Sag Harbor’s Mayor Brian Gilbride is so determined that the village take over a piece of land near the waterfront that he is considering condemning it.
The sliver of land — a former roadbed owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that once led to the original bridge leading to North Haven — is currently in contract to be sold to East End Ventures, a development company that has proposed to build a condominium complex on the adjacent property at the foot of the current bridge. The land the roadbed sits on would help mitigate the variance the developer needs for the project and, in one plan, would be used to access the proposed 18 boat slips that would go along with the condos.
But the village would like to marry the parcel to waterfront property it already owns, and create a park that would serve as a gateway to the village for people coming across the bridge.
“This really fits into the village’s plan for a park,” said Gilbride this week.
Gilbride and the village were peeved when the MTA announced recently that it intended to sell to the developer, since the village had made several overtures in recent years hoping to acquire it themselves. About ten years ago, in fact, the village had actually commissioned a landscape design for the property by renowned landscape architect Edmund Hollander.
Gilbride said in an interview Tuesday that condemnation through eminent domain was “certainly an option” and he would raise the subject when the village board meets this coming Tuesday.
“We’ve been advised by our attorneys that his was a way to go,” said Gilbride of condemnation.
The relationship between the village and the developer has become more combative in recent weeks, with the developer filing a suit against the board and others charging a recently-approved zoning code was intended to discourage its development of the property known as 1 Ferry Road, the former Dr. Harry Diner property, at the foot of the bridge. Last week the village received a notice of claim from East End Ventures which, among other things, told the village “to stop talking to the MTA,” according to Gilbride.
“I mean, this is still America isn’t it,” said the mayor, who called the action “an insult.”
The developers said they would agree to give the village access to the property for a pedestrian walkway, but Gilbride said, in a plan he saw, “at one point the walkway seems to go into the water.”
“It’s unacceptable,” said the mayor, adding that, coupled with the “threat” from the notice of claim, he felt the village had been insulted twice.
According to their agreement, East End Ventures will pay fair market value — or $82,500 — for the piece of property. If the village were to go ahead with condemnation proceedings, Gilbride feels they may be able to get it for less, since they already have an easement on the property.