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Mar 30, 2015 2:12 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Historical Society Seeks East Hampton Village Permission For New Barn, Maidstone Club Wants Small Practice Facility

Mar 31, 2015 4:47 PM

The East Hampton Historical Society approached the Village Zoning Board of Appeals on Friday for a special permit and area variance that would allow the organization to move the Hedges Barn, now situated down Edwards Lane in the village, across the street to the village’s Mulford Farm, an English colonial farmstead run by the Historical Society.

The area variance would allow the Historical Society to place the barn 10 feet from the side property line, where a 34-foot setback is required. The structure, since it is accessory to the property, would exceed the maximum gross floor area by a few hundred feet, and so the Historical Society needs relief from that requirement as well.

Historical Society Director Richard Barons said at a public hearing before the ZBA that the placement of the barn will restore the vista to what it was in the 1920s, before some of the buildings there were destroyed.

“We relied upon Childe Hassam’s drawings,” Mr. Barons said, referring to a well-known local artist. “He was enamored of Mulford Farm and was etching it pre-hurricane.”

The plan is to disassemble the old barn board by board this spring and then transport it to the Mulford property for reassembly and restoration in the fall. The Historical Society will try to preserve original materials but will replace weathered shingles with ones that match the original ones.

Antique barn consultants examined the structure and determined that its hand-hewn frame was in good condition, according to the Historical Society. The barn leans a bit, and its shingles are barely hanging on. It was once part of a farming homestead that sat where the northern wing of the East Hampton Library is now, according to East Hampton Village Historic Preservation Advisor Robert Hefner. The house that the barn belonged to is now the Town Hall building, where the supervisor’s office is located.

Mr. Barons said the barn is unlike any other English barn, because it has stables for horses. He said the plan is to use it to store and display 18th and 19th century farming equipment.

At some point, the barn was moved to a residential property on Edwards Lane, but it is unclear when or why. Today, it is owned by the Rattray family, who are donating it to the village.

The project is possible because of a preexisting partnership between the society and fashion designer Ralph Lauren, according to Mr. Barons. The two organizations previously had worked together to work on the Mulford property. Ralph Lauren, which has several stores in East Hampton, is selling custom East Hampton Historical Society apparel and accessories, and 50 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the restoration.

“When the Hedges Barn came to our attention several years ago, we saw a building that was in pretty fragile condition,” he said. “It’s a rare survival of an 18th century farm building in the village, and we wanted to see if there was a possible way to move it to another farm. The Hedges and Mulfords were good buddies.”

ZBA members seemed fairly positive about the society’s request. A decision will come at its next meeting.

Maidstone Club Aims 
For Practice Facility

The Maidstone Club on East Dune Lane is requesting a special permit and area variances from the ZBA to build a 1,102-square-foot practice facility, with a 214-square-foot patio and entrance, on one of its driving ranges.

During a public hearing, David Eagan, the attorney representing the club, said the structure would be used for professional training for the club’s membership and would help the club continue to offer training even in wet weather.

According to the ZBA, the club needs a variance from its rear yard setback—the structure should be 55 feet from the property line but is only proposed to be 41 feet from it. Additionally, the structure would be in excess of 250 square feet in its gross floor area, and its height exceeds the 14-foot maximum, at almost 20 feet.

Mr. Eagan said he disagrees with the building inspector’s determination that the application come before the ZBA for variances. He said the structure is not accessory since it is for the sports club to use on a regular basis, meaning it would not need to get an area variance, nor would it need a setback variance because the structure is proposed to be near to a private road on its own property.

The building, which would be tucked into a hollow, would have heating, but no water, sanitary facilities or parking.

“We have submitted substantial evidence of the balancing test—the benefit to the club is not outweighed by any detriment to the neighborhood,” Mr. Eagan said.

The hearing was closed without comment.

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