Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor Planning Board"

Green Light for Fire Truck Museum

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By Stephen J. Kotz

The Sag Harbor Planning Board on May 27 approved the site-plan application of Sag Harbor Antique Fire Trucks Inc. to build a museum, garage and storage facility on property it owns on the west side of the Bridgehampton Turnpike near Hildreth Street, straddling the border between the village and Southampton Town.

The corporation, a nonprofit that was spun off from the Sag Harbor Fire Department, wants to build a two-story nearly 4,000-square-foot building on the more than 2.5-acre parcel it owns.

The project received a wetland setback variance from the village Zoning Board of Appeals in 2012 and now only needs the approval of the village Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review.

According to Village Trustee Ed Deyermond, who is the vice president of the committee behind the project, the museum will give the group a place to work on and restore antique trucks owned by the department.

Sag Harbor currently has four antique trucks, two of which are restored and in storage in private garages, and two others that are still being worked on.

The museum would not be open to the public on a regular basis except for occasional open houses.

Aquaponic Farm Approved at Page Restaurant

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The Sag Harbor Planning Board approved improvements at 63 Main Street Tuesday night that will allow the building’s owner, Gerard Wawryk, to construct an aquaponic farm facility on the second floor that will grow fresh vegetables for the first floor restaurant, Page @ 63 Main.

Aquaponic farming combines hydroponics and aquaculture. Plants are cultivated in water rather than traditional soil and the water is fed with nutrients produced created by fish housed on-site. Mr. Wawryk applied to the planning board for approval to construct a second story atop an existing one-story portion of the 3,860-square-foot building. That addition will serve as a seeding, growing and aquaponics area. Mr. Wawryk also earned approval Tuesday night for a rooftop garden where vegetables will also be grown for the restaurant.

The fish raised on-site, according to Mr. Wawryk, will not be used for food in the restaurant.

The decision was approved by board members Nat Brown, Larry Perrine and Jack Tagliasacchi. Planning board chairman Neil Slevin was not present at Tuesday’s meeting and acting chairman Greg Ferraris abstained from voting due to a financial relationship with Mr. Wawryk’s partner at 63 Main Street, Joe Trainer.

In other news, at its April 22 meeting, the planning board will likely approve a change in the John Jermain Memorial Library’s plans for the restoration and expansion of its Main Street building. According to Mr. Ferraris, the library needs to move an electrical transformer, originally mounted on a pole, to the ground.

“I don’t have any issue with this,” he said, to the agreement of the rest of the board.

The April 22 meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Sag Harbor Planning Board Reviews Proposal for Aquaponic Farm at Page at 63 Main

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By Kathryn G. Menu

The farm-to-table movement has flourished on the East End for decades, many restaurants boasting kitchen gardens to supply fresh, seasonal produce to diner’s plates. For Gerard Wawryk, an owner of Page at 63 Main, while a traditional kitchen garden is out of reach for the Main Street, Sag Harbor space, he has proposed a greenhouse that would employ aquaponic farming on the second and third floor of the restaurant building.

Aquaponics is farming that combines hydroponics — cultivating plants in water — with aquaculture — raising aquatic animals, in this case fish — in a symbiotic environment where the water from the aquaculture system is fed into the hydroponic system. Nitrates and nitrites created by fish by-products serve as a nutrient for the growing plants.

According to attorney Dennis Downes, representing Wawryk at a Sag Harbor Planning Board work session on Tuesday, November 26, this concept is something Wawryk has been exploring since 2006. It is only now, said Downes, that Wawryk finds himself in the financial position to move forward with the plan, which he has been developing with the help of the Town of Southampton’s Sustainability Committee.

As a result of the project, the footprint of the building will not change, but will remain at 3,860 square feet. The proposal aims to add 835 square feet of space to the existing second floor (which does not meet the full footprint of the building) for a seeding area and construct a 481 square foot greenhouse on the rear portion of the third floor. The second story of the building will also serve as a roof garden for the restaurant.

The number of seats in the restaurant is not increasing, nor is the existing apartment, noted Downes, meaning the project does not need additional parking or wastewater treatment to move forward.

“The vegetables that will be grown will be used on the site,” added Downes. “This is not where he is going to be growing vegetables and selling them on the open market.”

Because the project will push the building size over 4,000 square-feet it will have to be reviewed under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) as a type one action, meaning the planning board will have to assess whether or not the project carries the potential to cause a significant adverse environmental impact.

The Southampton Town Sustainability Committee, added Downes, is in favor of the project and has hopes other restaurants will be able to look at sustainable food systems like aquaponics to cultivate produce.

According to Terry Chappel, a consultant working on the project, the aquaponic system is closed loop, and is considered a low-density system or one that uses a minimal amount of fish to produce the nitrites and nitrates needed for the vegetables.

“We are essentially using the fish to start a biological cycle, a nitrification cycle, and it’s a very sustainable way of doing this because we are not having to import salt based chemicals from Morocco, which is normally the case,” he said.

“It’s very easy, low labor, simple and clean,” added Chappel.

The restaurant, he added, will be limited in what it can grow in the aquaponic system and will focus primarily on leafy greens. Seasonal beds are planned for the second floor and more conventional vegetables like tomatoes will also be grown in season.

“From a use perspective, nothing jumps out at me other than what if any are the implications of providing additional space of this size,” said planning board chairman Neil Slevin. “That is what we should probably think about.”

Board member Larry Perrine, the CEO and a partner at Channing Daughters Winery, asked how often the system would need to be flushed and what kind of additional wastewater would that produce.

Chappel said once the biology in the system working properly, it would maintain itself, but if something did occur the system would need to be flushed which would create wastewater.

Sag Harbor Village Environmental Planning Consultant Richard Warren suggested the board be furnished with pictures of an existing system to better understand how it works.

Sag Harbor Planning Board Moves Baron’s Cove Inn Restaurant Forward Despite Neighbor Protest

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Despite protests by neighbors, some of whom had to battle for the right to speak, on Tuesday night the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board issued a negative declaration under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) for a proposal to create a restaurant space at Baron’s Cove Inn on West Water Street

That means the planning board believes the proposal does not carry the potential to cause a significant adverse environmental impact on the community.

Cape Advisors, which is developing the property, will still need to gain site plan approval from the Sag Harbor Planning Board for the 79 seat restaurant. Cape Advisors has asked to demolish an existing one-story lobby/office at Baron’s Cove Inn, which the firm is in contract to purchase, and replace it with a two-story restaurant.

While the restaurant seating will be located on the second floor, the proposed bar space for the restaurant is on the first floor next to the lobby. It is that aspect of the plan that has drawn the ire and concern of neighbors, as well as the not-for-profit Save Sag Harbor. The fear is because the bar is located on a different floor than the restaurant that it will become a destination bar space. Years ago, neighbors had to deal with Rocco’s, a nearby nightclub that many say ruined their quality of life.

In addition to the restaurant, the planning board is also reviewing a concession stand near the swimming pool.

On Tuesday night, Cape Advisors partner David Kronman reiterated a list of deed restrictions his firm has agreed to place on the property — restrictions that would run with the property even if it sold to another company.

Under the restrictions, Cape Advisors has agreed to have last call for any alcohol in the outdoor dining area on a proposed patio no later than 10 p.m., all outdoor background music will end at 9 p.m. nightly, last call at the restaurant’s bar will be no later than midnight and the hours of the restaurant bar, said Kronman, will be tied to the hours of the dining room. However, he added, room service will still be permitted to sell alcohol.

Cape Advisors has also agreed to prohibit bottle service of liquor and will not allow cover charges or entry fees, which are common calling cards of nightclubs.

The pool will also be restricted to hotel guests and their guests, said Kronman and will be closed at 9 p.m. as will the outdoor concession area.

“There is nothing more we can offer short of diluting our brand and the guest experience at the hotel,” said Kronman. “Cape Advisors believes we have a sensible project that is consistent with the village code. We are vested in Sag Harbor, here for the long run and have always tried to do the right thing.”

Planning board chairman Neil Slevin said he had heard the company was also considering valet parking on busy summer nights to protect the neighborhood from a parking problem, but Cape Advisors’ attorney Tiffany Scarlato said the 81 parking spaces in the inn’s parking lot fulfill the parking requirements in the village code.

In light of neighbor concerns, village attorney Denise Schoen said the board is limited in the way it assesses this project. First, she said, the board cannot assume Cape Advisors intends to break the law and convert the bar into a nightclub, for example. Second, a bar is only permitted under the village code in the hotel/motel district as an accessory to a restaurant, and only building inspector Tim Platt can make that determination.

Slevin said despite moving forward with the negative declaration, he would ask Platt to review the full application and ensure it does meet the village code.

He also asked Kronman for details on what the concession stand will offer.

Slevin said he believed protections in the code coupled with enforcement, deed restrictions and the scope of the project would ultimately be protective of neighbors. Many issues will also be hammered out in site plan review, said Slevin.

Before the board could act, neighbors began protesting, arguing their right to speak. Zelda Wirtschafter said she was concerned about parking, particularly now that parking is limited on Long Island Avenue, which could send cars onto neighborhood side streets.

“It seems there is more likely a potential use of that bar as a destination place for people in Sag Harbor to go there for a drink rather than go there just for the restaurant,” said Wirtschafter who added that she believed parking was a SEQRA issue.

“They meet the parking standards in the code,” said Schoen. “There is not much more you can do beyond that.”

At that point, Slevin tried to cut the conversation short, much to the ire of the crowd.

Neighbor Angela Scott said she believes the square footage of the downstairs bar area will allow for 265 people, 142 in the lobby lounge, 70 on the side covered porch and 53 on the front porch.

“It’s not just that it is on the ground floor,” said Scott. “The problem is the potential size of the bar area.”

Susan Mead, representing Save Sag Harbor, said her board was also concerned about calling this bar an accessory use, as they see it as a second primary use because of the bar’s location and potential size. For a second primary use a property owner would need zoning board of appeals (ZBA) approval.

“This is a very scary prospect,” said Mead. “It is an expansion of the code that could be done over and over and over again. It is a horrible precedent.”

Baron’s Cove Inn Restaurant Debate Continues Next Tuesday

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The Sag Harbor Planning Board will continue a public hearing next week on a proposal by Cape Advisors to re-develop the Baron’s Cove Inn on West Water Street in Sag Harbor through the addition of a two-story building, which will house a lobby and bar on the first floor and a restaurant on the second story.

The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 25.

Last month, a group of neighbors emerged with concerns about the proposed development, specifically that the bar area for the restaurant is proposed for the first floor.

Among other things, neighbors have asked that Cape Advisors move the bar area to the second floor and have asked that all music be kept inside, rather than allowing outside music on the patio near the pool area.

Neighbors have said they are concerned, despite the fact that Cape Advisors has offered a series of concessions including limiting alcohol service to midnight, that under the current plan the downstairs of the restaurant with a bar and lobby area able to accommodate a significant number of people and the space could become a popular destination in the evenings as such.

Sag Harbor Planning Board Takes A Closer Look at Baron’s Cove Bar

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BAR 1.2

Images courtesy of NY Architectural Renderings.

The new Baron’s Cove Inn, conceived as a family friendly destination resort, is allowed by village code to have a restaurant. However this week members of the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board said they would like to ensure a bar space within that restaurant does not have the ability to evolve into a nightlife destination similar to Rocco’s – the establishment on that same stretch of West Water Street where throbbing disco music plagued residents for years.

The owners of Baron’s Cove Inn, KBR Associates, and Cape Advisors, the firm that will manage the resort once renovations are completed, have already gained permission to renovate the exterior of the existing motel. Now, the firms are before the village planning board to remove an existing office and construct a new lobby and restaurant space overlooking Sag Harbor’s waterfront.

The restaurant, which will have a total of 87 seats, including 18 that will be moved outdoors in the summer season, is allowed as an accessory use to the motel under village law. Nightclubs and taverns are prohibited under the same law.

The companies have proposed the restaurant on the second story of the new building, with the restaurant’s bar and motel lobby on the first floor.

On Tuesday, October 25 during a Sag Harbor Village Planning Board meeting, board member Greg Ferraris noted there is about 1,000 square-feet of space next to the bar area that is undesignated.

“It looks like it could all be a bar,” he said.

Curtis Sachs, Cape Advisors’ project manager for the Baron’s Cove project, explained the area would be lobby space, and similar to C/o The Maidstone in East Hampton the lobby and bar would share space.

Ferraris replied his concern was being able to differentiate between seats in the lobby and the eight designated seats in the bar.

“Will there be waitress service in that lobby area,” he wondered.

Ferraris explained that neighbors have expressed a desire for the village to prevent the possibility of another nightlife destination like Rocco’s — that space is now taken by the defunct West Water Street condominium project.

“We are as far from a nightclub as you can get,” said Sachs. “This is a family friendly resort. It really is just an amenity for the hotel itself.”

“I think Greg’s concern is transparency, and that we understand what it is and how many people occupy the space,” added board member Larry Perrine.

Sachs presented board members with images of the restaurant, lobby and bar area to give them a feel for the aesthetic the company hopes to create at Baron’s Cove Inn.

Jack Tagliasacchi, a planning board member and restaurant owner in Sag Harbor, said he was concerned this was a full-blown restaurant and not one that would be an accessory to the motel, particularly in the summer.

While Tagliasacchi supported the idea of a restaurant at the new Baron’s Cove Inn, he also clarified that the planning board needs to ensure the space doesn’t evolve into another popular nightlife spot.

“We will be running the restaurant and to do anything beyond a family friendly business would go against our brand,” assured Sachs. “It would erode everything we have done in Cape May and in the other projects we are developing here.”

Cape Advisors has completed several historic re-development projects in Cape May, New Jersey, and is also approved to re-develop the former Bulova Watchcase Factory into luxury condominiums later this fall.

Sachs added the majority of the resort’s revenue is projected to come from room sales, and operating a noisy restaurant and bar would not be in keeping with running a high end hotel.

“Knowing the summer months, your restaurant will gross more than your rooms then,” said Tagliasacchi, adding the resort will bring tourism into Sag Harbor, which is a good thing for the local economy.

Board chairman Neil Slevin wondered if the board could place covenants on the property to protect neighbors.

Sag Harbor environmental planning consultant Rich Warren noted that the law specifically prohibits a restaurant with the characteristics of a bar or nightclub. Village attorney Denise Schoen said the board can also demand strict enforcement from the village’s code enforcement department, which could go as far as to count the seats in Baron’s Cove bar each Saturday night to ensure the crowd was not dominating the space.

Tiffany Scarlato, an attorney representing KBR Associates and Cape Advisors, said her clients would provide the board with a comprehensive narrative on the intended use of the lobby space, as well as a layout of all the planned furniture and seating in both the bar and lobby space before the board’s November 22 meeting.

Discussion on Harbor Heights Market Continues

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By Kathryn G. Menu

While Harbor Heights Gas Station owner John Leonard is hoping to bring a little convenience to Sag Harbor residents with a proposed “country market” included in the re-development of the decades-old gas station, getting approval for the project appears like it will be anything but easy.

On Tuesday night, at a Sag Harbor Village Planning Board meeting work session, the board discussed a number of issues building inspector Tim Platt has raised with initial plans for the project, as well as a number of outstanding questions that could change the design and scope of the development.

Leonard has proposed to demolish the existing 1,874 square foot gas station on Route 114 and replace it with a new 1,842 square foot building. Within the gas station, Leonard proposes a 600 square-foot “country market.” Gas pumps, now on Route 114, are proposed to be moved to the north side of the property and covered with a standard gas station canopy, and would boast an additional pump.

The project would also expand the Sag Harbor Service Station, a business owned by Gregory Miller, from 1,245 square feet to 1,595 square feet, and would also include landscaping and a curb cut to create one entry and exit to the station.
In a January 24 memo, building inspector Tim Platt said the size of the convenience store within the station does not include spaces in refrigeration units or candy racks located below the counter. That would put the size of the store over the maximum 600-square-feet allowed for a convenience store in the village code.

“In talking with John today, his concern is the store gets so small if you have to include the refrigeration units, which are about three-feet deep,” said attorney Dennis Downes. “It really cuts into the display area and we would probably have to ask the zoning board of appeals for a variance or a new determination.”

The project already will need two variances from the ZBA — to maintain its setback to Route 114, and for a side yard setback to a neighboring property.

Downes said he is also awaiting a determination on whether or not the new canopies are considered a part of the gas station, or are viewed as accessory — an issue Platt previously raised as a question. If they are viewed as accessory, that will require a height variance from the ZBA.

“We need to come to consensus on some of these issues,” said Downes.

Sag Harbor Village environmental planning consultant Rich Warren also wondered aloud if the project would constitute the expansion of a non-conforming use, for both the gas station and the service station, and asked Platt make a judgment on that issue before the project moves forward.

Warren also added that because the project proposed 26 parking spaces, it will likely need to go through State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) by the village.

“I’ve gone up there and they have the rendering inside and I walked around to envision the layout, which was helpful,” said board member Greg Ferraris. “It’s a huge improvement, safety wise, up front, and I think we just have to get past some of these other minor issues.”

JJML Clears Environmental Review
After over a year of reviewing plans for a 7,725 square-foot modern addition to the historic John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor, the village planning board signed off on its environmental review of the plan Tuesday night, stating it will not have a significant adverse impact on neighbors, or the village at large.

This paves the way for the library to seek approvals from the village’s historic preservation and architectural review board (ARB) as well as a number of variances it needs from the ZBA. According to JJML director Catherine Creedon, because of the village calendar, the library has missed the deadline for the February ZBA meeting and the project will likely be presented at its March meeting. She added the project will not likely be presented to the ARB until after it is viewed by the ZBA.

It will also open the door to voter-approved $10 million in funding for the project. In August of 2009, over 80 percent of voters who turned out for a public referendum on the project approved the funding, but the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York — a lending agency for public projects — will not release those funds until any proposal has cleared its environmental review.

The library project will be back before the planning board for site plan approval in February, which Warren said could be wrapped up if all goes smoothly by March.

Headley Studio Plans Revamped

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Following a determination by Sag Harbor Village Building Inspector Tim Platt, Natasha Esch, the newest owner of the former Headley Studio on Madison Street in Sag Harbor, has re-designed plans to consolidate two existing retail spaces into one

Esch had hoped to take two existing retail spaces and a one bedroom, first floor apartment and create a 1,990 square foot retail space. The plans also called for the creation of a mezzanine space on the second floor for the retail shop, carved out of a second story apartment, which would have been reduced into an efficiency apartment.

However, those plans hinged on Esch being allowed to expand into a deck area on the rear of the building without exceeding the square footage limits, and this week, Platt said the plan would not meet setback requirements laid out in the village code if the deck was included.

Esch’s attorney, Miles Anderson, said he was “quite startled” by Platt’s memo in that building permits were issued for the deck and no less than two certificate of occupancies have been given to property owners since the deck was erected.

“We came to the conclusion rather than fight it out with the board of appeals, the sensible thing would be to revise the plan around it,” said Anderson at a planning board meeting on Tuesday, December 28.

Instead, Esch proposed a similar plan, building a second story on an existing first story portion of the building with an additional two-story addition on the north of the building. An extended patio is also a part of the design, which Anderson said Platt was amenable to.

New plans show a 1,972 square foot retail space on the first floor and in the mezzanine area of the second floor with a 542 square foot efficiency apartment on the second floor.

While Sag Harbor Village Planning Consultant Rich Warren asked to take time to review the plans before the board makes a determination, because the plan complies with the code and is under 3,000 square feet in size, board member Greg Ferraris said it could be waived from planning board approval under the new village code.

The project will be revisited at the board’s January 25 meeting.

In other planning board news, the board will not sign off on the environmental review of the proposed plan to expand the John Jermain Memorial Library until its January 25 meeting, after board members have time to review a resolution drafted by village attorney Anthony Tohill, who was absent from the meeting.

Elevation of Historic, Main Street Building in Sag Harbor Nears Approval

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web planning board

Sag Harbor Village environmental planning consultant Richard Warren shows concerned neighbors a map of an all but approved subdivision at Route 114 and Lighthouse Lane.

James Giorgio’s hopes to raise his historic building at 125 Main Street three feet and add new retail at the basement level, giving the space Main Street access, will likely be approved next month after the project received praise and no criticism at a public hearing during Tuesday night’s Sag Harbor Village Planning Board meeting.

On Tuesday night, architect Chuck Thomas explained that in addition to raising the building, over 500 cubic-feet of village-owned soil would need to be excavated at the front of the property in order to create the new retail space. A brick patio is also proposed at the rear of the building, with a pergola, as well as a brick sidewalk that would link Church Street to Main Street.

Ernest Schade, a Sag Harbor resident who owned the building for 20 years said the project was crucial to the structure’s viability. He said the building, which dates back to the 1750s and is located next to one of Sag Harbor’s most celebrated historic structures, The Latham House, is sturdy, but that the cedar cladding the building is rotting.

“I would hate to see this building collapse because it is being eaten away,” said Schade, noting there are so many openings under the house that rats were once an ongoing problem.

Michael Eicke, who owns Christy’s Art Center just a few doors down from 125 Main Street, seconded Schade, noting it is structures like Giorgio’s that give Sag Harbor its special character.

“If this building is to survive another 120 years, it has to have a new base,” he said.

Eicke added the creation of street-level retail at the location will open up the end of Main Street.

“It keeps a lot of people away and to survive, again, you need a window and you need an entrance on the street level,” he said.

Sag Harbor resident Dolores Fenn said she wondered about the need for an 8.6-ft. ceiling height in Sag Harbor, but quieted when learning the overall height of 125 Main is expected to fall eight inches below the ridge of The Latham House.

The planning board is expected to approve the site plan for 125 Main Street at its May 25 meeting.

A handful of neighbors of a 3.2acre, six-lot subdivision at Route 114, Lighthouse Lane and Washington Avenue approached the board concerned about what would eventually be developed on the properties. While one lot is proposed to keep an existing two-story, single family dwelling, the remaining five lots would be developed at a further date.

Peter Rocker, a resident on Lighthouse Lane, said he was worried about whether the houses would not be custom, but spec homes, and about their size.

“The houses, each would be a custom home on a given lot,” said attorney Dennis Downes. “There is no plan to do a subdivision like you would think in Levittown.”

Neighbors, including Barbara Reese and Jackie Fuchs, joined Rocker in crowding around a map provided by Sag Harbor Planning Consultant Rich Warren, but without any plans yet laid out for the homes, did not make any more comments to the board.

The subdivision may be approved next month.

In other planning news, both the retail spaces that house East End Prime and the Juicy Naam on Division Street, were granted changes of use, which will allow them to continue to operate as they have for the last six months. Dorothy Moorhead was also granted a waiver for site plan approval to construct a deck at the rear of her 34 Main Street building. Jack Tagliasacchi, a member of the board, was granted approval for four outdoor tables at his restaurant Il Cappuccino. Tagliasacchi recused himself from the final vote.

First Legal Accessory Apartment Approved by Sag Harbor

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The first accessory apartment in the residential district in Sag Harbor was approved last Tuesday night, November 24 in the inaugural session of the village’s new Accessory Apartment Review Board. The committee was appointed by village trustees to carry out an aspect of the new village code that seeks to provide affordable housing and bring longstanding illegal apartments in Sag Harbor up to code.

Allan and Jerilyn Morrel were approved for a permit for the accessory apartment by board members Neil Slevin, Gregory Ferraris and Larry Perrine – all members of the village planning board, who will annually rotate seats on the review board. The apartment, on Brandywine Drive, will encompass 650 square-feet of space that once housed an indoor pool.

“It’s kind of great to see something we implemented in the last three or four years coming to fruition, so thank you,” said Ferraris, a former mayor who recently oversaw the revision of the village code.

Ferraris said he believed the Morrels met every requirement of the new code, which allows the review board to approve 50 new accessory apartments in the village.

Accessory apartments in the residential district in Sag Harbor are allowed under the new village code as long as the apartment is in an owner-occupied building. Only one accessory apartment is allowed per home, containing only two bedrooms and a maximum of 650 square feet.

“The building inspector has the responsibility and the authority to make sure it adheres to the new code,” explained Ferraris. “The only decision we really make is whether it is suitable in the neighborhood.”

No neighbors voiced or wrote in complaints about the Morrels’ proposal.

Ferraris said he believed other individuals had approached the building department about applying for the apartments, but no applications had been filed to his knowledge. Regardless, he was pleased about the first approval.

“We looked at it both ways,” he said. “It is a way to provide affordable housing just by the size of the apartments and it could bring existing apartments into code compliance.”