Harbor Heights ZBA Hearing Postponed To January; Meeting Cancelled After Lack of Quorum

Posted on 17 December 2012

An image created by the not-for-profit Save Sag Harbor, based on the specs in the Harbor Heights proposal filed with the Sag Harbor Village Building Department illustrates the difference between a proposed gas station canopy at the Hampton Street property and the existing canopy at a Hess gas station in Wainscott. 

By Kathryn G. Menu

A hearing in front of the Sag Harbor Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) on the proposed expansion of the Harbor Heights Service Station on Route 114 to include a convenience store has been tabled until January, according to building department secretary Lisa Koehne.

The matter was tabled at the request of the applicant, said Koehne.

In fact, due to no quorum, on Monday afternoon the village announced the entire meeting would be cancelled with all business moved to the January 15 session of the ZBA.

Whether or not — and even how — the Harbor Heights Service Station will be redesigned and expanded will almost entirely land in the hands of the Sag Harbor Village Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).

Leonard has proposed redeveloping the property on Route 114 in Sag Harbor by demolishing the existing, blue gas station building and putting in a new building, which would host a convenience store. The existing Sag Harbor Service Station business will also be expanded, under the proposal, with its own office and bathroom space.

A new layout for gas pump islands, more pumps and new curb cuts to make the station safer to enter and exit are proposed in Leonard’s plans, as is new landscaping, lighting and parking configuration.

In order to construct the project, as proposed, Leonard needs a number of variances from the ZBA, including one to allow him to construct the convenience store at nearly twice the size of what is allowed under the village code. The store is proposed to be 1,000 square feet, as opposed to the 600 square feet allowed under the code. The full size of the building will actually be about 1,800 square feet, although Sag Harbor Village Building Inspector Tim Platt has ruled the size of the actual retail portion of the store is 1,000 square feet.

Leonard also needs a variance for the canopy proposed over the reconfigured and expanded gas pumps, which is proposed at 20 feet high, five feet higher than code allows. He is also asking to reduce the landscape buffer required under the code from 30 feet to five and 15.6 feet, reduce the total landscaping from 35 percent of the parcel to 29 percent, to expand the repair shop by 350 square feet, 35 percent more than the code allows and to reduce the required setback to Hampton Street from 50 feet to 15.6 feet. The current setback of the gas station to Hampton Street, or Route 114, is almost nothing in the station’s present layout.

The project has drawn criticism from some neighbors as well as the not-for-profit Save Sag Harbor, which charged in an email sent to its membership this week that the project “threatens to overwhelm this scenic gateway to Sag Harbor.”

“Save Sag Harbor is dedicated to protecting the character, scale and quality of life of our unique village from overambitious development,” said the organization in a statement. “In this case, we believe that the size and scope of the Harbor Heights gas station, as currently proposed by the present owner, is excessive and inappropriate. We encourage a renovation of this property, but urge that it conform to Sag Harbor’s hard-won and well-reasoned Village Zoning Code.”

The January meeting will be held on January 15 at 6 p.m.

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