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Nov 11, 2009 12:22 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sag Harbor woman wants to turn church into B&B

Nov 11, 2009 12:22 PM

A Sag Harbor woman told the village’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday night that she is hoping to purchase the former Sag Harbor Methodist Church and looking into the possibility of transforming it into a 15-room bed-and-breakfast.

Linda Mintz told board members that she is in discussions to buy the 10,000-square-foot church from Dennis Suskind, the former Goldman Sachs executive and Southampton Town Board member who purchased the 170-year-old structure in 2007 for $3 million with intentions to remodel it into a private home for his family.

“I would like to propose that it be converted into a high-end B&B,” Ms. Mintz said. “There is historic precedent for New England churches being used for that purpose. The problem is, the [village zoning code] doesn’t really allow for that type of use in that type of structure.” Ms. Mintz asked the board to consider a possible change in the section of the village code that concerns bed-and-breakfast businesses so that she could pursue her idea.

Board members were less than supportive. “That seems like a lot of rooms to me. It’s not really a bed-and-breakfast at that point,” Trustee Tiffany Scarlatto said. “And we’ve had a lot of resistance to B&Bs in the residential districts as it is.”

Ms. Mintz pointed to two other similar businesses: the 1708 House in Southampton Village, which has 15 rooms, and the 10-room 1770 House in East Hampton Village. Both are in business districts, and while the Sag Harbor church neighbors the edge of the Main Street business district, it is in a residential district.

Board members said they consider the building a residence, since Mr. Suskind had started down that path. But they did not entirely discourage Ms. Mintz. “It could fit,” Ms. Scarlatto said, if the scale were pared down a bit. “It could be a very nice residence with two, possibly three, very high-end rooms.”

Also on Tuesday, the board approved new bicycle routes through the village’s downtown area, allowing cyclists to navigate around Main Street without having to get off their bikes. Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano had been working on the route with a cycling enthusiasts group, the Spokespeople, for several months. The board unanimously adopted the proposed route, which will use Glover, Spring, and Bridge streets and Long Island Avenue to guide cyclists around the center of the business district.

“In Bridgehampton, they put up those God-awful yellow bicycle signs—they’re huge and awful,” Trustee Ed Gregory said to Chief Fabiano. “If you’re going to sign this, I hope you’ll use the small green signs.”

Board members also noted that the village’s Harbors and Docks Department was off $130,000 in revenues from its 2008 income, but that the department was on budget because the board foresaw the coming declines in revenue early last spring and made drastic budget cuts.

michael wright

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