By Kathryn G. Menu
Next Tuesday, the Sag Harbor Village Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) will be presented with a scaled-back re-development plan for the Harbor Heights service station, drastically reducing the number of variances the project needs before the village can sign off on the plan.
According to an amendment to John Leonard’s application to the Sag Harbor ZBA, the scope of the project has been reduced, eliminating a majority of the eight variances needed in his original application. Leonard now hopes to reconstruct the existing wooden structure at the Hampton Road, Sag Harbor gas and service station in its existing location and at its current size. Inside the buildings, Leonard’s attorney Dennis Downes said he has proposed to house a 718 square-foot convenience store, of which 120 square-feet will be devoted to a gas station attendant and for the sale of automotive products and 598 square-feet would be specifically for the retail convenience store. All setbacks for the existing building, located parallel and almost directly against Hampton Road, will remain the same, said Downes.
An existing fuel pump island, with four fueling positions, will be moved and expanded —similar to the original application. Four pump islands, with eight fueling positions, are proposed perpendicular to Hampton Street and setback from the roadway. They will be covered with a 24-foot canopy, which meets all code requirements. The existing island —sitting almost on the right-of-way on Hampton Street will be removed under the new plan.
Leonard proposes no new signage. In his original concept there was a roadside sign announcing gas prices. Instead, he proposes to keep the existing freestanding sign and install a wall-mounted sign on the westerly side of the reconstructed building.
Landscaping has also been redesigned with 21 feet of landscaping along the westerly side of the property closest to homes and the St. David’s African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church on Eastville Avenue. Thirty feet of landscaping is proposed on the southern border and between 15 and 20-feet of landscaping along the easterly boundary.
The office and bathroom proposed for the adjoining Sag Harbor Service Station remains a part of the plan.
According to the Sag Harbor Village Building Department, the new proposal will require four variances. One for the store’s setback to Hampton Street; another for landscape buffers below 30-feet; to be allowed to construct a 718 square-foot retail store where the code only allows a 600 square-foot store and lastly for creating “an impermissible intensification by constructing a convenience store exceeding 600 square-feet.”
It has been three years since Leonard originally proposed the redevelopment of the Harbor Heights Service Station. The project has been met with opposition, both by neighbors and the not-for-profit Save Sag Harbor, which hired East Hampton attorney Jeffrey Bragman to represent them in front of the ZBA and the village planning board.
After months in front of the ZBA, Downes announced in May the project had been redesigned to reduce the number of variances needed for approval. Next Tuesday night will be the first time those plans are publicly presented. The Sag Harbor ZBA meets at 6:30 p.m.