The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees extended a commercial moratorium in the village another six months on Wednesday, November 12, although according to trustee Tiffany Scarlato, this is the last time the board expects it will need to extend the moratorium, as it hopes to adopt a new zoning code before June.
The moratorium has been in place since June of 2007, and now legally can continue through June 2009. It was put in place as the village began discussing rewriting its zoning code, which had not been updated since the early 1980s.
“We have a zoning code we believe will be the one scheduled for public hearing,” said Scarlato last Wednesday. “I am anticipating, certainly by the end of 180 days, we will have that completed.”
“Hopefully sooner rather than later,” said trustee Brian Gilbride.
The new code, drafted by Sag Harbor Village Attorney Anthony Tohill and village environmental planning consultant Richard Warren has been met with both support and criticism since it was unveiled in the beginning of May. Preliminary recommendations for the draft code were presented in the fall of 2007.
Many members of the business community have expressed concerns that the new code may have been too restrictive, while other organizations have supported the re-write, which was conceived to protect the historic character of the commercial district, and maintain the diversity of uses that currently exist.
The draft code — which suggests shrinking the village business district to encompass primarily Main and Bay streets, creates an office district surrounding the core commercial district, restricts size of stores and addresses some affordable housing initiatives on its very surface — went through a number of revisions since May during a series of public meetings. But according to Scarlato, it is unlikely any more large revisions will be made to the code.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Mia Grosjean, president of Save Sag Harbor — a community organization that formed over concerns about over-development in the village and the threat of an influx of chain stores — spoke, asking the code be approved “as soon as possible.”
She also gave the board draft language out of Southold that she says might more adequately deal with the concern Save Sag Harbor members have over the possibility of chains like CVS or Ralph Lauren setting up shop on Sag Harbor’s mom and pop Main Street.
“We have had a lot of dialogue about the new code and I think it has been very effective,” said Sag Harbor Business Association member Jeff Sander, wondering if there would be more review of the code and a required environmental review.
Ferraris explained that the board is expecting to receive an environmental impact statement by December, after which public hearings on the impact statement, the draft code and the comprehensive plan will be held.
In other news, for the second meeting in a row, Gilbride faced off against a representative from Maran Corporate Risk Insurance Associates. Steve Maietta approached the board trying to understand why Gilbride would ask the board to change the village’s insurance broker, abandoning its contract with Maran in favor of using Jeffrey Brown of Dayton Ritz and Osborne Insurance. Last month, at Gilbride’s urging, the board adopted a resolution making the change with mayor Greg Ferraris and trustee Ed Deyermond abstaining on the change.
Maietta told the board last Wednesday that he had submitted a proposal to Gilbride — a proposal he says shows that the change to Dayton Ritz and Osborne saves the village virtually no money.
Gilbride began by saying he had not seen the proposal until the evening of the village board meeting, but Maietta countered that he had a discussion with Gilbride earlier in the week when the trustee admitted he had the document, but did not want to open it. Maietta continued to maintain making the switch would save the village no money and therefore wondered why Gilbride would ask for the change.
Gilbride countered the switch would save the village $1,000, although Maietta disagreed with the figure.
As the board adopted the resolution last month, Dayton Ritz and Osborne is already officially the village’s insurance broker. The change in no way affects the village’s insurance or the cost for insurance.