An Unusual Request for an Unusual House

    The East Hampton Zoning Board of Appeals had a busy session Tuesday night at Town Hall, holding three hearings for variance and special-permit applications  and handing down two decisions.
    One hearing was somewhat unusual: a request for a variance from the town code to allow a house with a second floor that does not have access from inside. This is at odds with a code provision, aimed at preventing illegal apartments, that reads, “There shall be at least one common entrance on the ground floor, through which every room, other than a utility room, shall be readily accessible by passage through the interior of the residence.”
    Such is not the case in a Napeague house at 90 Shore Road.
    Glen Pushelberg and George Yabu, prominent Canadian interior designers, are “ninety-nine-point-nine  percent finished” with the construction of a house that has separate entrances for the first and second floors, said their attorney, Richard A. Hammer. Instead of an interior access, there is a wide spiral exterior staircase.
    Mr. Hammer recalled that he had first gone before the Z.B.A. in 2009 to present the original plans for “what was essentially a knock-down and rebuild.” He pointed out that the plans clearly showed the exterior staircase.
     “It was missed by the planning department, the zoning board, the architect, and the building inspector,” said Mr. Walter.
    “It is basically a series of off-set boxes,” said Mr. Hammer, adding that the downstairs has no kitchen facilities.
     “It is a beautiful house, there is no doubt about it,” said Mr. Walter. “But at the end of the day, there is an outdoor kitchen. What is to prevent somebody from renting the downstairs as a separate entity?”
     “That is not the intent of the current owner,” Mr. Hammer replied.
    “We all know that [the design] stays with the house, not the current owner,” Mr. Walter said.
    “Unfortunately, we just missed this,” Mr. Hammer said.
    The board explored with the attorney possible remedies, but Mr. Hammer pointed out that a lot of steel had been used in construction and the cost of bringing it into compliance would be prohibitive. “It is a one-of-a-kind house. Anything you do would be to its detriment,” he said.
    Tyler Borsack of the town planning department said the department took no position on the matter. The board kept the hearing open for three weeks to allow comment from the East Hampton Town Trustees, who own the land on which the house is built.
    Another appeal, also for a structure already standing, came from Lauren and Neal Rose of 12 Ocean Lane in Amagansett’s Beach Hampton neighborhood. The Roses have a 160-square-foot deck on their 12,000-square foot property that sits too close to wetlands at 86 feet away, 14 feet short of the standard. It is also 10 feet closer to side property lines than required.
     “It’s my fault,” Mark Lazarovic, the father of Laura Rose, told the board. Mr. Lazarovic, a builder, said he did not realize he needed a permit for the small deck area.
    Don Cirillo, a board member, observed that the area in question was not visible from neighbors’ houses. No one spoke in opposition.
    Tuesday’s third hearing involved a request from Inergy Propane, which, according to Bloomberg News, is a billion-dollar propane distribution business that recently purchased both Pulver Gas and Schenck Gas, to place a 256-square-foot mobile trailer on their industrially zoned Montauk property at 72 Second House Road, also known as Industrial Road. The land already has two 30,000 gallon  propane tanks on it. The trailer would sit 57 feet from wetlands, where 100 feet is required.
    John Ryan, speaking for the company, explained that when it purchased Schenck Gas (it did not purchase Schenck Fuels, which is still an independent company) it expanded its work force by five, leading to the need for a base in Montauk, one with self-contained sanitary facilities but no cooking facilities and no sleeping quarters.
    “It’s like a locker room,” Mr. Cirillo said. The board is expected to rule on that application and the Roses’ on Tuesday.
    Also this week, the board okayed two applications, neither of which was controversial. Elisa and Frank Burriesci of Cedar Drive in Springs will be able to keep their pool, despite its being too close to the property lines, provided that if they sell their house they must move their pool equipment. Several neighbors had written to support their request.
    Joel Horowitz of Montauk will be able to put a 387-square-foot addition on his historic West Lake Drive property to accommodate his growing family, as he had asked. The house is near wetlands, but a neighbor who is an environmental activist, Richard Kahn, endorsed the plan on the grounds that, when combined with a planned new septic system, it would benefit Lake Montauk. The town planning department also recommended approval.


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