Board Turns Down Schultz

A hearing that stretched across several months was concluded on Friday
Hampton Pix

The East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals has ruled that Howard D. Schultz, the chief executive officer of the Starbucks chain, has an accessory structure on his property that violates the village code and cannot be maintained in its present condition.

A hearing that stretched across several months was concluded on Friday with the denial of an appeal Mr. Schultz made to reverse a determination denying a certificate of occupancy for the structure, which contains a garage and caretaker’s apartment. The board found that the building contained habitable floor area in excess of what a prior zoning board had allowed. The board also denied Mr. Schultz’s request for the apartment’s continued existence.

In 1986, nine years before the Schult­zes bought the property at 14 Gracie Lane, the board approved a 650-square-foot apartment attached to a four-car garage in a single-story structure. Subsequently, three garage bays were converted by the prior owner into three additional bedrooms, more than doubling the size of the apartment.

In 2012, the Schultzes were granted a variance and coastal erosion hazard permit to add two bedrooms and two bathrooms to their main house. The building inspector, however, noted that the accessory structure did not match the description in the certificate of occupancy, and the zoning board asked that the caretaker’s apartment be reduced to its original size, a condition to which the applicant agreed, but did not honor. Most recently, however, the Schultzes applied for a special permit, offering to remove two bedrooms and two bathrooms but adding another bedroom and bathroom. “Is that so unreasonable,” asked Leonard Ackerman, an attorney representing the Schultzes, “for people who acted in good faith?”

Board members apparently thought that it was. The board’s determination on Friday was that the apartment must be restored to its original 650 square feet and that the additional bedrooms be reconverted to garage bays and storage areas.

Mr. Ackerman did not return a call seeking comment. He may, however, take the matter to court. The violation could remain during litigation, Frank Newbold, the board’s chairman, said in an email.

The board also denied an application by Paul and Rena Stallings to permit the conversion of a third-story attic to living space at 9 Lockwood Lane. The conversion would have resulted in 1,464 square feet of habitable space on that floor and a gross floor area of 6,232 square feet, one-third more than the code allows. The code also restricts single-family residences to two stories.

On the other hand, the board approved an application by its former chairman, Andrew Goldstein, to allow the continued maintenance of a shed within front and rear-yard setbacks at 87 Jericho Road. The board had granted a variance for the shed in 2008, but it was installed in the wrong location. The board agreed on Friday that the shed causes no detriment to the character of the neighborhood.

The board also gave its approval of the continued maintenance of slate pavers and walkways, arbors, and a brick barbecue at 48 Huntting Lane, although they are within property-line setbacks. A variance was also granted to permit 512 square feet of excess lot coverage.