A proposed 5,726-square-foot, single-family home, to be built on a flag lot in the Southampton Village historical district, is drawing fire from at least one neighbor who claims the house is too large for the proposed Hill Street location.
The neighbor, Ann Pyne, also said this week that she believes if the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review approves a building permit for the house at 483 Hill Street, it could set a precedent for future board decisions that would allow large houses behind smaller houses in the historic district.
The house is slated to be built on a vacant flag lot by the Farrell Building Company of Bridgehampton, which owns the approximately 1.2-acre property.
The village ARB was slated to discuss the proposal at its meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 22, and possibly close a public hearing before offering an opinion to the Planning Board, which will review the site plan. Because the house is in the historic district but not itself historic, the ARB can comment on its size, but it does not have the power to reject the proposal.
“This house is double to triple the size of any other house in the immediate historic district,” Ms. Pyne said. “If the ARB okays this, the whole historic district will change because of the precedent that it will set.”
According to Ms. Pyne, the new residence will be larger than one in front of the flag lot, and thus will be visible from Hill Street. Traditionally, she said, houses on the back portion of a flag lot have been smaller than the front house, and thus not obtrusive.
Ms. Pyne said she is concerned that the new house will create a trend in which numerous properties have large homes behind the main house on the street.
“This will not only be out of scale for the entire district, but a historic reversal of the relation between the big house and the small house,” she said. “At this point, driving down Hill Street, you cannot see any larger houses behind the houses fronting the street. Village code says they must vote on the scale of a proposal in relation to the neighborhood. They are trying not to exercise that mandate, but they cannot ignore it.”
Although the two-story home will be large, it does not violate any village codes, and will not need any variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals. According to the application filed with the Southampton Village Building Department in November, the house is also approximately 2,000 square feet smaller than allowed for the property size. The house is also slated to be roughly 31 feet tall, while the maximum is 35 feet.
The application also calls for the installation of an in-ground pool, trees and shrubs for privacy, and an attached garage.
Even though the house is under the maximum requirements, Ms. Pyne said she hopes the village regulatory boards oppose the proposal, saying that it does not fit in with the neighboring houses.
“I really resent the fact that the people who have lived in Southampton and pay the taxes on these homes are basically being dissed for people who plan to flip this house as soon as the tax makes it possible,” Ms. Pyne said, referring to more favorable conditions for a potential buyer. “I think our town has got to get a grip on their long-term priorities and the people who are behind the long-term priorities.”