements, was far from possible.

“I am here to see to what level we could basically, I don’t want to say demolish, but remove the building and reconstruct it in the same proportions using materials we would present to you,” said Thomas at a Sag Harbor ARB meeting last Thursday. “But before we got into that I felt we needed to have this conversation.”

“At the end of the day, it will be the same building,” he added.

“You are talking about taking the entire building down,” asked ARB chairman Cee Scott Brown.

“We are talking about taking the entire building down,” confirmed Thomas.

According to Giorgio, one of the biggest problems his team has encountered is that the structure itself is simply in bad shape. From the ceiling separating the first and second floors, part of which is held together by tree limbs still clad in bark, but not in good shape, said Giorgio, to “a tremendous amount of rot in the walls,” Giorgio said the best bet would be to deconstruct the building and attempt to salvage as many materials as possible for the reconstruction.

The east wall of the building, added Thomas, is completely rotted out with decay, added Thomas.

“The building will look the same, but we don’t think we can salvage all of what is there,” he said. “We are trying to make this code compliant and safe for the public and it is almost impossible. I am actually not going to say ‘almost,’ it is impossible and the building is so deteriorated we don’t know where to go with anything.”

“We can start making temporary repairs to the building,” he added. “But that is all we can do at this point.”

For Giorgio, whose personal hobby is to rebuild antique motorcycles, it is not in his nature to tear something down only to replace it with something new, he noted.

“I will spend years looking for a part before I replace it,” he said, noting he believes this is the best way to salvage some of the characteristics of the building and keep the historic aesthetic of the house intact.

Brown wondered what options Giorgio and Thomas would have if the Sag Harbor ARB flatly rejected the concept.

“Are you telling me the building is in such bad shape that safety wise and even structurally it is a precarious situation,” he asked.

“I don’t know if it would withstand the renovations without a high level of risk while we are taking it apart,” said Giorgio, later adding that once certain portions of the house were removed for reconstruction, he believes the house “would fall down.”

Giorgio said if he was allowed to move forward with this plan, which would still need formal approval from the village’s ARB and planning boards, instead of raising the building and adding the commercial space in the crawl space, he would try and lower the building by 18-inches to make stairways to the existing two retail spaces on the first floor a little more accessible.

“I would not want this building to end up with all new windows, all new everything where it looks like a new building done a la 1700,” said Brown, stressing that if the ARB ultimately agreed to the plan he would like to see as much of the original building used to preserve the historic feel of the structure.

Board members Tom Horn, Sr. and Diane Schiavoni asked Giorgio and Thomas to come back to the board with formal plans for the project at the board’s next meeting, on May 23 at 5 p.m.

“It’s a big decision,” said Schiavoni. “I want to see more.”

In other ARB news, Pia Ferraris was approved for an addition at her 67 Suffolk Street home, Far Away Peace LLC at 186 Main Street was given permission to remove one spruce tree from its property, add plantings to the property and repair a driveway and fence in kind. Gail Schoentag Street was approved for a new sign announcing the “Josef Schoeffmann Gallery” at 112 Hampton Street and Thomas Iorio was approved for a new sign, “Tommy’s GLC Barber Shop” at 66 Main Street.

The next meeting of the Sag Harbor ARB is on Monday, May 23 at 5 p.m.