Dreaming of a Beer Garden

Page at 63 Main’s take-out area has been gutted for renovation, and an outdoor seating area is proposed for those who wish to take their food or drink outside. Carrie Ann Salvi

    What started out on the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board’s agenda as a request by Gerard Wawryk, the owner of Page at 63 Main restaurant, to add seating behind his restaurant for those waiting for a table or takeout, transitioned into a request for a “beer garden,” as Neil Slevin, the board’s chairman, called it.
    The application, which was reviewed by Timothy Platt, the village building inspector, referred to a seasonal use of the outdoor area of the restaurant, with “no service proposed” there. But through questioning and discussion at the Tuesday night meeting, it was revealed that tables for those seeking a lobster roll or a draft beer were part of the application — bar patrons could step outside with their cocktails.
    The area in question is now a driveway that can be accessed from Division Street between Murf’s Backstreet Tavern and the village police headquarters. Mr. Wawryk seeks to renovate it with vegetation, tables, and chairs, in the process improving the aesthetics from the road, which he said is “coming alive.”
    Rich Warren, an environmental planning consultant, mentioned parking spaces that would be eliminated, asking that there be a good reason for doing so.
    Dennis Downes, the attorney representing Mr. Wawryk, answered that those spaces weren’t required. They’re used for deliveries to the restaurant, Mr. Wawryk said, and those drivers “will just use the street.”
    “I know in my heart that this is not something we should approve without public input,” Mr. Slevin said, “and I will insist on it.”
    “We need someone beyond this group to consider the implications,” he said, adding that he had no personal objections to the plan, and that some of his fondest memories involve beer gardens.
    “We have tables outside,” said Jack Tagliasacchi, a planning board member who owns Il Capuccino restaurant in the village. “To be able to serve alcohol, we have to send an application to the liquor authority.”
    Denise Schoen, the village attorney, confirmed this. “The liquor authority trumps local municipalities as to where and when you can serve liquor,” she said. “There is nothing in the code that prohibits it from happening.”
    “What is the difference between us doing it and Muse doing it on two sides?” Mr. Wawryk asked of another restaurant on Main Street. “Why do I have to go though a different routine when they just walked through?”
    Ms. Schoen said that Mr. Platt would make the determination regarding the application, which before the next meeting would be amended by Mr. Downes as to the elimination of parking spaces and whether the change would be an appropriate accessory use.
    East End Ventures was also on the agenda Tuesday, and if all goes as planned, after the next meeting the company will be set to complete the condominium complex at 21 West Water Street. The board required clarification on three items since the 2006 approval of the site plan: planting and irrigation, revised lighting to comply with dark skies standards, and an update to the lot coverage with regard to a gravel outdoor eating area that was eliminated.
    In other old business, Juan Castro believed his application for an accessory apartment on Brandywine Drive was complete, and so did the planning board, as it was approved on Nov. 27, but Ms. Schoen told the board that the building inspector strongly believed that a revision was necessary to prevent a future owner from using the house as a rental property. The words “owner occupied” will be added to the special exception application.
    “The intention of the [accessory apartments] law was to create affordable apartments . . . an attempt to allow families who have been here a long time to gain use of their homes, whether it be their children or neighbors’ children,” Mr. Slevin said.
    “Sag Harbor is unique in that it doesn’t require covenants,” said Ms. Schoen, adding that the additional wording will also help to ensure an owner’s caretaking of the property. “I will help him through the process,” she said in agreeing to draft the document.