Southampton Builder Wins Case Against Village Architectural Review Board - 27 East

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Southampton Builder Wins Case Against Village Architectural Review Board

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Katrina Lovett with a Samus Aran costume. Aran isthe protagonist of the Metroid science fiction action-adventure game series by Nintendo.  DANA SHAW

Katrina Lovett with a Samus Aran costume. Aran isthe protagonist of the Metroid science fiction action-adventure game series by Nintendo. DANA SHAW

author on May 31, 2016

UPDATE: Wednesday 3:25 p.m.

Mr. White’s attorney, William L. McCormick, ESQ., confirmed that there was no written decision handed down. Instead, verbal guidelines were provided by the Honorable W. Gerard Asher on how to come up with a conclusion that satisfies both the village and Mr. White.

“It was a misunderstanding on his [Mr. White’s] part,” Mr. McCormick said.

UPDATE: Wednesday 10:45 a.m.

While Mr. White’s claims may point to a victory, village officials said that no written decision has been handed down. The next court hearing is scheduled for July 6, at the Suffolk County Supreme Court in Riverhead.

ORIGINAL STORY

A Southampton builder who filed suit against Southampton Village and its Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review for denying his application to build a house has won his case.

Michael White, president and founder of Georgica Builders, was handed down the decision on April 27 from the State Supreme Court for Suffolk County. Filed by Mr. White in November, the suit alleged that the ARB’s decision to deny his plan to construct a 2,979-square-foot, two-story, single-family home at 81 Wooley Street had been “arbitrary, capricious, illegal and contrary to established law.”

According to Mr. White, the justice ruled that a proposed front-yard 25-foot setback was in fact allowed by the village code, and that the ARB did not have the jurisdiction to modify zoning restrictions.

“The judge ruled that they don’t have any arbitrary powers of changing things for no reason,” Mr. White said.

In the ARB’s original denial, dated August 24, they said the application was incomplete, but Mr. White insisted he had done everything the board asked, submitting all the necessary documents and making all adjustments the board requested.

“I wasn’t singled out, they do this to everyone,” Mr. White said. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and every year they try to take more of your rights.”

Mr. White thinks new members on the board lack respect for the code.

“They don’t follow the code and they don’t follow the law,” said Mr. White. “When it comes to dimensional regulations, that’s up to the building inspector to determine, not for the ARB.

“They’re strictly a beauty contest board; they have nothing to do with zoning,” he added.

Mr. White plans to present his plans to the ARB on Monday, June 6, in the hope that the board will abide by the court’s ruling. Mr. White also said he plans to try to get appointed to a seat on the ARB, and said he thinks he will be a good fit given the knowledge he has of the rules.

Attempts to contact members of the ARB were not immediately successful.

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