Town: That’s new construction, not a renovation

Southold Town officials are looking to remove a legal loophole allowing homes to be demolished and rebuilt as a renovation rather than new construction.

A public hearing on several code changes that would eliminate the loophole will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25.

“The amendments seek to clarify the definition of demolition, alteration, enlargement and reconstruction so the distinction between each action is clear,” said Town Attorney Martin Finnegan. The code change would also require stamped plans from the Zoning Board of Appeals or the Planning Board to be presented to the building inspector before a building permit is issued, if those plans were required as a condition of the issuance of the building permit.

Mr. Finnegan said there have been no egregious cases of people attempting to use the vagaries in the existing code to their advantage, but that “there have been occasions where a house is demolished and the applicant attempts to argue that the house was simply altered and renovated.”

The new code clearly defines four different ways in which a house can be altered; including alterations, which do not affect the exterior dimensions of the building; demolition, which is defined as removal of a portion or all of a structure if the replacement cost of the portion of the structure equals or exceeds 50 percent of the cost of replacing the entire structure; enlargement and reconstruction following demolition.

Also on Oct. 25, the Town Board will host a public hearing on a proposal to place two new stop signs on Nassau Point Road, at the intersection with Vanston Road heading both north and south.

Town Supervisor Scott Russell said at a work session Sept. 29 that community members he has spoken to in Nassau Point are resoundingly in favor of the proposal.

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