This week officials with National Grid, the utility that has just completed remediation of their Long Island Avenue, Sag Harbor parcel, inked a short term agreement that will give village residents anywhere from 65 to 75 long-term parking spaces just a block from Main Street.
During the village’s end of the fiscal year meeting, on Friday, May 29 Mayor Greg Ferraris announced a deal had been struck, although it was made official by National Grid officials this week. On Tuesday, Ferraris said village officials would gather at the gravel-covered site later this week and that it was his hope the lot would be ready for use by this weekend.
Starting in September, National Grid began a nine-month remediation of coal tar that sat under the now-removed KeySpan Hortonsphere. The clean-up project involved the excavation of 36,449 tons of manufactured-gas-plant-impacted soil from the site. Due to Sag Harbor’s high water table, the project required dewatering – the removal of water from the toxic soil – before the contaminated fill could be trucked to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) approved sites in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The removed water was treated in a facility that loomed over the backs of stores on Main Street, and pumped via pipeline past the breakwater near North Haven.
Late last month, National Grid finished its work on the site, although it will have to monitor area groundwater for years to come, layering the top of the parcel in blue stone gravel.
According to Ferraris, the six-month agreement with National Grid will enable the village to create anywhere from 65 to 75 parking spaces. While the lot will not be striped, Ferraris said he was planning on meeting with village officials at the site on Thursday to plan the best configuration, laying down telephone poles to delineate where cars should park.
“We will start it off as a long term parking lot and it will stay that way unless people abuse it,” Ferraris said on Tuesday.
As for the long-term plans for the parcel, National Grid would need approval from the New York State Public Service Commission if it were inclined to sell the property to the village. According to Ferraris, village officials will begin negotiations with National Grid next week on a long-term parking plan, but he acknowledged it will be complicated.
“There are a lot of individuals involved in this because it is a rate-payer based property we would be trying to acquire,” he said. “Technically, individual rate-payers have paid for this property through their rates over the years, so the commission must make sure the end use is in the best interest of the public.”
In other village news, the board passed a resolution opposing a change in legislation recommended by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that would change the law to force a referendum to dissolve any district, including a village government. Currently, a petition to force such a referendum requires the signatures of 30 percent of village residents. Cuomo’s legislation, which is designed to reduce the number of unnecessary districts in the state, would bring that number down to 10 percent. Yesterday, Wednesday, the bill —Â which had been approved by the assembly Monday — was passed by the state senate, and will now go to Governor Paterson for signing.
“This is a move by Attorney General Cuomo and the state to reduce the amount of authorities and taxing districts in New York State, which I am fully in support of because there are numerous districts that have been initiated, but are now outdated and still exist,” said Ferraris on Tuesday. “This is an obvious move to reduce these. However, when we are talking about 10 percent, in a village like Sag Harbor it would only take 200 people to force a referendum and they could do it every year; it is not time barred.”
“This would be extremely expensive for the village,” continued Ferraris. “It costs about $7,500 to hold a referendum with all the legal fees associated with it, so that is the main reason we are opposing it and asking the original percentage be maintained.”