In the Town of East Hampton, a professional artist can get approval from the Planning Board to construct an artist studio on property. An approved artist studio has a number of constraints, such as the size of the building, a restriction on any indoor plumbing outside of a sink, and no kitchen appliances. The artist must also show the Planning Board that he or she is a “working artist”.

The “working artist” requirement must always be true, even if the original applying artist no longer lives there. This obviously creates complications when buying a property with an artist studio on it (or being the artist attempting to sell said property).

Assuming the prospective buyer is not a working artist, there are a couple options. The buyer can simply remove the artist studio structure. Another option is that the structure can remain as long as it is no more than 600 sq. ft. in size, the limit on accessory structures, and it will be considered an accessory structure, like a shed or pool house. If the artist studio is larger than 600 sq. ft., then the buyer must modify it to meet that limit if it is to remain on the property.

If you’re considering buying a property with an artist studio on it, these modifications can be done after closing. The Town building inspector keeps a list of approved artist studios and meets with each owner once per year to verify that the studio is in use by a working artist. Upon notice that there is no longer a working artist occupying the property, the building inspector will give the new owner an opportunity to remove or alter the structure to make it an accessory structure.

It is important to keep this in mind before contracting to buy a property with an artist studio on it. Please check back to our website for updates on artist studios.

PLEASE NOTE that this article is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and the information within does not substitute for a consultation with an attorney.

Copyright 2021 Crouch McWilliams Law Group, PLLC