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Moran Studio Seeks Variances for Events

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 11:56

An application from the Thomas and Mary Nimmo Moran Studio for variances and permissions to allow retail sales, hold events for more than 50 people, install path lighting, and for an additional parking area came before the Village Zoning Board of Appeals on Friday.

Maria Vann, the executive director of the East Hampton Historical Society, said that the Main Street structure, where a lengthy restoration was completed last year, has various “housekeeping details” that have arisen since. The Moran house, a National Historic Landmark, was opened as a museum in 2018.

In 2012, the Z.B.A. granted permission for the house to be used as a museum provided that “there shall be no retail sales on the premises,” and that no more than 50 people would attend events there.

Ms. Vann said the museum would now like to add “a small shelf space,” from which mementos can be sold. It is also asking the Z.B.A. for permission to apply to the village for special events permits, which allow for more than 50 people at outdoor gatherings. Those functions will be “purely fund-raising events” for the Moran house, said Ms. Vann. They would take place up to three times a summer, between 5 and 8 p.m., and only unamplified music would be played.

The new parking area would be created at the back of the property, she said. Path lights would allow the staff to walk the grounds safely after dark.

The Moran House is seeking a variance to permit 8,130 square feet of coverage. The existing coverage is 7,483 square feet, and the allowable is 6,591 square feet.

“We’ve shared our plans with our neighbors, and we really think the requests will have little impact,” said Ms. Vann.

“I don’t know of any artist’s house that doesn’t [sell] postcards or notecards or books,” said Lys Marigold, the Z.B.A. chairwoman. She also acknowledged that a cap of 50 people for a fund-raising event is “quite limiting.”

The rest of the board was equally amenable, and the hearing was closed.

Also on Friday, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church applied for permission and variances to install a new columbarium‚ a structure to hold funeral urns‚ adjacent to the church.

Because the church, a pre-existing non-conforming building, already exceeds allowable coverage, no additions can be made to the property without a variance. The columbarium would require 20 square feet of additional coverage. It would be built 30 feet from the rear yard lot line, which would require a variance of 20 feet.

The church’s old columbarium, Ms. Marigold observed, was built in 1990, and “it’s not workable.” The board was unanimously in favor of granting the request, and the hearing was closed.

The Z.B.A. also announced three determinations. J. Kenneth Wessberg, the owner of a commercial building at 14 and 16 Gingerbread Lane, was granted a variance to allow 23,488 square feet of coverage where the maximum permitted is 21,882 square feet, in order to establish a formalized parking plan that meets the village’s parking requirements for pre-existing structures. The variance was granted on condition that the applicant obtain approval from the design review board.

Michael and Dawn Rempell, the trustees for 17 McGuirk Street, were granted a variance to allow 2,374 square feet of coverage where the maximum permitted is 2,074 square feet, to legalize a portion of an existing patio and air-conditioning units.

Harry Macklowe, the owner of 64 West End Road, was denied a wetlands permit and variances to legalize clearing of native vegetation and landscaping 10 feet from wetlands, where a 125-foot setback is required, and for the construction of patios, a driveway, and fencing within the required 150-foot wetlands setback.


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