If You Can’t Beat ’Em . . .

    After unsuccessfully challenging their neighbors’ plan to build a second house almost as big as the first one at their East Hampton Main Street property, Gordon and Amanda Bowling told the village zoning board of appeals on Oct. 26 that they will build their own family compound next door.
    Their neighbors, John and Suzanne Cartier, applied to the board for variance to build a 2,486-square-foot “accessory dwelling” on their two-acre property, after having been denied a building permit to do so in 2010, but they learned in the course of hearings on the application that they did not need the variance. The hearing was closed, but reopened to clarify that the house did not need to be limited to only 250 square feet.
    “We always believed that there were restrictions that would preclude us from constructing a guesthouse,” Mr. Bowling said Monday. “We’ve since contacted an architect and builder, after discovering that we were wrong.” In a letter to the zoning board, he wrote: “Since the village does not care about this open space . . . my wife and I have decided we are not going to be the fools who stayed on the ship while it sank instead of leaving when they could.”
    Mr. Bowling said he was disappointed that neither the zoning board nor the village board had addressed the issue of a scenic or large-lot easement, that appears to have been attached to the Cartier property when the abutting Osborn-Jackson House was transferred to the village in 1976. That house is headquarters for the East Hampton Historical Society.
    Mr. Bowling posed a rhetorical question: “Why should we let our own property be devalued by a similar large lot easement not respected by the village?”
    Also on Oct. 26, the zoning board heard from J. Paul Amaden III and his wife, Christine B. Amaden, who plan to build a two-car garage at their Meadow Way property. The proposed structure would be 10 feet from the Amadens’ front property line, when the required setback is 15 feet.
    Mr. Golstein said the board is usually “sympathetic” to properties like the Amadens’, where space for a garage is limited, but “this structure would be so in the face of the streetscape,” and for that reason the proposal as it stands would be rejected, he said. “You can’t just put a garage in the front yard.”
    Lysbeth Marigold, a board member, called the atmosphere on Meadow Way “delicious” because it has “open lawns and few houses.”
    Ms. Amaden, who agreed to come up with an alternative plan, said the garage would have to be placed at the front of the house “no matter what.”
    Frank Fleming, a neighbor who lives on “the most affected property” on Meadow Way, added salt to the Amadens’ wounds, saying the board should not grant a variance because it would be “too much of a radical departure from the law.” He also called the architectural drawings and supplementary application materials “misleading and incorrect” because they do not detail whether the garage will contain gas, electrical, hot water, or similar services, and he said the Amadens’ assumption that the garage won’t alter the character of the neighborhood unfounded.