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Billy Joel seeks to raise his Sag Harbor home, connect it to another building

The town architectural review board is to consider Joel's proposal to raise the downtown house by 4 feet and make other renovations.

Two houses owned by Billy Joel that he

Two houses owned by Billy Joel that he is trying to renovate and join together, along Bay Street in Sag Harbor on Thursday. Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Even big shots must abide the rules of village government.

Billy Joel’s plan to raise his Sag Harbor home to become compliant with FEMA standards will be the subject of a village Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review hearing later this month.

Joel has appeared before village officials several times since 2016 with plans to renovate his Bay Street property in the heart of Sag Harbor Village. He is seeking a certificate of appropriateness — needed for all exterior changes in the village, including new paint colors — to raise one of two buildings on the property by 4 feet and undertake other renovations.

His plans initially called for rotating an awkwardly situated building on the property -- making both structures parallel with Bay Street -- and constructing a large addition to connect them. It was met with some opposition from residents and the five-member board.

The scaled-back proposal now before the board calls for raising one of the buildings, adding a connecting wing, and constructing a screened porch overlooking Bay Street.

The shingled two-floor home features four bedrooms, all with en suite bathrooms, an elevator and a piano room on the first floor, according to architectural plans. Although it was constructed in the 18th century, the house retains few of its historical details, officials said. Dozens of buoys draped along the side facing Rysam Street make it one of the more noticeable homes in the village.

The hearing is set for Aug. 23 at 5 p.m. at Village Hall. Joel is not expected to attend, as he is scheduled to perform his 101st show at Madison Square Garden at 8 p.m.

Review board chairman Anthony Brandt said he expects media attention at the hearing, but stressed that an applicant’s reputation has no impact on the board's decision.

“I personally know a lot of high-profile people and that has no effect whatsoever [on decisions],” Brandt said.

A decision could be made on the same day, Brandt said, although the board has 60 days to consider the proposal after the hearing.

Joel's full-time residence, an estate named Middle Sea, is on Centre Island in Oyster Bay; the Sag Harbor property is a vacation home. He sold a Sagaponack beach house for $19 million in 2014.

Joel purchased the Sag Harbor property under the name Maritime Properties LLC in 2002 for $1.85 million, according to village records. His East Hampton attorney Jon Tarbet could not be reached this week.

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