The building housing Tutto il Giorno Italian restaurant will be razed and replaced with a larger one if a developer’s proposal is approved by Sag Harbor Village.
By Stephen J. Kotz
If the owners of the lots housing the Tutto il Giorno Italian restaurant and the Urban Zen clothing store get their way, a major change will be coming to Bay Street in Sag Harbor in the form of a new 5,700-square-foot, two-story building that would evoke the memory of an inn that stood nearby a century or more ago.
Brian DeSesa, the attorney representing 6 Bay Street Partners, the property’s owners, appeared before the village Zoning Board of Appeals Tuesday night to gauge members’ reaction to the project, for which a formal application has yet to be made.
Mr. DeSesa said the building would be cedar shingled, with a large wraparound porch, and resemble a hotel that once stood on or near the site of the restaurant and store. (In a photograph found in The Express archive, the building he referred to appears to be on the site of the Sag Harbor Pets building.)
According to a floor plan of the building, it will house a first-floor restaurant with tables seating 74 people, a bar with seats for 18 patrons, and an additional 24 seats outside.
It would also be much taller—at 32 feet—than the building occupying the space now. Mr. DeSesa said.
“I do anticipate resistance from the neighbors to the rear,” he said. “They have already told me they want a vacant lot there, but that’s not going to happen.”
Mr. DeSesa added that the project calls for the two lots at 4 and 6 Bay Street to be merged. The design would require only a single rear-yard variance because a portion of the building would sit as close as 5.8 feet from the property line, where a 15-foot setback is required. Otherwise, the new building will meet setbacks, he told the ZBA, unlike the current buildings.
Mr. DeSesa added that the building would be built back from the sidewalk, removing it from a flood zone that would have required it to be elevated an additional 9 feet. He said the owners recognized that a 41-foot-tall building would have been far less welcome than the 32-foot-tall structure proposed.
“Part of the impact is the mass of it,” said ZBA member Scott Baker. “In the rear, it’s not just the setback, it’s the mass.”
Other board members said they were not sure how to proceed. “I appreciate you coming to us first,” said board member Brendan Skislock. “But to me it’s a little early.”
Board Chairman Anton Hagen said he would like to know what the Planning Board thinks of the application, but he agreed with member Tim McGuire that the ZBA would welcome an application that reduced the degree of nonconformity of the property.
Mr. DeSesa told the board an application would be withdrawn for a variance to waive a requirement for seven additional parking spaces so Tutto il Giorno could add 21 seats. He said the new plan would not require a parking variance.
The attorney said the project would be considered a Type I action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act because of the scale of the new construction. Type I action typically require an environmental impact statement unless an applicant is able to address a review board’s environmental concerns ahead of time.