By Kathryn G. Menu
From an aesthetic perspective, it appears the proposal to expand the Harbor Heights service station to include a convenience store has the support of the Sag Harbor Village Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board (ARB).
On Thursday, November 8, ARB members said they liked the proposal, although the board will not formally sign off on the project until it earns 10 variances from the Sag Harbor Village Zoning Board of Appeals — variances that are necessary for the project to move forward as currently planned.
The Harbor Heights application was slated to be heard for the first time by the Sag Harbor ZBA at its November meeting next Tuesday, November 20. However, according to ZBA secretary Lisa Koehne the attorney representing the project, Dennis Downes, has asked the application be adjourned until the board’s December 18 meeting.
Under the limited liability corporation Petroleum Ventures, Harbor Heights owner John 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 reconfigured and expanded under the proposal.
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.
The project has drawn the ire of some neighbors, as well as the not-for-profit organization Save Sag Harbor. Both groups have questioned specifically the size of the convenience store, which as proposed is over 1,000 square feet where a 2009 code revision only allows convenience stores as accessory businesses to gas stations in Sag Harbor Village if they are 600 square feet or smaller.
According to Leonard’s engineer, Chris Tartaglia of High Point Engineering, the convenience store building, which will also serve as a space for the gas station attendant and storage, is actually 1,842 square feet. However, Sag Harbor Village Building Inspector Tim Platt has determined that approximately 1,000 square feet of the building is actually dedicated to the convenience store meaning Leonard only needs to obtain a variance for 400 square feet of store space.
On Thursday, Tartaglia said that the service station layout will remain virtually the same, although the bay doors facing the interior of the property will be closed and covered with inoperable barn doors as an architectural element. The new entryway to the service station will be relocated to the other side of the building to reduce noise, said Tartaglia.
The country market, as the convenience store is being referred to, will be built from scratch after the existing, Harbor Heights gas station building is demolished. It will be built directly next to the service station to give the appearance there is one building on the property when in fact there are two, with different rooflines to break up the massing of the structures, said Tartaglia.
The buildings will be clad in wood and traditional glass Anderson windows will also be used, he said, with white trim.
The gas station canopy, added Tartaglia, will have the same brown standing seam hip roof to tie architecture on the property together.
Leonard has also proposed two signs — one above the store and a small, low, monument style ground sign at the entrance of the gas station.
Overall, said Tartaglia, the design of the new facility moves the gas islands into the property and turns the gas pumps as well as the store so the main uses on the site are occurring in the interior of the property, rather directly on the roadway, as the gas station currently operates.
“It’s fine by me,” said board member Tom Horn, Sr., to the agreement of the others.