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Talking with Mike Gaynor, the Sag Harbor Resident Suing the Village for Blocking Renovations

Sag Harbor resident Michael Gaynor is suing the village. He says that the Architectural Review Board deliberately refused to vote on his application to renovate a house he owns until the current building moratorium took effect.

Mr. Gaynor purchased the house on Madison Street last January, intending to renovate and restore it. The core of the house is nineteenth century, but as Mr. Gaynor told Curbed, "The house is quite literally falling down. Two-thirds of it is from the 1960s. I plan on restoring the nineteenth century part to the highest standard. Then I will build a five-bay Federal Style addition. It's called additive style—the entire village is additive style.

"My track record speaks for itself. I am a preservationist. I just finished a multi-year, multi-million dollar restoration on my current home, the Benjamin Hope House. The village told me they loved my preliminary design for Madison Street, but after I invested north of $100K in architectural drawings and legal services, they changed their mind and said no. The real issue though is just dirty government. The way the village treat its citizenry is just despicable. They are arrogant bordering on hateful and spiteful.

"I'm not anti-government. A few months ago I also purchased a farm in Sagaponack. It's 3 acres with all sorts of old barns on it. I could have chosen to level every barn and building on it and build a ridiculous 9000sf house with tennis and all the other BS. I did not. Not because I couldn't, but because, as I have said already, I am a historic preservationist. I am rebuilding EVERY barn on the property, including this historic 'Marconi Barn.' We are calling it Heavy Horse Farm. I have three Clydesdales and I will be moving them there when it's finished next fall.

"Unlike Sag Harbor, the Village of Sagaponack ARB was nothing but professional, helpful and courteous. From the time I walked in the door until the time I had my permit (about two months) they were simply amazing. The Sagaponack ARB actually gave me a letter of commendation for my design so that I could get a variance to keep the old potato barn on the property as the current zoning code would have required me to tear it down.

"I am sure most people will paint me as a whining rich guy. Nothing could be further from the truth. At this point I am doing what I am doing to actually save Sag Harbor from this government of ours that has gone wild. I am doing this for my neighbors who can't afford to protect themselves from the Village and the rest of the bullies trying to take our property rights away. I will get my permit eventually. The law and the facts are on my side. Right now my goal is to make certain the village is brought back on track. And I am happy to wear that hat and foot the bill."
· Henry Madison House [FB]