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Sag Harbor Trustees: Washington Street Business Owner Calls for Parking Relief; Residents Continue Call for Drainage Study

Posted on 14 May 2013

By Kathryn G. Menu

At the same meeting where members of the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees adopted a new law limiting long term parking in the village, it also agreed to take a second look at the parking lot on Washington Street. This came as a result of business owners imploring the board to make it a short term lot for its customers.

On Tuesday night, the village board adopted a new law that limits parking in long term lots to three consecutive days. According to trustee Robby Stein, the impetus for the law is the fact that some residents are using the long term parking lots while they are in New York City for the week. This leaves downtown Sag Harbor — an area already plagued with parking concerns in season — with less parking than it needs.

“It’s a good idea,” agreed trustee Ed Gregory.

However, for Sharone Einhorn, the idea that the long-term lot on Washington Street near her Ruby Beets furniture and interior design store would be able to host cars for even as long as three days is more than she can bear.

Einhorn, who petitioned the village board last year to change the long term lot on Washington Street to a two-hour parking lot, implored the board to reconsider her request again.

“Seventy-two hours means people can leave their cars there and take the Jitney to New York, not allowing anyone else to park there,” she said.

Einhorn noted with the construction of condominiums at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory ongoing, businesses have already lost parking on Church Street and often times on Washington Street as well.

“I would appreciate two hour parking so people can stop and park in Sag Harbor,” said Einhorn. “There is so much pressure and there is no where to park in this town.”

Stein said he understood where Einhorn was coming from and Gregory suggested the board consider changing parking in the lot, particularly because of its proximity to Sag Harbor’s business district.

According to village attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr. the village board would need to create a new local law in order to move forward with the change.

Drainage Study, Moratorium Formally Presented

A petition was formally filed with the village board Tuesday night with signatures representing 104 residents of Sag Harbor. The signers of the petition are calling for a study of drainage and wetlands in the village, as well as a moratorium on certain development projects until that research is complete.

The petition was presented by Angela Scott, a Spring Street resident, who has been joined by a number of residents on Spring, Howard and Garden streets calling for a comprehensive drainage plan for their neighborhood. The residents note that hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage was inflicted on their homes due to coastal flooding from Hurricane Sandy.

The petition asks the village board “conduct a comprehensive review by professional engineers and environmental specialist to assess the drainage situation in the flood zone and vulnerable area of Sag Harbor Village”; that it look at ways to more effectively utilize the wetlands system for drainage; that the village review all future building proposals to ensure they will not have a negative impact on the drainage of neighboring properties or the municipal drainage system and that any variances for building, decking and pools be severely restricted in flood prone areas. Lastly, it calls for a moratorium on all proposals involving the installation of above ground septic systems, changes in topography and grade levels with the use of fill until the review is completed by the village.

Scott said in circulating the petition she found just one person — someone who works for the village and did not want to present a conflict of interest — who did not support the language in the petition.

Environmental activist Larry Penny supported Scott and suggested the board take a look at maintaining existing wetlands.

“What we learned after speaking with these residents and business owners is that they are very concerned about the drainage problem that plagues them on a regular basis,” said Scott after the meeting. “Sandy was a problem no doubt, but they also spoke about the constant drainage problems that they face year round.”

On Wednesday, Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride said the board was committed to reviewing each and every one of the requests, although did say he believes the current drainage system is sufficient.

“I think Sandy was a catastrophic event for a lot of people, but that being said we will look at each proposal as a board,” said Gilbride.

Tree Fund will Re-Design LI Avenue Landscaping

The Sag Harbor Tree Fund was approved Tuesday night to embark on a redesign of the landscaping along Long Island Avenue, revisiting a project they originally began in 2005.

According to a letter filed with the board by tree fund member Gail Slevin, a pathway created by the fund known as “Railroad Path” was meant to be a maintenance free, natural path, planted with grasses, ferns and shadbushes along the former Cilli Farm.

However, the grasses did not keep down the weeds, the walkway has required a lot of weeding and mulching and the shadbushes have developed cedar-apple rust, a fungal disease.

The fund proposed a new plan and has been working with Edmund Hollander of Hollander Landscape Architects and Superintendent of Public Works Dee Yardley on the concept.

The new plan calls for the grasses and ferns to be replaced by a low-growing, drought tolerant fescue grass mix that will create a low meadow, which will need to be cut just two or three times a year. The shadbushes will be replaced by white, flowering Natchez Crepe Myrtles.

An irrigation system is also planned.

All the work and plant materials, valued between $20,000 and $30,000 is being donated to the fund by Edmund Hollander Landscape Architects, Inc., according to Slevin’s letter.

The village will host its end of year fiscal meeting on Wednesday, May 29 at 8:30 a.m.

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