Public to Weigh-in on Library Plan

Posted on 03 April 2010

By Kathryn G. Menu

The Sag Harbor Planning Board is seeking the opinions of residents, as well as the village’s historic preservation and architectural review board, as it moves into its formal review of an expansion and renovation of the historic John Jermain Memorial Library.

During its Tuesday, March 23 meeting, the planning board agreed to handle the review of the proposed 7,000 square foot addition, which will nearly double the library’s current size.

“You asked for it, so you are going to get it,” said the village’s environmental planning consultant Rich Warren.

The first order of business, according to village attorney Anthony Tohill, is to invite the library to present the plans to the public on Tuesday, April 27 and hear what they think about the proposal.

 “It is intended to move the notion of public concerns up as early as possible,” said Tohill, adding it is not a meeting intended to substitute the more formal scoping session under state environmental law.

Tohill added the Sag Harbor Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board (ARB) should also be asked to informally weigh in on the library’s expansion.

 “It is an important architectural moment, obviously,” said Tohill. While the ARB’s thoughts should not bind the planning board as it moves forward with its own review, suggested Tohill, the ARB’s opinion should be heard sooner, rather than later due to the historic nature of the library.

While issues like traffic impacts, parking, the impact on immediate neighbors and changes to JJML’s programs may be at the front of the planning board’s mind, said Tohill, residents may offer a different perspective or another issue they feel should be considered. 

“One of the results that can be authored by this approach is we can cause the process to move more efficiently, and quickly, and that is one of the goals,” he said.

The next Sag Harbor Village Planning Board meeting is on Tuesday, April 27 at 5:30 p.m. The next Sag Harbor Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board meeting is Thursday, April 8 at 5 p.m. with the following meeting on Monday, April 26. The library will likely begin its review at one of these two meetings, although has yet to be scheduled on a formal agenda.

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