Bank goes back on approved plan for windows

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The Bridgehampton National Bank wants to alter the building plan for its new branch at the corner of Race Lane and Gingerbread Lane in East Hampton, which was approved only after the bank and the East Hampton Design Review Board spent two years agreeing on the details.

Bill Medlow, the bank’s architect, wants to change the windows from painted white Marvin wood windows to Marvin wood windows with pre-finished vinyl exteriors. Robert Hefner, the Village Historic Preservation consultant to the Design Review Board, announced Mr. Medlow’s request at the board’s meeting last Wednesday evening.

“The board originally gave approval for painted wood windows,” Mr. Hefner said in a phone interview Monday. “The DRB guidelines for that area recommend wood windows, doors and trim.”

The board agreed last week that the bank must file an official application, even though board members seemed unconcerned about the proposed change.

“People might change their minds,” said Stuyvesant Wainwright III, the board’s chairman, of the bank’s proposal. “We need to have a formal application because this was a very long drawn out approval process.”

The new bank is being constructed in an area known as the Gingerbread Commercial District, which is in the Manufacturing Industrial Zoning District, in which a bank is a permitted use. The area, under DRB guidelines, was created to encourage “small-scale commercial buildings, modest houses and generous open spaces …”

Mr. Medlow, who has been working on the bank since 2004, said that he originally recommended a pre-finished aluminum window to the DRB but the board wanted wood windows that must be painted.

“We’re going back to the DRB because it really doesn’t make sense to have wood windows,” Mr. Medlow said in a phone interview. He said it’s a maintenance issue—that pre-finished windows will stay looking better longer. Wood windows need to be painted every six years, and 25 years down the line, the window might not open as paint has congealed in the cracks, he said. And no matter how careful one is to use masking tape, “You always end up with a stray piece of paint on the glass pane,” Mr. Medlow said.

In the long run, it’s cost effective, Mr. Medlow said, although initially pre-finished windows are more expensive.

“As you revisit things, you look at ways to improve them,” said Claudia Pilato, the bank’s director of marketing.

Although the window change was originally proposed as vinyl, both at the DRB meeting and in a first phone interview, Mr. Medlow said in a second phone interview that he was mistaken and the bank actually would like to make a change to aluminum-clad windows.

Also during last Wednesday’s meeting, the board discussed a woman who had removed part of the hedge in her front yard in the Huntting Lane Historic District, without the board’s approval. A car is now parking in front of the house in a makeshift circular driveway.

On October 15, 2008, Peggy Watson had applied for a circular drive for greater ease in accessing the house. The board is reluctant to grant approval because according to the village guidelines for the Huntting Lane Historic District, circular drives are discouraged.

“We’ve already told her we would not approve it,” said Mr. Wainwright. “It’s a code violation which we’ll try to get resolved by sending letters, before issuing a summons.”

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