The Sag Harbor Village attorney had sharp words for a proposed condo project at 1, 3 and 5 Ferry Road at a Tuesday planning board work session, the night after the developers of the plan presented new architectural renderings for the 18-unit project.
On Monday night, East End Ventures, the firm proposing the luxury condo project with accessory docks on Sag Harbor’s waterfront presented new architectural rendering to the historic preservation and architectural review board.
The concept, developed by architect Katherine Fee, revolves around the industrial, row house character of historic waterfront communities as its inspiration. Fee presented the board with a cluster of five townhouses separated by streets. Fee said the canal-style streets were implemented as a design feature intended to reduce the overall mass of the proposed buildings. A parking garage is located under a green roof – a grass covered expanse – adjacent to the condo development. The parking garage is proposed to house roughly 20 vehicles, said Fee, over half the parking proposed for the site.
By and large, the ARB was impressed with the concept, although they did suggest Fee vary the height of the buildings, even if a variance was necessary to create the sense that these structures were built over time, instead of in one development. They also suggested looking at finding a way to get all of the parking underground, instead of just about half.
While ARB Chairman Cee Scott Brown called the presentation “helpful,” he added the developers should wait to come back to the board until they have reached the phase where the village boards, save the planning board, can get involved.
Which was one of the problems village attorney Anthony Tohill had with the presentation. The plan presented to the ARB on Monday night varied greatly from the plan the village’s planning board is in the midst of reviewing under the state environmental quality review (SEQR). The project under review by the planning board presents a single 43,040 square-foot building with 18 accessory dock slips and 36 above-ground parking spaces, while the design presented by Fee is vastly different with five buildings, underground parking and a green roof shown as aspects of the new design.
According to Tohill, if a plan changes drastically in the midst of this review, the whole process must start from scratch as the planning board has been evaluating the potential impacts of the original design, not this new incarnation. New designs are generally reserved for the alternatives section of an environmental review.
Another problem, according to Sag Harbor Mayor Greg Ferraris, is that while the application was originally slated for the Monday, October 27 meeting, the applicant’s attorney pulled it from the meeting agenda on October 6. Only hours before the ARB meeting on Monday was set to commence did the attorney ask it be put back on the agenda, without meeting the deadline for submission and without the village attorney or village planner being notified by the village building department.
Both were absent from the ARB meeting as a result.
“Trustee [Tiffany] Scarlato has reviewed the board policies and procedures that need to be followed,” said Ferraris on Wednesday. “This will be rectified and will not happen again moving forward.”
On Tuesday night, prior to the board’s regular meeting, Tohill discussed the situation with the planning board in a work session, stating it needs to be clear that submissions cannot be made at the “last minute,” essentially introducing “complete chaos” to a state regulated review process.
Tohill said the developer’s move to show the ARB a new design could weaken the whole process for both the applicant and the village.
“There are no excuses for it,” he said, adding if another design is shown again the environmental review may have to start from the very beginning.
The project’s attorney Dennis Downes disagreed with Tohill saying he would address the issue during the regular meeting.
“I have to comment about a problem we have been having with this application in the past but it became a bit more acute last night when architects showed up at the ARB with a set of plans this board has not seen and was not aware of,” said board chairman Neil Slevin during the regular meeting. “That, we believe, was inappropriate at best.”
Slevin then questioned a fence that has been put up at the project site by National Grid, which is using the space for staging for a brief period while it performs a nearby remediation of coal tar. Downes explained the situation regarding National Grid, and in reference to the ARB meeting, said it was impossible for the applicants to do their job without being able to discuss the project with interested agencies like the ARB.
Tohill disagreed and cut the conversation short.
In other Ferry Road news, the board adopted a list of potential impacts East End Ventures must explore in the next phase of this review. The ball is now in the developer’s court, as they must provide responses to the litany of questions the planning board has asked.
Â Top photo: Architect Katherine Fee presidents the Sag Harbor ARB a new design for proposed luxury condos at 1, 3 and 5 Ferry Road Monday night.Â