A Green Light for Baron’s Cove

Restaurant, bar, and poolside cabanas okayed for former waterfront inn
Renovations to the Baron’s Cove Inn will soon begin, with approval for its expansion given unanimously at Tuesday’s planning board session. The name for the new hotel and restaurant has not yet been determined. Carrie Ann Salvi

    Despite continued resistance by neighbors, the Baron’s Cove Inn at 31 West Water Street in Sag Harbor will be allowed to proceed with renovations as proposed.
    On Tuesday, the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board okayed the addition of an 87-seat second-level restaurant, a renovated reception area with an added bar and retail shop, and the addition of a pool-side cabana area with a concession stand. The decision was unanimous.
    Neighbors had written to ask that further comment be allowed, but the board denied it on the advice of their counsel, Denise Schoen, who said the record had been open for a year to public comment and was now closed. Any more letters received would be kept in the file, she said, but could not be introduced in court should there be a lawsuit.
    “We have taken a lot of time, and a lot of testimony,” said Neil Slevin, the board’s chairman, after the board agreed with Ms. Schoen’s recommendation.
    Neighbors had most objected to the expansion of the lower-level lobby to include a bar with eight seats that would also service the upper-level restaurant, fearing that the open floor plan would draw a large, noisy crowd with attendant parking problems.
    Timothy Platt, the village building inspector, supported the application, determining among other things that the bar could not be defined as such since its primary use was not to serve alcohol without food.
    In September, having determined that the application did not pose a significant negative impact to the community, under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, the board had asked Mr. Platt to review the application for compliance with the building code and to address the neighbors concerns about the legality of the first-floor bar.
    After neighbors voiced concerns over the addition of the concession stand by the pool, again on the grounds of noise, the applicant, Curtis Bashaw, agreed not to sell alcohol there. Only hotel guests will be able to drink by the pool.
    “Every contingency cannot be dealt with in advance,” said Mr. Slevin. “Sometimes you have to say, if that comes up we’ll deal with it.”
    “I think the neighbors should be confident that their lives will not be affected,” he added. “This is not a bar . . . nobody will hear music after 9 p.m.”
     “I think the proposition with all of the restrictions is the best we could have done, within the law,” said Jack Tagliasacchi, a board member who owns Il Capuccino restaurant.
    Mr. Slevin appeared relieved following the approval. The application was “as tricky and detailed to work out as Bulova,” he said, speaking of the much larger Watchcase condominium project, with the same owner.
    The resolution to approve, which still needs a few minor changes, includes about 30 different conditions, both voluntary and via covenants.