Not Our Job, Z.B.A. Tells Preiato

    A hotly contested appeal by East Hampton’s senior building inspector seeking to overturn a certificate of occupancy issued by his predecessor was coolly disposed with by the town’s zoning board of appeals on Oct. 9.
    Tom Preiato, the building inspector, was trying to reverse a 2008 C. of O. for two stone pillars with attached gates at the entry to 17 Beverly Road in Springs that he believed was issued by the late Don Sharkey based on “erroneous and misleading information.”
    After months of discussion, the board  dismissed the appeal without debate, acting on the advice of its attorney, Robert Connelly.
    The certificate had been issued by Mr. Preiato’s predecessor, the late Don Sharkey.
    The owner of the property, Lee David Auerbach, had obtained approval for the pillars and fixed front gate following a hearing before the town’s architectural review board.
    In 2011, Mr. Preiato made a formal appeal to the zoning board to reverse the certificate of occupancy issued by Mr. Sharkey.
    Alex Walter, the chairman of the zoning board, addressed the issue at length on Oct. 9, after noting that Mr. Connelly had done extensive research on the process used by Mr. Preiato to launch the current appeal.
    “Normally, the building inspector issues a revocation, then brings it to us for confirmation or denial. That wasn’t done here,” Mr. Walter said. “He wanted us to tell him to revoke it, and that isn’t our job. I don’t think this board has the [standing] to act on this. If Mr. Preiato wants to revoke it, he has to issue the revocation and have us verify that he did it correctly, not the other way around.”
    The board voted 5-0 to dismiss the appeal.
    Also on Oct. 9, the board was split on a request for a prefabricated pool house at 38 Jacqueline Drive in Amagansett.
    The applicant, Boris Nepomnyoschy, offered the board two locations for the pool house, which would not have a foundation. His small yard is surrounded by freshwater wetlands. The first would have had the pool house 23 feet from the restricted wetlands when 100 feet are normally required. Don Cirillo, a board member, pointed out that this proposal would save the homeowner money. “The purpose of the variance is to try to help the homeowner,” he said.
    However, though absent, Lee White, another board member, voiced his position in writing.
    “There is a more conforming location almost three times as far from wetlands,” he said, supporting the second choice offered by the owner.
    “I agree with Lee. The owner gave us the option,” Sharon McCobb said.
    Mr. Walter agreed with her. “We’re not depriving him of what he wants to do, but we’re also doing what is in the best interest of the town. That’s the reason we have a town code and that’s the reason people come to us.”
    The board voted 3-2 against the first proposal, before unanimously approving the second.
    What it lacked in controversy, another before the board made up for in star, or perhaps better put, sun power.
    Jerry Seinfeld is looking for permission to install two 65-by-10-foot solar panels at the edge of his property on Further Lane in Amagansett, between a swimming pool, which is at the dune side of the oceanfront property, and a Nature Conservancy preserve. The panels, made by a firm called SunPower, will be flush to the ground and therefore invisible to Mr. Seinfeld’s neighbor, who supports the project, despite the fact that they would be only a few feet from the neighboring property, when a 30-foot distance is normally required.
    Ms. McCobb noted the neighbor’s support for the proposal.
    “Anything good for the environment is a positive,” said Bryan Gosman, a board member, before the board voted 5-0 to approve the variance.
    On  Oct. 2, Laurie Wiltshire of Land Planning Services said that her clients Christine Lemiuex and Joshua Young, who own property on Mulford Lane at Lazy Point, have made major modifications to their plan to build a 147-foot stone armor revetment on Napeague Bay, where such structures are prohibited. Their request for a similar structure was denied earlier this year.


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