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Jul 29, 2014 10:29 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Reopens Public Hearing On Controversial Meadow Lane House

Jul 30, 2014 10:20 AM

The Southampton Village Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review voted on Monday night to reopen a public hearing on a proposal to build a new, modern home in the village’s historic district on Meadow Lane.

The plans for the Meadow Lane house have drawn criticism from neighbors who say they were duped into believing that a sketch provided to the ARB last year, which showed a classic shingle-style home, represented the type of new house to be built. The plan was presented during the demolition application process for the current house at 40 Meadow Lane, and according to the homeowners’ attorney, John Bennett, was only used to show the size of a house that would meet Federal Emergency Management Agency flood regulations.

Believing the plans had not changed, none of the neighbors attended a June 11 public hearing on the proposed new house, and they were surprised to learn afterward that the property owners have proposed a large, predominantly glass structure across from the Meadow Club, in the heart of the historic district.

Neighbors turned out in force at a meeting of the ARB on July 14, and they have since pleaded their case to the Southampton Village Board, asking that the public hearing be reopened so their opposition can be heard on the record. Among their complaints, residents claim they were not properly notified of the original public hearing, that vital information was not available at the time of the public hearing, and that the new house would be out of character with the surrounding neighborhood.

After two weeks of consideration, the ARB voted 4-1 on Monday night to reopen the public hearing to allow everyone who spoke during the July 14 meeting to be heard on the record. Board Chairman Curtis Highsmith cast the lone dissenting vote Monday night.

The public hearing has been rescheduled for Monday, August 11, at 7 p.m. in the meeting room at Village Hall.

Mr. Bennett opposed reopening the public hearing on Monday night, though he applauded Mr. Highsmith for what he described as following the law. On Tuesday, Mr. Bennett reiterated what board members said about the proposal at the June 11 hearing, calling it “beautiful,” “handsome” and a “wonderful interpretation of old and new.”

Mr. Bennett said reopening the public hearing violates the ARB process outlined in the village code, but said sometimes these types of applications take a while to be fleshed out.

“It is a distortion of the process, and it is unfortunate,” he said of reopening the hearing. “I think that very inappropriate political pressure was brought to bear, and I want to congratulate the chairman for his adherence to the process. These things sometimes take time to work out, and we will be there on August 11.”

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Dear god, who is the ARB member who voted AGAINST reopening the public hearing (unless it is irrelevant, subsequent comment being impotent to preventing the construction of this glass menagerie?) Let this be a lesson to local, normal residents. Folks from ninety miles west are different from you. If you don't sit on their heads like god on sin, they will screw you.

Does not the fact that the builders presented a fraudulent depiction of the proposed construction count for anything?
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 29, 14 4:22 PM
2 members liked this comment
Here's an idea. This is the property that someone purchased. MIND YOUR BUSINESS!!!
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 29, 14 8:46 PM
And yet another MENSA level retort by the "chief".

Here's an idea: No amount of butterfly ink, fake as paiste fortune gives ANYONE the right to destroy buildings in a historic district, or replace them with structures which are grossly incongruous.

I anticipate the lack of an intelligent, lucid retort...
Jul 30, 14 8:21 AM appended by Mr. Z
M2 Money Stock: 2014-07-14: $11,415.1 Billions of Dollars Weekly, Ending Monday, Seasonally Adjusted, M2, Updated: 2014-07-24 3:51 PM CDT
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 30, 14 8:21 AM
Yes someone did buy the property and to a great extent they should be allowed to do what they want with it. However for the good of this beautiful town no one should be allowed to construct some vulgar, tasteless monstrosity that will diminish the character of the historic area.
By BillWillConn3 (180), Scarsdale on Jul 29, 14 9:11 PM
2 members liked this comment
It is tasteless and vulgar to YOU, apparently not to the property owner. No one owes anything to the "character of this historic area" unless it is in a code to do so.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jul 29, 14 9:38 PM
So, if it's not against the law it matters not it is not only immoral, but the alleged "home" is incongruous? They not only misrepresented their building plans, but to plan to destroy a piece of history? But, immorality and malfeasance are OK if they aren't "illegal"?

Dangerous ground BIAB. Power and wealth do not give one the right to engage in wholesale destruction for the sake of perceived "progress". As I recall, many things in history were once "legal" which tread upon decency, ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 30, 14 8:12 AM
Firstly, Mr Z. if someone gave me one of these modern structures, I could not be paid to reside in one. But we are a nation of laws, and unless, there are codes that require a purchaser to maintain "as-is" the premise, we can't expect our love of old buildings to be accepted by those "from away". Sad as it may be, that's the truth. And no one has ever accused those "from away" of having good taste and consideration of their new neighbors.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jul 30, 14 2:32 PM
Well, I've got some news for you. It is against code to put this alleged "home" up in the historic district. So no, they do not have the property rights to construct it and such should have been clear from the very beginning purchasing property in the historic district.

It is UNLAWFUL to approve a design without producing the proper renderings of the building. PERIOD.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 30, 14 9:17 PM
If it is against code to build that type of monstrosity, then fine, that was my point. But in lieu of said code, we cant expect those from the concrete jungle to respect our tastes.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jul 30, 14 9:27 PM
This project has been presented until now in a way that was designed to cover up the actual design of the house. ZBA variances were obtained in March and April using the sketches of a house that was never going to be built. Then when the ARB meeting was scheduled a totally different house appeared. It is going to be 48 feet high which will tower over all the other properties. THe village has not changed its zoning code to adjust maximum allowable heights for houses under the new FEMA regulations. ...more
By localcitizen (110), Southampton on Jul 30, 14 7:15 AM
Sorry Z the courts have ruled over and over that design is an arbitrary idea. The constitution gives rights to property owners. PERIOD! Stop being a hater.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 1, 14 8:11 AM
to chief1:


"Sorry Z the courts have ruled over and over that design is an arbitrary idea. The constitution gives rights to property owners. PERIOD! Stop being a hater."

What utter codswollop! As regards construction restrictions in historic districts, the courts have done NO SUCH THING! Here are a few of the many available citations in refutation of your bald-faced fabrication:

"State ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Aug 1, 14 9:01 AM
What are you talking about? The house is not on the federal register of historic houses. The house is in the village historic zone. This house has no formal labeling by anyone except the local nuts who say I have mine.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 1, 14 2:58 PM
to chief1:

Read the citation with greater care. The federal statute SUPPORTS state and local preservation laws. A building need not be on the federal register to be protected under local law.

Assuming, arguendo, that "local nuts" have determined the house to be within an "historic zone", then the house must conform to the architectural dictates of those local nuts if their regulatory power has the force of local law.

Moreover, your initial assertion that, "the courts ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Aug 1, 14 3:29 PM
The village tried the same nonsense on Pond La this year, were sued, and advised to settle with the homeowners. They recently settled with the owners, and they are now tearing down the pond La home. If the village had a chance of winning they would of persued the suit.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 3, 14 1:31 AM
to chief1:

It is well known that the towns and villages of the East End will cave when faced with a lawsuit by a plaintiff with deep pockets. This habitual behavior only exacerbates the predatory behavior of successive wealthy parvenus. If our various municipal boards would only develop the cojones to fight these psychopaths to a judicial conclusion, their colleagues thereafter would not attempt to extort preferential treatment from local government.

It's a question of principle ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Aug 4, 14 3:47 PM