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May 23, 2012 9:31 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town ZBA Sets July Decision Date For Bridgehampton Front-Yard Pool Application

May 23, 2012 9:53 AM

The Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals expects to make a decision on July 5 on whether to grant variances that would allow a swimming pool to be built in the front yard of a Bridgehampton home, an application that has raised questions on the very definition of waterfront and whether wetlands fall under that definition.

In addition to setting a decision date, the board has also asked the applicant to shave off a few feet from the proposed pool.

Janet Finkel, the owner of the home on Hildreth Avenue, has applied for the variances so that she can build a pool in her front yard, claiming her backyard is waterfront. Her backyard is filled with phragmites and small pools of water. The town zoning code prohibits front-yard pools unless a lot is deemed waterfront, in which case the front and back yards can be considered reversed for development purposes.

Town Chief Building Inspector Michael Benincasa, noting that the town code does not define “waterfront,” had issued a determination last year declaring Ms. Finkel’s backyard to be waterfront and, therefore, able to have a pool constructed in its front yard. Several of Ms. Finkel’s neighbors challenged that decision, and, in December, the ZBA voided his ruling and rejected an earlier variance application by Ms. Finkel. The application was reopened this year when Ms. Finkel sought variances for a slightly smaller pool dimension than the 16 foot by 32 foot pool she had been denied.

ZBA Chairman Herb Phillips said that he asked Ms. Finkel’s attorney, John Bennett, of the Southampton Village firm Bennett and Read, during a ZBA meeting last Thursday if he would consider reducing the size of the proposed pool further, from 15 feet by 31 feet to 14 feet by 28 feet, to which he said Mr. Bennett agreed.

Mr. Phillips said the smaller size, which would set the pool slightly farther back from the road, would not necessarily win the board’s approval. He said that while he views the wetlands property as no different from a waterfront one, he said he does not think the rest of the board agrees.

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Shame on Southampton Town for allowing pool's in the front yard of a home.
Honestly what next. So does this mean that any homeowner with money can hire
A lawyer & have a front yard swimming pool. Not good for the town or neighborhood.
By Liz.M (1), Sag harbor on Sep 25, 12 10:06 PM
Article last updated: May 23, 2012 9:53 AM

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By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 25, 12 10:22 PM