Earlier this summer, a Southampton resident painted the American flag on his house to protest criticisms of his plan to tear it down and build a new one.
Now he is threatening to sue the village for denying the application.
It doesn’t make any sense," said Michael White, president and founder of Georgica Builders, of a recent decision by the Village Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review to turn down his plan for a 2,979-square-foot, two-story, single-family home at 81 Wooley Street. He said he plans to file an Article 78 to appeal the decision.
In its denial, the ARB said the application was incomplete, but Mr. White said he had done everything the board asked, submitting all the necessary documents and making all the adjustments the board had requested.
He also said the ARB picked on specific aspects of the proposed home, such as windowsill grooves, and that everything he planned would have conformed to village regulations.
“I’ve never seen somebody get turned down for such a thing,” Mr. White said this week.
According to the ARB's written decision, dated August 24, many of the documents and plans Mr. White submitted were either not delivered in time, or did not comply with standards. The board also said he did not submit an alternate plan for the front-yard setback, with members saying the proposed house was set was too far forward, and that he did not submit an alternate rendering of the front facade showing adjustments he had been asked to make.
The decision cited a "failure to meet the minimal standards results from submission of a deficient and incomplete application, preventing the board from rendering a decision based upon the merits after a full, fair and reasonable evaluation of all relevant and material information and documentation."
When the ARB first reviewed Mr. White's application in July, its members questioned the range of window styles and varied components of the proposed house; as well as the planned demolition of the existing, 100-year-old house, which had already been approved.
The next day, July 14, Mr. White painted the Stars and Stripes on his house, citing his property rights and telling the Press, "If figured if they want something to complain about, I'll give them something to complain about. They can't make me take down the American flag."
Mr. White has also been outspoken against the Village Board for its efforts to change the zoning code to make new homes better conform to their surroundings.
This week, Beau Robinson, the attorney representing the ARB, said Mr. White's application had been denied because he had asked the board to vote on it on August 24 even though there were outstanding matters to be addressed. “He requested a vote, so the procedure of the board was to close the [public hearing] for all purposes subject to a written decision,” the attorney said.
Mr. Robinson declined to comment on the threat of a lawsuit, saying, “Until I see a petition, it’s not appropriate.”
William L. McCormick, the Lindenhurst-based attorney who will represent Mr. White, declined to offer details except to say that his client "feels that the Architectural Review Board was wrong in denying his application." He added that he does not yet know when the suit will be filed.
“These cases have to be filed within four months after the decision from the board, so it’s not like we can wait around for six months or a year,” he explained.
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