Looking to Tame Sagaponack Overbuilding

Village officials are considering a law to limit large-house development in Sagaponack. Carrie Ann Salvi

    The Sagaponack Village Board is considering a law that would seek to rein in development in the village by addressing lot coverage, gross square floor area, and accessory structures in backyards.
    The board discussed a draft of the law at a meeting on Monday, but agreed that much work remained before the changes could be brought to a public hearing.
    The goal, according to Mayor Donald Louchheim, is to put “constraints on what people can do with the land.” Residents often ask him why people are able to build such large compounds in the village, he said, adding that they are also concerned about relatively small lots where “virtually every square inch has been disturbed” by a pool, deck, septic system, grading, garages, tennis courts, and more.
    Board members are also concerned about the recent trend of utilizing underground space, often exceeding the footprint of the house above, for spas, wine cellars, and other recreational uses. The Architectural Review Board has recently heard a request for an underground garage with a mechanical turnstile allowing a homeowner to select the car they want to drive and have it delivered to him, said Lisa Duryea Thayer. The same person also wants to have five or six bedrooms below ground level.
    Anthony B. Tohill, the village’s attorney, said he had a “clear sense of the evil” the board seeks to remedy,” but board members took issue with some of the wording of the law he drafted, saying they found it hard to understand.
    In the end, it was agreed that the draft legislation would be discussed further at a planning board meeting on July 16, when Richard Warren, the village’s consulting engineer, could offer his input and recommendations.
    The board also voted to appropriate $50,000 into the village’s tree fund, so that the tree committee could begin removing trees that are causing dangerous situations by obstructing sight lines at certain intersections. The newly-formed tree committee is working on a policy for the maintenance of existing street trees and the review of requests for planting new trees.
    A resolution was drafted about limiting construction on Sundays, due to citizen complaints. It would exclude homeowners from working on their own houses.
    The board will meet next on July 9 at 3 p.m.