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Back-to-back meetings fill Dering Harbor Village Hall

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Dering Harbor Village Hall.
REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Dering Harbor Village Hall.

About two dozen residents, architects, lawyers and members of two Village of Dering Harbor boards were in Village Hall on Saturday, November 21 for a trustees’ meeting followed by the Architectural Review Board.

First up was Mayor Tim Hogue who ran a brief meeting of the Board of Trustees. The main business was a resolution to apply for a New York State grant and bond issue to cover purchase of an new water tank and emergency generator — two items about which Suffolk County Health Services “has been on our case” for some time, the mayor said.

There would be no commitment on the village’s part to follow-up on the application, he emphasized, but the paperwork required, if the village decided at a later date to proceed, had to be filed in advance — and by December 1.

Under the terms of the agreement, the state would cover 25 percent of the cost of the tank and generator and would provide a 30-year bond of up to $500,000 with no interest.

Mr. Hogue pointed out that the board had been looking for some time for ways to cover these costs and this might be one good solution. In answer to a question from the audience, he said $500,000 was the outside estimate of what might be needed. He reiterated that before any action was taken on the application, there would be “plenty of discussion” and public hearings.

Following a brief discussion, the board agreed to authorize the mayor to submit the non-binding application for the grant and bond.

In other business, the mayor said that the village was still waiting for county approval of the new well and the DEC’s permit for mitigation of the flooding on Shore Road.

Before the board adjourned in executive session to discuss a legal matter, Mr. Hogue announced that the sale of the Boylan property was about to close and that the buyer, Sag Harbor resident Steven Gambrel, was in the audience with his proposed plans for a new residence on the 1.5 acre property.

Since members of the Architectural Review Board were already present as well as several residents, it was an opportunity to look at the plans, he said, although ARB comments would not be binding until the plans were formally submitted for review.

John Colby presided as chair pro tem with members Heather Brownlie, Rob Ferris and Susannah Rose, who recused herself during the discussion of the following application.

• Rose addition: The architect for Brandon and Susannah Rose described plans for the proposed addition to their 24 Shore Road home, building out from what was at one time a one-story porch off the kitchen. The plans had been revised following a meeting with the Zoning Board of Appeals, which had approved a variance request.

ARB members commented on the appropriate use of materials and the effort to maintain the historic character of the house. One resident complimented the applicants for showing “how to do it right” and another was pleased at the village’s flexibility in making an addition on a small plot possible.

The proposed addition was approved.
• Dering Woods Lane LLC: After months of discussion and following another long meeting with the ARB, the board finally rejected the LLC’s latest application for a proposed residence at 1 Dering Woods Lane.

A second set of revised plans was received about the third week in September, Mr. Colby said, and asked Joel Sunshine, the lead manager of the LLC, and architect John Scarlota to talk about the changes.

Mr. Scarlota referred to a scale model of the project, noting that more continuity had been provided between the two-story center and the one-story wings of the building, reducing the “mass” of the center section. The model also clearly showed that the garage was detached. A new artist’s rendering did not show the garage, making it clear that it was not part of the residential structure.

Mr. Sunshine added that the design of the house fit the requirements of the village code and that the LLC had been cooperative, had listened to the board and residents and had made many changes as a result of their suggestions. He noted that the first application had been filed over a year ago — “we want to go forward,” he said.

The Deutches, village residents, commented on the mixture of architectural styles and the mass of the center portion –— it looks like “a mid-Island, suburban home,” Stephanie Deutch said.

Resident Ken Walker said the design looked like a “quintessential plan for a group rental,” which indicated to him that the village needed to strengthen its codes and enforce the ban on group rentals. That’s just confusing the issue, resident Patrick Parcells said; the laws are already in place.

In defense, Mr. Sunshine responded that actually this was a “terrible design” for a group house, for any number of reasons that he described. Party houses don’t look like this, he said.

After consulting with the board, Mr. Colby asked the applicants for more time to look at the plans, some of which had only been received recently, and to review the differences between these and the earlier submission. Mr. Sunshine, LLC partner Brian Feinstein and the their attorney, Tony Pasco, asked for a brief recess and on their return told the board that it would not be in anyone’s benefit to grant an extension. The board’s objection that the artist’s rendering did not show the garage was moot; the plans clearly indicated the location, Mr. Sunshine said.

Mr. Colby then polled the board and, citing three provisions of the code, the board voted to deny the application of the Dering Woods Lane LLC on these grounds: 1) the massive size of the center section was out of proportion and although some modifications had been made, they were superficial; 2) the color renderings were not consistent with the plans submitted to the building inspector; and 3) the style of the house was not consistent with the various styles and designs within the village. The style was “somewhere between a Greek Revival and a ‘suburban medical office building.’”

And on that note the meeting was adjourned.