For six years, Greg Ferraris has served the Village of Sag Harbor — first as a trustee, then leading the village as its mayor for the last three years. On Tuesday night, Ferraris presided over his final village board meeting with residents, department heads and board members coming out to support the mayor who has led the village through years marked by unprecedented development and economic challenges.
Nada Barry, who presides over the Sag Harbor Youth Committee and owns The Wharf Shop, a village toy store, began the evening by congratulating Ferraris on his service with a balloon from her shop.
“We have been through a lot of mayors — Jim [Early, Superintendent of Public Works] and I — and I would say you are in the top two,” Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano said, recognizing trustee Ed Deyermond who served as mayor of Sag Harbor prior to Ferraris’s tenure on the board. Deyermond is also stepping down as trustee, and will not seek reelection to his seat in the upcoming election.
“You started a lot of projects here. Actually, this whole board started a lot of projects here,” continued Fabiano, endorsing current board member Brian Gilbride to take Ferraris’s seat.
“I hope some day in the future you decide to come back and serve the village again,” trustee Ed Gregory told Ferraris.
“It’s not all agreements and hugs and kisses,” said Gilbride. “This has really been a great ride and it’s a sad day.”
Deyermond, who has presided over the village as both mayor and a trustee since he began the Sag Harbor Party with Gilbride in 1994, said he was “happy and honored” to have served village residents for so many years. The current Southampton Town Tax Assessor remembered the day he asked Ferraris to run for trustee in 2003.
“I was honored from that point on and he has been just a great mayor and a great friend,” said Deyermond. “Seeing as I am the only ex-mayor in the room, I think I am the only one who is allowed to say, you’re the best.”
Ferraris, whose wife and daughter attended his last board meeting, said the evening was a little overwhelming and that as a member of a five-person board he was proud to lead one able to accomplish so much.
“I want to thank you all as board members,” said Ferraris, who also endorsed Gilbride for mayor and thanked all four trustee candidates for running. “You have made my job easier for being here.”
Ferraris also thanked village clerk Sandra Schroeder, village department heads and village employees.
“These are not your typical municipal employees,” said Ferraris. “It just does not exist in other places.”
In other village news, Ferraris announced the village was close to reaching a deal with the Sag Harbor Yacht Club to create an additional seven parking spaces on a parcel next to the yacht club. The parking, in a space owned by the village, will be financed by the yacht club, which is seeking to replace gas tanks in the area and has recently received approvals to do so from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The project is expected to take place in the fall, said Ferraris.
A memorial fishing tournament has been proposed in honor of Sag Harbor resident and Marine, Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, a 2006 Pierson graduate who was killed last year in Ramadi, Iraq. Haerter died along with fellow Marine, Corporal Jonathon T. Yale as a result of stopping a suicide bomber from entering the territory, and in the process, saved the lives of 33 Marines, dozens of Iraqi soldiers and hundreds of Iraqi citizens.
The event has been proposed by Richard Flood and Douglas Herman and would be an annual tournament with proceeds benefiting veterans’ groups like the Wounded Warrior Project and Homes for Heroes.
The tournament would replace the flounder derby, a Sag Harbor tradition that ceased last year due to a lack of the target fish. The new tournament is proposed to be held the week after HarborFest, at the end of September, which Ferraris noted will also be beneficial for area businesses.
“It will draw people into the village, but it won’t take village resources,” said Ferraris, who added that the village would relax fees for anglers entering the tournament. “It is nice to see a fishing tournament return to Sag Harbor and the last week of September, it is a nice way to bring people back to the village.”
While a formal application has yet to be filed with the village board, members voiced support for the event as did police chief Fabiano.
Trustee Tiffany Scarlato announced the village would do its best to honor restaurants’ new rights under the adopted zoning code to enjoy outdoor seating in the village. Sag Harbor Building Inspector Tim Platt is expected to inform establishments in the coming week of their right to outdoor seating in an effort to streamline the process as the summer tourist season approaches. To qualify, restaurants must have a six-foot wide sidewalk and must cover the seating area with umbrellas or awnings approved by the village’s architectural review board. Twenty percent of a restaurant’s seating is allowed outside under the new code’s provisions.
Dogs Allowed At Havens
Dogs will be allowed back at Havens Beach, in the area south of the bathing area long utilized as a dog park by village residents. Ferraris said now that a majority of water quality testing was completed at Havens Beach, the village would permit dogs back in the area, although he reminded residents dogs are not permitted on the beach area and the village does have a leash law. He also asked superintendent of public works Jim Early to look into reinstalling a dog waste baggie system at the park.
While the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce was approved for their bevy of events throughout the year, from a summer concert series to HarborFest, police chief Fabiano asked the board to reevaluate the HarborFest parade which he said takes an enormous amount of manpower to cover in addition to HarborFest weekend as a whole. The board approved the chamber’s full request with the exception of the parade, which they said they would discuss at a future date.
“We keep doing all these events and events and events and it is costing more and more each year in overtime,” explained Fabiano.