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Feb 16, 2016 2:49 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Neighbors Critical Of Plans To Replace East Hampton Cottage With Larger House

The owner of the small cottage in the marshes off Gerard Drive has proposed tearing it down and replacing it with a house nearly five times larger. MRW
Feb 16, 2016 2:49 PM

The owner of a tiny cottage that sits within the marshes surrounding Accabonac Harbor has proposed razing the structure and replacing it with a much larger house, though one withdrawn from the wetlands and with an upgraded septic system to lessen potential environmental impacts.

Barry Rugg, who has owned the current 850-square-foot cottage at 104 Gerard Drive since about 1980, has asked permission to replace it with a house about four times as large to accommodate his growing family.

“It has always been a joy for our family,” Mr. Rugg said of the house. “I want to be able to keep this house in my family.”

But several Gerard Drive residents objected to the plans, saying the house Mr. Rugg is proposing is far too big to fit into the neighborhood of primarily small cottages.

“The drive is not the place for McMansions. It’s very rustic … pristine, woodsy and wild,” said one neighbor, Marcia Englehardt. “The size and how close it would be to the road, it’s just inappropriate for the environment.”

Mr. Rugg needs a number of variances to build the house he wants, mostly allowing for reduced setbacks from surrounding wetlands that would be necessary no matter how large the house to be built would be.

The official application to the zoning board actually called for a slightly more than 4,000-square-foot house, plus a 350-square-foot garage. But Laurie Wiltshire, a development consultant for Mr. Rugg, said that after Town Planning Department staff were critical of the size of the proposed residence, the family has reduced the size of the house plans to just over 3,600 square feet and dropped plans for a garage altogether.

The house would sit just over 68 feet from the wetlands, while town code requires a 100-foot wetlands setback.

Ms. Wiltshire noted that a neighboring house is more than 3,900 square feet and another is 2,800 square feet. Allowing the Ruggs’s proposed house to be built would not be greatly out of character with the neighborhood, she said, and the removal of the existing house from the wetlands would be a far greater environmental benefit.

Town planner Brian Frank countered that the large neighboring structures were outliers with the rest of the houses along Gerard Drive and were built before zoning rules were in place.

“There are very few large homes that have been approved within Natural Resources jurisdiction. I’m not aware of any in the last 20 years,” Mr. Frank said. “This has been one of the most heavily regulated areas … where applications have received the most scrutiny and there’s a reason for that.”

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Mr. Rugg, does your house really need to be 4xs bigger?????
By rvs (106), sag harbor on Feb 16, 16 11:14 PM
Four times bigger than that puny cottage is not THAT big. Additionally, Its better to have the larger home pulled back from the wet lands with a modern septic system than that cottage in the wetlands with its ancient system contaminating that delicate ecosystem.
By Nukiepoo (123), Southampton on Feb 19, 16 8:42 AM