Sag Harbor Yacht Yard Told to Shove Off

Posted on 16 July 2014


By Stephen J. Kotz

Sag Harbor Village this week gave Lou Grignon, the owner of the Sag Harbor Yacht Yard, 30 days to vacate a parcel of village-owned waterfront land has used for the past 20 years as a boat storage area.

The village issued the eviction notice after negotiations to reach a new lease agreement failed. The yacht yard’s 20-year lease for the property ended on May 31.

On Wednesday, Mr. Grignon, who owns the buildings adjacent to the village property he has been leasing, said the village’s decision would effectively put him out of business.

“If I don’t have room to store boats, I don’t have room to be a boatyard,” he said, adding that he typically stores about 130 boats on the property each winter.

He said he had hired attorney Dennis Downes to represent him as he seeks to stay at the site.

“Mr. Grignon had an opportunity” to sign a new lease, said Mayor Brian Gilbride. “It’s time for the village to move forward and get that property back.”

Mr. Gilbride said the village had options for the property, which could range from using it as a park, for a parking lot or a place to expand the Sag Harbor farmers market, but he said nothing had been decided yet.

Mr. Grignon said he had been paying $15,592 a year for the boat storage area in the last year of his lease. He said the village told him an appraisal found the property should be rented for $20,000 a year.

“So I put forth an offer of $20,000 a year for the first year, which is roughly a 25-percent increase,” he said. Mr. Grignon added that he sought a 10-year lease with a 10-year option to renew with annual increases of 2.3 percent.

“That was right on par with cost-of-living increases and everything,” Mr. Grignon said. “Not to mention that we just went through the worst recession in history.”

The village countered with an offer for a five-year lease, with the first year at $22,500 and annual increases of 5 percent, he said.

“This is a dollar and cents issue,” he continued. “For them to raise the rent 33 percent and then 5 percent more a year doesn’t make sense. We’d have to power wash a lot of boats to make it work.”

The property, which was once used by the Mobil Corporation to store fuel oil, was contaminated by leaks from storage tanks. It was turned over to the village for a nominal fee under an agreement that there would be no buildings constructed at the site.

Mr. Grignon said the site had been used as boatyard dating to 1797 and is the only boatyard outside the Sag Harbor-North Haven Bridge.

Harbor Committee Chairman Bruce Tait said the village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan requires that the village try to maintain water-related uses and businesses. He said it would not be suitable for parking because that is not a waterfront use and it is too far from the business district.

“This village is a maritime village. The last thing you want to get rid of is the boatyard,” said Dr. Tom Halton, a committee member at Monday’s meeting.

“What’s in the best interest of the people of Sag Harbor?” asked Mr. Grignon. “Do they need more parking or do they want a boatyard?”

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36 Responses to “Sag Harbor Yacht Yard Told to Shove Off”

  1. Mike martin says:

    …And Gilbride continues to dismantle everything that makes this village a place to live, rather than just a Hamptons magazine photo-op….If the Boatyard goes, the LOCAL sailing community will diminish all the more, further reducing the already redacted quality of life for LOCALS….and all for an extra $5,000 a year?
    Gilbride….can you say penny-wise and pound-foolish?

  2. Vanessa Dowling says:

    And the town tries to force out a business that is part of the tradition of our maritime history. People need a place to store and repair their boats too. Plus, why put a farmers market on a contaminated site?!? Bug duh.

  3. John Kelleher says:

    Farmers market, parking, park? All of those options are trendy and all, for a couple of months or a few weekends out of the year! The last thing Sag needs us more cars and for that matter people. It’s ready to implode the way it is now.

    That yard is the only deeper water service facilities in the area. And I may add accommodating. With the marine and tackle store it serves more than just a couple purposes.

    I think thought should be put into why Sag Harbor is popular. Perhaps because it’s a “harbor”.

    Gilbride should stop flexing the political muscle and do what’s right for everyone including the locals who are employed by Mr. Grignon. It’s called being reasonable!

  4. Elizabeth Yennie says:

    Sounds like both sides to come back to the table and stop threatening lawsuits. He is now getting the land for below market value, the village wants to charge more. How about meeting in the middle and leaving the lawyers out of it?

  5. JN says:

    The yacht yard is an iconic part of Sag Harbor’s legacy and future place on the eastern end of Long Island as a boating destination. The narrow focus of the mayors position reflects a severe ignorance of simple economics. The marina generates an income stream to local businesses/local economy as a whole that will not exist (or be greatly diminished) with a parking lot or expanded farmers market. The knock-on impact of this loss not only marginalizes Sag Harbor’s status as a premier boating destination but will negatively impact restaurants and other local businesses that provide services to the yard, not to mention the loss of income producing local jobs at the yard. Nice work Gilibride – kill local jobs, negatively impact the secondary revenue streams and tax revenues for the village while at the same time moving Sag Harbor away from its historical roots.

  6. Arnold Timer says:

    Its seems as though the parties are not far apart as far as terms. The village should compromise with Mr. Grignon to ensure that this valuable business remains in place as long as possible. Parking is a ridiculous use and the Farmer’s market won’t pull in the revenue Mr. Grignon has offered to pay.

  7. Michael Leahy says:

    Replace a traditional boatyard with a parking lot. Now there’s a mayor who has no clue about the heritage of Sag Harbor. Maybe he is just negotiating.
    His rep is that of a bully. Seems right!!

  8. john seymore says:

    Sag Harbor is that tight for money perhaps reflecting how it is so poorly run. I believe the property is well worth a rent increase however the mayor should remember local people also need to live work and play here. Realistically there really isn’t a better use.

  9. E.M. Maxx says:

    The end is near if this happens ………….

  10. Jeff peters says:

    Lou don’t stand pat! Pull out all the weapons. I hear you have a special one.

  11. Carol Williams says:

    My kids all learned to sail growing up here, thanks to Mr. Koncelik’s wonderful sailing classes in NW Harbor (East Hampton Town–$25 for 2 weeks) , then the scholarships from Breakwater Yacht Club via Pierson. I am able to keep our family’s little sail boat going thanks to the Sag Harbor Yacht Yard and Lou’s caring attention. If SHYY goes, keeping a sail boat will become another perc for rich visitors and no longer one of the simple skills and joys of growing up in the Harbor.

  12. Art Donovan says:

    Simply put, The Yacht Yard is one of the oldest, continuous historic features in Sag Harbor Village. (It is also the sole working yacht yard in the area- servicing the entire, local sailing community during the busy tourist summer season. (Key word here: TOURISM)

    This recent decision to raise the yacht yards’ lease to unfair, unworkable proportions strikes at the very heart of the historic equity that the Village trades on.

    Sag Harbors’ history is actually alive in this Yacht Yard. It’s the genuine, maritime article- not a “theme park prop” seen in so many unremarkable seaside communities along the East Coast.

    For a Village to claim that is so proud of it’s seafaring history, how can they even consider the demise of one of it’s true, historic and necessary maritime entities?

  13. Rust Elliott says:

    I remember the boat yard when the adjacent lot was still a tank farm. It would be a sad day for Sag Harbor and for those of us who have so few places remaining unchanged from our childhood.

  14. E.M. Maxx says:

    Once again I bet this is personal …….

  15. E.M. Maxx says:

    Who owns the dilapidated Dump to the right of 7-11? Seems it could be put to better use ? Seems like a money maker correct ? Who owns that parking lot in front of it ? Why aren’t there parking spaces in that fenced in grassy area to the right of the post office ?

  16. Jean Held says:

    I love the boat yard and don’t even own a boat or sail or wade in the water, but I do drop in to ask Lou a Sag Harbor history question every now and then. Come on Sag Harbor we can’t loose another reason to live here.

  17. Dan Betta says:

    When Jimmy Buffet’s small sport fish ran over the rocks (delivery crew) several years back – who hauled the boat out that very evening? Lou at the Yacht Yard.

    When we had the threat of a hurricane hitting the east end a few summers ago, I brought several of my client’s boats to Lou get hauled out on one day’s notice. There was a mad panic to get every boat that had no where to go hauled out and Lou and his team took care of as many as possible.

    Sag Harbor IS the waterfront; the waterfront IS boating; boating IS the community.

    Small businesses define small towns.

    Is Mayor Gilbride really so spiteful and determined to get his due over a bit of land that clearly is going to require some significant investment to create any of the spaces mentioned in the article? At the expense of depriving an already existing business of a it’s ability to continue?

    For what? More open space? More parking?

    Sag has plenty of both (most will disagree about the parking, but if you’re willing to walk a few blocks, you can ALWAYS find parking).

    Shame on Mayor Gilbride and shame on those who don’t think he and the town are putting the squeeze on Lou and his great team. For a measly few thousand dollars…

  18. Dan Betta says:

    @E.M. Maxx

    Totally agree about the fenced off area next to the post office…talk about a waste of space.

    I don’t know why it’s fenced off, but I can bet it’s privately owned and has something to do w/ development rights. While that gets sorted, why isn’t it open to parking?

  19. Dan Betta says:

    We lost Reno and the dry cleaners a couple of years ago b/c of greed on the part of a building owner…seems the town of Sag Harbor and the mayor are eager to be seen in the same light.

    Penny wise and pound foolish…I guess that’s how you get elected.

  20. Richard Bockman says:

    The boatyard is a one of a kind business that serves many essential functions for the village and it’s residents, a rapid, fair and totally amicable accommodation must be reached immediately.

  21. Nav1 says:

    When I was a kid it was called Whaler’s Point Boatyard in the 1960′s. The tank farm was next door, and once a month an oil tanker would sail into Sag Harbor and fill the tanks on the waterfront. All that is gone unfortunately, except the boatyard that has remained mostly unchanged. The village has to lease it out at fair market value, but I understand the ground is contaminated, so I do not know it’s actual rental value.

  22. Caroline Waloski says:

    Why is government. local and national trying to destroy everything of value in this nation?

  23. E.M. Maxx says:

    It’s all about GREED !!!!!!!!!!

  24. Johnny Alewive says:

    It’s terrible for Sag Harbor and any local boaters…. But more importantly what would happen to Kenny Tightlines he’s a staple in the fishing cimmunIty and an asset to Sag Harbor.
    Sag Harbor and the east end would be at a great loss if the yacht yard left and so did Kenny Tightlines.

  25. Ex Sag Harborite says:

    Let me understand the logic:
    -Boatyard pays real estate taxes
    -Boatyard collects and pays sales tax
    _Boatyard pays all kinds of business taxes
    -Boatyard pays workers a paycheck and payroll taxes
    -Workers pay NY State and Federal income tax, Social Security and Medicare tax
    -Workers pay real estate taxes
    -Workers spend money in the community and pay sales taxes
    -Local business sell goods and services to the boatyard and workers and in turn get income and pay more taxes
    -Boat owners come to Sag Harbor and spend money in the town and pay sales taxes

    The Mayor may be on to something by raising the rent and possibly forcing closure of the SHYY. There is just too darn much money and taxes moving around the community!


  26. eliz g says:

    gilbride told my father, in front of people,”if i could i drill a hole in the harbor to drain it, then pave that too.”

    just the facts

  27. John Hovekamp says:

    This is a ridiculous situation. How much rent would a parking lot or a dog walk generate? How many jobs would they generate? The mayor should stop posturing and negeotiate a reasonable contract with Lou. Like it or not Mr. Gilbride, Sag Harbor is a waterfront community.

  28. Gloria Frazee says:

    Closing Sag Harbor Yacht Yard would be very detrimental to the town of Sag Harbor.

    SHYY is the #1 reason I go to Sag from my home in East Hampton because I enjoy sailing in the beautiful harbor.

    After sailing, I often stop in at Cavaniola’s, Emporium Hardware, the Bagel Buoy, Sylvester, Sag Harbor Beverage Center, Colette and In Home, among other merchants.

    As a result, I spend at least $3,000/yr in Sag.

    I am part of a club that sails from the SHYY, so you could multiply that by 8 for about $24,000/yr. And that’s the impact from a single group that sails tiny, single-handed dinghies. Now, start multiplying the loss from all the (much) larger boats…

    I hope that a common ground can be found to save Sag Harbor Yacht Yard — and Sag Harbor.

  29. Nicholas Wentworth says:

    Wait till a hurricane threatens – any boat not hauled out at the SHYY and unable to pass under the bridge could be in serious trouble. The village needs as much haulout space as is reasonable. If the land in dispute is pulled from under the yacht yard many boaters – and voters – will suffer.

  30. Richard New says:

    Glibride is a moron. He has messed everything he has gotten involved with

  31. floatdesign says:

    To: The Town of Sag Harbor and its current elected officials.

    Sag Harbor Yacht yard is one of the last real working yards on the waterfront and provides year round income, employment and enjoyment for boaters and onlookers. Our town was built on the idea of being a working waterfront from the day it was established back in the very, early 1700′s. We should seriously continue to uphold what little we have left of that. Furthermore, as the town continues to offer moorings, and waterfront access to boating, a full service WATERFRONT yard is imperative to maintaining and or servicing this. If anything the town should be helping to devise ways to foster this environment. Sag Harbor’s maritime atmosphere is what makes us so attractive and unique. It is truly what distinguishes us from all other towns. Furthermore, we are the only real waterfront town on the South Fork that can offer a deep, safe harbor with rare, marine trade focused services. Please remember this so we can continue to provide what is needed to maintain our integrity as a village that has deep roots in maritime activities.

    Mayor Brian Gilbride, please revisit the history of Sag Harbor… It’s quite impressive actually, and it’s on your town website.

    Here is the link…

    Thank you for listening to my general opinion on this matter.

  32. Dan Mitchell says:

    So we bought Long Wharf but want to put the only boat yard out of business. Gee sounds logical. What a disgrace.

  33. Daniel B. Bentley says:

    For years of cruising from Connecticut and Rhode Island, Sag Harbor has been one of our favorite destinations. This is due, in part, to the services provided by the Sag Harbor Yacht Yard. This year, we suffered a fuel leak that prompted another call to Lou Grignon. He made room for us on the dock and quickly pumped out the remaining fuel. A week later, the Yacht Yard had installed a new tank and we were able to continue our cruise. Had the Yard’s services not been available, the containment, cleanup, fuel disposal and tank replacement would have proved much more difficult and would certainly have curtailed our cruise. We hope to continue as visitors to Sag Harbor and continue as a customer of the Yacht Yard.
    Dan Bentley

  34. Captain Bob says:

    What, if any are the mayors plans when we get hit with another hurricane? Forty to fifty (the number that would fit on the disputed land) boats were saved from damage by Sag Harbor Yacht Yard’s ability to haul and store these vessels. Many of the ones left in the water were damaged and became strewn about the waterfront. The damage without the Yacht Yards diligence would have been catastrophic.
    Providing underwater land for rent, as the Village does, in order to place a mooring seems almost akin to providing an attractive nuisance. Then what, no moorings? No income from them ? No good will throughout the boating community? Leave the Harbor in SAG HARBOR.
    Come to a middle ground that all can be happy and proud of. Let’s leave personalities out of this and do what’s best for Sag Harbor.

  35. the capt says:

    The one issue everyone is leaving out here, Lou is a lousy business person, and has treated many poorly. He is knows as a person who makes up fake bills, and never gets the work done on time. Anyone who knows boating, knows to stay away from there.

  36. Beantown sailor says:

    We depend on SHYY when we are in Long Island. Lou is the go to guy and yacht yard for emergency repairs or a slip. Shame on the mayor for trying to take away an income producing entity. Isn’t the town called Sag Harbor, then boats need a place to go to.

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