Pat Trunzo III, an attorney representing himself, made a case before the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals for variances necessary to convert the second floor of his building at 11 Lumber Lane into two 800-sqaure-foot “affordable” apartments to be occupied by his two sons, Thomas and Steve. The spaces are currently leased to family construction and other trade companies as storage. Mr. Trunzo owns the property with his brother, Mike Trunzo.
The Trunzo plan calls for area, coverage, and setback variances, but did not call for a parking variance, and that omission received the most deliberation on Friday.
Mr. Trunzo initially said he didn’t think he had to apply for variances, but soon admitted he was “afraid of the $10,000 charge per space” levied by the village, which he said would deplete funds for the project. Plus, he said, “the village has never granted a parking variance.”
“You could make history,” said Andrew Goldstein, the chairman of the zoning board. “We can only say yes or no to the variance. . . . We don’t have the power to waive the fee.”
He and other board members voiced approval for the plans, although neither the applicant nor the board seemed to know how to legally designate the apartments as affordable, or what such a designation entails.
John McGuirk, a board member, requested that the applicant “find out the definition of affordable housing.”
Another board member, Frank Newbold, called the idea of creating affordable housing “terrific,” especially “when weighed against other options, like a commercial use that would increase traffic.”
Lysbeth Marigold, another board member, said East Hampton “needs affordable housing desperately,” drawing a distinction between a past parking variance application in which apartments attached to the now-defunct Della Femina restaurant on North Main Street were converted to offices.
“It’s increasingly difficult for young people to stay in East Hampton,” said one of the five or so Trunzo family members present at the hearing. “Whatever it takes, we want to make sure that these units remain affordable housing.”
Also on Friday, the Joan Segal Trust at 42 Lily Pond Lane came before the zoning board for permission to rebuild a shed that burned to the ground on Aug. 31. The fire also damaged the rear of the house. According to a Star article from Sept. 1, 2012, a generator was a suspected cause of the blaze, which triggered response from East Hampton Village police, who dispatched fire departments from East Hampton, Springs, and Amagansett.
When Z.B.A. members attempted to discuss the potentially faulty generator, Matthew Pachman, the applicant’s attorney, steered them back to the variance details.
The application also included a reconfiguration of air-conditioning units four feet closer to the property line than they had been originally — due to manufacturer requirements — and building an eight-foot-high sound barrier to abate noise coming from the units and generator.
“We could find a conforming space for the generator outside of the shed,” Mr. Pachman said, “but that would impose negative sound and visual impacts.”
A determination will be issued in favor of the Segal application at the next zoning board meeting.