A Northport Village trustee has been given permission to proceed with building a home on a lot where he began construction two years ago without the necessary permits.
Tom Kehoe had been wrangling with village officials about his house on Mariners Lane since 2019, after a stop-work order was issued for work conducted without the proper permits, including building a foundation too close to the lot lines and a set of stairs without permission.
"It’s been 28 months and I’m happy to have it behind me at this point," Kehoe said last week. "We have to design a smaller house, which is fine; I went through the whole vetting process, I got the ZBA approval in writing and now we’re done."
The village Zoning Board of Appeals voted 5-0 at its Sept. 29 meeting to allow Kehoe to construct only a 1,750-square-foot home, down from the original 3,000-square-foot proposal.
The project had been a source of controversy in the community. Kehoe filed two lawsuits against the village, one an appeal of the ZBA ruling regarding variances he received from the board in 2018 that were later rescinded. The second claimed the ZBA did not give him notice that the variances were going to be rescinded.
Kehoe apologized to the community for his actions regarding the house before stepping down in 2019 as deputy mayor following pressure from residents and other trustees, but he remained in his seat as a trustee.
Suffolk County also issued a notice of violation against Kehoe for installing a septic system without a county permit.
The house was gutted by fire in 2017 and demolished in December 2018. Excavation and foundation work were done in January and February 2019.
Kehoe said he plans to build on the property despite having previously said he would sell it. He said issues with the permitting process made a sale difficult.
"I’m not rushing out to put shovels in the ground," Kehoe said. "The house that was finally approved is a different house than what I had started to build; now I have to shop around with contractors again, plus building materials are much more expensive now."
Mayor Damon McMullen said he’s glad there’s been a resolution.
"The ZBA made the decision and now we move on," McMullen said. "I hope that the attorneys will now be able to conclude the other litigation."