Yes, But Not Quite Yet

T.E. McMorrow

Frans H. and Dalal Preidel, who own a small cottage on a dune at the beach terminus of South Edison Street in Montauk, got a Valentine’s Day gift Tuesday night from the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals, which informally agreed to allow them to remove an outdoor shower and deck and replace it with a shed. They need a permit to do the work on the dune, as well as variances concerning the height of the shed and the lot coverage.

The tiny property, a little more than a tenth of an acre in size, is bordered to the south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north by the Sloppy Tuna nightclub. David Lys told his fellow board members that the lot was almost unique, one of only two such small residential lots in an area zoned for resort use. The Preidels’ proposal actually decreases the lot coverage, he said. The other three members present (Roy Dalene could not attend) agreed that it was worthy of approval.

However, a formal vote was not taken. The board and its attorney, Elizabeth Baldwin, have instituted a new procedure for board decisions, and this application was the first to have been made since then. In the past, the board would take two votes, the first on the night they discussed an application, the second at a later meeting, on the written determination prepared by Ms. Baldwin. It was the second vote that actually counted.

The board has done away with the initial vote. Instead, members will present their views on an application to the attorney, who will write the decision based on their comments. Ms. Baldwin can question the board when they are debating an application, to make sure she is clear on their intent, before presenting them at a later meeting with the written determination on which they will vote.

While the Preidels’ application will likely receive formal approval, the two other applications discussed on Tuesday may not. The board was clearly unhappy with a proposal from John Anton concerning property at 66 Cross Highway in Amagansett. Mr. Anton seeks to legalize an existing 510-square-foot slate patio, a 695-square-foot deck, and a 60-square-foot outdoor shower and wall, all built too close to nearby wetlands. Board members were particularly concerned about allowing such expansion given the lot’s existing septic system, which, Mr. Lys said, “does not comply with Suffolk County or town standards.”

Another application that appears headed for a no vote came from David Peskin of 84 Hampton Lane in Amagansett’s Beach Hampton dunes. Mr. Peskin wants to construct a 450-square-foot pool with a 615-square-foot deck closer to dune land and beach vegetation than allowed by the zoning code. “This pool will contribute to groundwater degradation,” Theresa Berger said. John Whelan, the board’s chairman, said the pool could be modified and moved to a better location.

With the discussion over, Mr. Lys began to make a motion to take a vote, before realizing his error. “It’s going to take me a few weeks,” he said, laughing.