Tag Archive | "Bulova"

Some New Projects May Get Past Code

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Unless the proposed development projects at the Bulova Watchcase Factory or at the former Diner property, now known as Ferry Road, receive conditional site plan approval from the Sag Harbor Planning Board prior to the adoption of the revised village zoning code, they will be subject to any changes presented in the code, according to Sag Harbor Trustee Tiffany Scarlato.

And that goes for all proposed projects in Sag Harbor, noted Scarlato.

As for the former Bulova project, which has completed its state mandated environmental review under the planning board, conditional site plan approval could be just a meeting or two away. Should the tenuous project move forward on schedule then, it will not likely be subject to the new code.

The 65-unit luxury condominium project is expected to be in front of the Sag Harbor zoning board on Tuesday, July 15 where that board may be asked to rule on an on-site affordable housing requirement handed down by the Suffolk County Planning Commission. The village’s planning board has already overruled the county, favoring instead to accept a now $2.57 million contribution to the proposed Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust.

The project is also slated for the planning board’s agenda on July 22. The developers have maintained, however, if they are required to dedicate 20 percent of the units to affordable housing, they will be unable to move forward with the project.

“I think there is probably a good possibility that Bulova could have conditional site plan approval by the time we adopt the code,” said Scarlato.

On the other hand, Ferry Road, a proposed 18-unit condominium project overlooking the Sag Harbor- North Haven Bridge, has yet to begin its required State Environmental Quality Review under the planning board, which can take several months. That review must be concluded before site plan review or any approvals can be considered by any board in Sag Harbor.

The Village of Sag Harbor has been in a commercial moratorium for over year while the board of trustees have been in the throes of having the village’s zoning code revamped and modernized. Regardless, various village boards have been in the process of reviewing application for development projects in Sag Harbor – many of which were exempt from the moratorium because applications were filed prior to its adoption, and others which have received exemption from the village planning board.

But being exempt from the moratorium does not automatically trigger a project’s exemption from the new code once it is adopted, and as Scarlato pointed out on Tuesday, the village is not required to be as lenient as it has chosen to be.

“If we chose to not make a statement about exemption at all, only those with vested rights would be exempt from the code,” she said. A vested right translates into a project that not only has received final approval, but also a building permit and has shown actual construction has begun to take place at the site.

Scarlato said the board of trustees considered a more lenient stance for the proposed projects in part because there were various applicants asking the village to consider exempting them.

“It was a decision based on what’s out there,” she added. “We did have to draw the line somewhere.”

Two projects that have vested rights, and therefore would not be subject to the proposed code, are the condominiums on West Water Street and the Loeffler office building being constructed on Bay Street.

James Giorgio’s office building and apartments in the former Havens bar and lounge on Bridge Street is the only application that has received conditional site plan approval, but has yet to start construction.

Sag Harbor Village officials are still in the process of reviewing and revising the draft code, and have maintained they will continue to have public meetings on the land-use document until all residents and taxpayers have been heard on every issue. The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, July 12 at 8:30 a.m. The Village Board of Trustees will hold its monthly meeting as well as its re-organizational meeting on Tuesday, July 8. 

Death Knell Sounding?

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When a company takes a step back from a development project it is never a good sign, which was why we were dismayed, and are frankly concerned, about this week’s news that Sag Development Partners will take the next 60 days to assess the restoration and rehabilitation of the former Bulova Watchcase Factory.

For many of us in the Village of Sag Harbor, including this paper, this action signifies the very real possibility that the project sponsors will pull out or alter what is a beautifully crafted design in order to contend with the rapidly declining, and to a certain extent non-existent, credit and housing markets.

We find even the mere possibility of the historic Bulova building continuing to sit shrouded in decay and rot, frankly, depressing. When this project was first proposed it seemed, almost, as if its approval was a foregone conclusion, albeit with massive amounts of tweaking by our venerable boards and numerous conditions associated with it.

A majority of us who live in Sag Harbor had prayed for this moment, whether because of the tax benefits, the boost to our local economy, or simply because we did not want to drive down Division Street and watch the Bulova building slowly crumble into a $10 million parking lot in front of our eyes.

But the twists and turns associated with this project have been hard to anticipate — from an affordable housing debate that seemed to reach a boiling point where many forgot about the rest of the project, to concerns about litigation, to other municipalities, frankly, not even sure how they should be involved, weighing in, then not weighing in and then weighing in again.

Should this project actually die, while some in the community have placed a large amount of the blame squarely on the shoulders of the village — either for not pushing this project through or for not conducting an environmental review in the way they believed most appropriate — we reject this notion.

The village boards, especially the planning board, scheduled an inordinate amount of special meetings representing hundreds of hours and reams upon reams of paperwork, in order to fully evaluate this proposal. They should be commended for this effort, no matter the outcome, as they have volunteered their personal time to fulfill a civic duty to our community that not many are willing to take on.

We hope the death knell has yet to sound on this project, but if it does, we hope the community places the blame on the true root of its demise — a demise we do not believe falls on the village’s clock.