New Plans For Billy Joel's Sag Harbor House Renovations - 27 East

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New Plans For Billy Joel’s Sag Harbor House Renovations

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author on May 4, 2018

It sounds like a property musician Billy Joel would own.

Opposite Sag Harbor Bay—between Rysam and Rector streets—what used to be a bait shop is Mr. Joel’s Bay Street home. He actually owns two buildings there, one on each corner. The second structure is caddy corner on Rector Street. The two-structure residence is quirky in shape, and zoned commercially.

Mr. Joel would prefer the residence be one structure. The Sag Harbor Village Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review hadn’t been on the same page, but at a meeting on Thursday, April 26, the board members carried a different tune when they heard Mr. Joel’s new plans.

“We spent more than a year and a long time trying to get permits to build on this house and [Mr. Joel] completely redesigned this house based on [the board’s] comments to not have any sort of confrontation with [the village],” said Mr. Joel’s attorney Jon Tarbet. “This time, they seemed to like it.”

In November last year, the board wasn’t pleased with Mr. Joel’s request to raise and rotate the two-story building on Rector Street to face Bay Street, and attach the buildings. Before that, back in September, the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals said it wouldn’t grant any backyard variance because board members didn’t like the project as a whole. A straw vote sent Mr. Joel back to the drawing board.

This April’s informal discussion was Mr. Joel’s fourth time pitching building plans to regulatory boards since March 2016.

“It’s a subjective board, and they are just trying to match it to the rest of Sag Harbor,” Mr. Tarbet said of the architectural review board. “But we are trying.”

Now, the plan to rotate the structure is nixed. A two-story addition that would connect the two structures has been set farther back from the street and the proposed height has been reduced. The maximum height for houses in Sag Harbor cannot exceed 35 feet; the original plan set the home at 34 feet. Combined with the proposed structural realignment, the board had felt in the past it would be a daunting sight for neighbors. The new plan sets the height at 30 feet. And a new addition that was planned for the front of the house is now designed as a screened-in porch.

If the board of historic preservation and architectural review gives the plan a green light, it’s unclear whether the plan will also need to go back to the zoning board of appeals for approval.

“We don’t need any relief from them,” Mr. Tarbet said. “It gets complicated, but I don’t think we need any variances from them. We’ll have to see what the building inspector says.”

Mr. Joel’s team hopes to submit a formal application in June.

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