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ZBA: Chequit pool project gets extension

JULIE LANE PHOTO |  Architect Bill Yall outlined plans for a proposed house expansion at 72 Ram Island Drive to ZBA members.
Architect Bill Yall outlined plans for a proposed house expansion at 72 Ram Island Drive to ZBA members.

The Shelter Island Zoning Board of Appeals has agreed to extend for one year its approval of an application to construct a swimming pool and patio at the Chequit Inn.
Owners James and Linda Eklund won a bid in the winter of 2012 to have a pool installed on the property. Cape Advisors, a New York City-based development company and potential Chequit buyer had maintained there would be no purchase if the application was rejected.

But shortly after gaining the ZBA’s go-ahead, Cape Advisors backed out of the deal to purchase the inn and restaurant, possibly “because of financial problems of their own,” Mr. Eklund told the ZBA at its February 26 meeting.

There were issues with the Heights Property Owners Corporation and delays in getting approvals from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, Mr. Eklund said  A number of Shelter Island Heights residents had tried to fight the pool installation, concerned about potential noise emanating from the pool area. Noise experts representing both the neighbors and Cape Advisors worked on solutions that finally led to the ZBA’s approval of the plan.

But after Cape Advisors backed off from the purchase, the project was in limbo. Now Mr. Eklund wants to go ahead with the pool’s construction, but needs to restart the process of gaining Health Department approval, a likely three- to four-month process, he told the ZBA.

James and Linda Eklund also own the Ram’s Head Inn.

House expansion
Robert and Genevieve Nichole Lynch want to enlarge their existing nonconforming house at 72 Ram Island Drive. Mr. Lynch and his representatives made the case before the ZBA, explaining the plans would enable them to add a family room. But they need a special permit because plans call for work on more than 50 percent of the existing structure. Essentially, they want to  knock down most of the existing house and rebuild it from a deck up, although architect Bill Yall said they might have to rebuild from the foundation. In any case, that foundation would have to be expanded to accommodate the added room, he said.

The expansion would result in variances from required 25-foot setbacks to side yard setbacks of 14.2 feet on one side and 12.8 feet on the other.

Two letters from neighbors were supportive, according to Town Attorney Laury Dowd.

The proposed expansion would be outward, not upward, according to the Lynch’s representative, Bruce Anderson. He characterized the project as “substantial reconstruction, but not substantial expansion.” And he pledged the family would agree to conditions that would prohibit ever adding a second story to the rebuilt structure.

“He’s trying to make a better life for his family — that’s what’s driving this application,” Mr. Anderson said about Mr. Lynch.

The expanded house would be slightly larger, better constructed and more modern, he told the ZBA.

Without blocking water views for either the Lynches or their neighbors, the family plans to add some vegetation that would afford them and the neighbors privacy, Mr. Yall said.

While the hearing was closed, the ZBA will accept written comments through March 12 and will be discussing the application at the March 19 work session.

Pool construction
Richard Ludlow, through his agent, Wayne Bruyn of RBL-SI LLC, seeks ZBA approval for a 50-foot by 10-foot lap pool on his property at 48 Winthrop Road. The family spends its winter in Colorado, but the rest of the year on Shelter Island and Mr. Ludlow needs the pool for therapy for a bad back, Mr. Bruyn said.

To position the pool where the Ludlows want it would require  a variance on the northwesterly side yard line of 15.1 feet instead of the required 30-foot setback. There would be no way to avoid the need for a variance without resulting in having to change the driveway, Mr. Bruyn said. To do that would require knocking down trees and a retaining wall, he said. And to angle the pool differently would force people trying to access the front door of the to walk along the pool’s edge, he said.

Again, the hearing was closed, but written comments may be submitted through March 12 and the application will be discussed further at the March 19 ZBA work session.