Angry homeowner hauled out of meeting

Video of the Aug. 24 Southampton Architectural Review

Video of the Aug. 24 Southampton Architectural Review and Historic Preservation Board meeting shows James Branca in an exchange with board members.

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Police charged a Southampton man with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct after he became belligerent and refused to leave a Southampton Village architectural review meeting last week, village police said.

James Branca, 59, was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital at 8:26 p.m. on July 24 for a psychiatric evaluation, according to Southampton Village police.

Video of last week's meeting shows Branca in exchanges with the Architectural Review and Historic Preservation Board.

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Branca complained he couldn't get approval for a driveway gate he wanted for privacy. He raised ongoing disputes with village police.


Board chairman Curtis Highsmith accused Branca of acting as if he was intoxicated.

Branca took offense, saying to Highsmith, "I'm not irrational. I'm angry."

The board approved Branca's application for a covered porch but told him the slats on the driveway gate he wanted had to be more spread out.

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A few items later, Branca came up to comment on another house's landscape plan, submitted by the homeowners to give themselves privacy. "Instead of being clear and consistent, you call me irrational. How dare you?" Branca said.

Branca then said something off the microphone, and the board announced a recess. Police, in a statement, said they instructed Branca to leave the meeting, but he "refused."

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Branca's attorney, Kevin J. Gilvary, did not return calls for comment.

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