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Hamptons Life

Sep 25, 2017 1:03 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Billy Joel Denied Property Variance In Straw Vote

Billy Joel's Bay Street property. CHRIS PERAINO
Sep 25, 2017 1:15 PM

In “A Minor Variation,” a song from his last studio album as a recording artist, Billy Joel sings, “But still in all it’s a small consultation / I just define it as a minor variation.”

The zoning board disagrees.

The Sag Harbor Village Zoning Board of Appeals denied Mr. Joel’s proposal to renovate his Bay Street property during its meeting last week.

Submitting under the name Maritime Properties LLC, Mr. Joel applied for a backyard variance that would raise and rotate his home. He wishes to realign the house with the warehouse that sits adjacent.

His proposal was rejected in a 3-2 straw vote.

Tim McGuire, the chairman of Sag Harbor’s ZBA and one of the “no” votes, cited the wishes of Mr. Joel’s neighbors who oppose the project because it would block their views and disrupt the street’s character.

During the meeting, Mr. McGuire told Mr. Joel’s attorney, Jon Tarbet, that Mr. Joel may “want to reconsider this and just withdraw the whole application and not do anything that remotely resembles what he wants to do now.”

Mr. Joel has been attempting to remodel his Bay Street property since June and the proposal underwent a number of iterations.

In June, Mr. Tarbet presented the board with a statement from Sag Harbor Building Inspector Tom Preiato that said he believes a property owner can combine multiple uses in a building in a village district without having to appeal to the ZBA.

The ZBA has not yet heard testimony on that matter and decided to solely address the proposed variance during last week’s meeting.

The other two board members to vote “no” were Robert Plumb and Karl Kaiser, according to the meeting’s minutes. Jennifer Ponzini and Scott Baker voted in favor of Mr. Joel’s request, while Susan Mead recused herself, as Mr. Joel previously donated $500,000 to the Sag Harbor Partnership—the nonprofit working to buy and rebuild the fire-ravaged Sag Harbor Cinema—a group Ms. Mead is affiliated with.

Since last week’s decision was a straw vote—an unoffical verbal declaration of “yes” or “no”—a formal decision will not be made until the ZBA’s October 17 meeting. It is expected to yield the same results.

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The photos above are of the wrong building. The ca. 1790 Federal house is to the right, faces Rector St. as it has since built and is only attached to the above building by a breezeway. When Sag Harbor's Historic was created in 1974 it was and is still listed as a contributing structure in the National Historic Register.

What is shown is the former Bayview Fishing Station which is on the same lot. The shed building that fronts on Bay St. was renovated and the large barn-like structure ...more
By Just sitting on the taffrail (31), Southampton on Sep 26, 17 8:53 AM