For these last two months, the biggest application the Sag Harbor ZBA has had on its plate since the Bulova condo redevelopment project — we’re talking Harbor Heights here — has been discussed as the final agenda item of the board’s monthly meeting. This is an application that has captivated the village’s attention, with a number of residents and local organizations keeping close tabs on testimony delivered by both the opposition and the applicant.
And at both this month and last month’s meetings, the agenda was enormous, including not only Harbor Heights – an application that was debated for hours on its own at the last three ZBA meetings – but other important applications, which residents have a keen interest in.
By the time the ZBA got around to discussing Harbor Heights, they had been seriously deliberating other, critical cases for hours and it was fairly apparent that both the board and the audience — at least those who hadn’t gone home due to the late hour — were fatigued. As a result, the debate about Harbor Heights has been limited.
While we praise the board for not closing the public hearing and making this a truly deliberative process, it is time this application was given its own meeting.
Honestly, this is a small village, and there aren’t many instances where we would advocate pulling an item off the regular agenda. But when you’re talking about an application of this scale, it’s important that all parties involved — not just the attorneys who have long and nuanced arguments both for and against the project, but most importantly, the public — have a forum where they can adequately explain their positions and express their concerns.
And sitting through hours of other agenda items before having the opportunity to voice those opinions is just not working for any of us.