In a discussion that began with Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee member Dr. Tom Halton calling for better lighting on Long Wharf, the committee vowed to make the development of Long Wharf a priority in the next year. The village is waiting for a decision by Suffolk County to turn over the wharf to the village some time before the end of 2012.
“As we take over Long Wharf, we have to be prepared to move forward with these recommendations,” said Harbor Committee Chairman Bruce Tait on Monday night. “In the next year, Long Wharf should be front and center in what we are doing here.”
In addition to making the wharf safer, Harbor Committee members said they will also keep a close watch on discussions about a passenger ferry service that has operated on a temporary basis this summer season.
In particular, said Tait, is the realization that, should the village allow the Hampton Jitney to continue passenger ferry service over the long term through its Peconic Bay Water Jitney, the village will have no legal control if the service expands to private marinas. He fears the company may offer service to Montauk or Connecticut casinos, for example.
The soft opening of the ferry service, added Tait, makes it difficult for the village to assess the impact of the business on residents. After more than one year, it could be vastly more popular, he noted, particularly if other ports are introduced.
“It’s very unlikely you can tell them where they can go,” said village attorney Denise Schoen.
The service has been operating since July between Sag Harbor and Greenport villages alone. The Peconic Bay Water Jitney has received a five-year permit to operate a ferry service through Suffolk County, although the Village of Sag Harbor would need to adopt a new law if the service was to be made permanent or extended past October 1.