Categorized | Government, Page 1

Library In Limbo

Posted on 29 January 2010

web JJML1.26.09

The Sag Harbor Planning Board still does not have enough information on plans to expand and restore the John Jermain Memorial Library to bring the project to the public, it announced on Tuesday night, meaning it will be another month before the village can begin its formal review of the plan.

During a work session on Tuesday night, Gilbert Flanagan, the library’s planning attorney, brought the board up to speed on information it can expect in the next two weeks on parking, traffic, the effect of the project on adjacent property owners and the temporary space the library plans on using during construction.

Responding to a memo from Sag Harbor planning consultant Rich Warren, Flanagan said the library would give the village a more detailed survey of current public parking around the library, as well as additional spaces that could be created by re-striping existing parking. According to Flanagan, there are currently 243 spaces that could be utilized around the library. Flanagan acknowledged parking and traffic would likely be one of the more significant issues the library will have to contend with.

“We have dropped any suggestion or request that traffic on Union Street be limited to one way only,” said Flanagan. That concept was originally floated by library officials in the hope that they could create additional parking next to JJML on Union Street.

The library’s design also includes plans to connect JJML to the village sewer line, which ends roughly 282-feet from the library’s property with a handful of houses between the library and the sewer line. Flanagan said last week representatives from the village, including village attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride, met with library officials about the hook-up and were encouraged to submit a petition to the village board of trustees.

According to JJML Director Catherine Creedon, the meeting was “positive,” a sentiment echoed by Gilbride. Creedon acknowledged the library is still exploring whether three additional houses that lie south of the library, as well as the Sag Harbor Custom House, would need to hook into the line as well in order to extend it to JJML.

“We will take guidance on that from the village,” Creedon said on Wednesday, adding the library would work with affected neighbors towards finding a solution once they receive the go-ahead from village officials.

Other concerns laid out in Warren’s memo involve adjacent property owners, specifically Ann Castaldo who lives directly behind the library on Jefferson Street and the unknown property owners of 6 Union Street, known locally as the Morpurgo property.

According to Flanagan, Creedon has had a number of discussions with Costaldo, detailing mitigation measures including creating landscaping on the Costaldo property as well as JJML in order to create a buffer between the parcels. Flanagan said the library has also moved a proposed refuse area from Costaldo’s property line and intends to do some restorative work on her residence.

Village attorney Anthony Tohill wondered whether the library had contacted the owners of 6 Union Street, the former Morpurgo property. Flanagan said he would provide the village with more information on that correspondence in coming weeks.

Having initially narrowed their search for a temporary library space down to three properties, on Tuesday, Flanagan announced the library’s hope was to rent 34 West Water Street, the former site of Personal Best Fitness. The site, said Flanagan, shows 35 on-site parking spaces, as well as a plethora of public parking nearby. The building is handicap accessible, he added, and is built on a slab and therefore able to support the extra weight a library will require for its collections. Flanagan promised a zoning analysis of the property before next month’s meeting.

While the project has been moving slowly through the village planning process, Tohill noted that being a public building and a publicly funded project, once the village has all the information it needs from JJML it can add additional meetings to its calendar to move the process along.

“The village can, within its discretion, work with the applicant in terms of moving the matter through,” he said. “We simply need a complete application.”

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