A car pulling into Harbor Heights gas station. Photo by Michael Heller.
By Stephen J. Kotz
It’s back. A plan to redevelop the Harbor Heights gas station property, which drew withering criticism from seemingly all quarters over more than three years of public review, has returned to the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board.
But this time, the application of Petroleum Ventures, the company which owns the one-acre parcel on Route 114, does not require any variances from the village Zoning Board of Appeals.
The company, owned by John Leonard, is now seeking site-plan approval and a special exception use permit to convert a portion of its existing building into a 600-square-foot convenience store, move its fuel pump island to a more central location under a 15-foot canopy, create curb cuts to allow more organized traffic flow on to and off of Hampton Street, and regrade the perimeter of the property and establish a 30-foot wide landscaped buffer along its borders with neighboring properties.
The board took no action on the application when it reviewed it on Tuesday and instead tabled it until its August meeting, pending submission of additional paperwork.
In February, after more than two years of review, the ZBA granted Petroleum Ventures a single variance, which would allow it to create a 600-square-foot convenience store within its existing building. At the time, the board reasoned that it would not require any additional construction to the front of the existing building, which is just 15 feet from the front property line.
But the ZBA denied a request for a variance allowing the convenience store to be 718 square feet. The village code limit is 600 square feet. It also denied variances that would have allowed the development to encroach within 9 to 14 feet of side and rear property lines, where a 30-foot setback is now required.
Initially, the only concern raised about the design of the new proposal came from board members who wanted to make certain there would be adequate space for fuel tankers or emergency vehicles to maneuver around the fuel pumps and the building.
In contrast to previous meetings, to which any discussion of Harbor Heights, brought a spirited crowd of opponents, Tuesday’s meeting was a quiet affair, witnessed by a sparse audience who were there on other matters.