Village Green garage receives approval

The Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Council’s plan to build an old-fashioned garage on the Cutchogue Village Green is one step closer to reality this week, after the group received unanimous approval for a variance from the Southold Town Zoning Board of Appeals on Oct. 7.
The historical council’s director, Zachary Studenroth, said Tuesday that he submitted a Planning Board application for the project after receiving the variance approval. The planners’ approval will be the final hurdle for the project before a building permit can be issued. Mr. Studenroth added that the town’s Landmarks Preservation Commission had waived its right to review the project because none of the work will involve any of the other historic buildings on the property.
The plan to build a garage was hatched after Parker Wickham of Mattituck donated a 1926 Model T Ford pickup truck to the historical council this year. The truck is in storage on Mr. Wickham’s property, awaiting a new home.
The garage will be built using a carriage house kit made by Connecticut post-and-beam builders Country Carpenters. Project organizers hope it will be completed and open in time for the 2011 summer season. They had initially planned to begin construction this fall, in conjunction with the group’s 50th anniversary celebration, but had to put it off due to the length of the local review process.
The historical council is starting a campaign to raise $40,000 for the construction, and will send out letters soon asking its members for financial support. The group has used $1,500 generated by sales of a video about the Village Green’s history, produced by Michael Malkush, to pay permit application fees.
Mr. Studenroth said that the project needed a front yard setback variance partly because its Village Green location includes property the town considers part of the Case’s Lane roadbed and partly because the historical council wanted to site the garage at the edge of a parking area, so the truck could be driven out of the garage for parades and events.
The historical council is also seeking grants to create an exhibit on early 20th century life, which will be displayed in the new garage.
“We’re really all about the 18th and 19th centuries. All of that’s a lot of fun. We cover 300 years, but not the 20th century,” Mr. Studenroth said. “The automobile had an impact on the farming industry. Cutchogue was changing rapidly in the early 1900s. The truck was a new way of getting farm produce off to the train. We can tell that story now.”
[email protected]