Tag Archive | "don louchheim"

East End Digest: June 11 through June 18

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“Landscape Pleasures,” the Parrish Art Museum’s annual two-day horticulture event and fund-raiser, will explore the use of color in the garden, fashion and the world around you. Scheduled for Saturday, June 13, and Sunday, June 14, the program will kick off with a morning symposium, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring a conversation between renowned designers Isaac Mizrahi and Charlotte Moss, as well as talks by landscape historian and author Judith B. Tankard and garden designer Dan Pearson.

Self-guided tours of six private Southampton village gardens — those of Bruce and Maria Bockmann, Mr. and Mrs. Brownlee Currey, Juergen and Anke Friedrich, Parker and Gail Gilbert, David and Simone Levinson, and Betty and Virgil Sherrill—will round out the program on Sunday.

Judith Tankard will start off the symposium with a lecture on the color theories of influential female gardeners including Gertrude Jekyll, Beatrix Farrand and Ellen Biddle Shipman. Tankard received her M.A. in art history from New York University and has been teaching at the Landscape Institute, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University since 1987.

Dan Pearson will discuss the importance of color in his extensive garden designs, which include an Italian garden where white is the predominant color, and his own London garden. One of Britain’s foremost garden experts, Pearson has created and starred in several popular British television series on gardening. He is on the editorial board of Gardens Illustrated magazine and is a weekly gardening columnist for The Observer.

Keynote Speaker Isaac Mizrahi will take the stage with celebrated interior designer Charlotte Moss for a lively conversation about color. A leader in the fashion business for almost twenty years, Isaac Mizrahi is Creative Director for the Liz Claiborne brand, has been awarded four CFDA awards, written the book “How to Have Style,” created costumes for movies, theater, dance, and opera. A Parrish trustee since 2002 and co-chair of Landscape Pleasures, Charlotte Moss is founder of Charlotte Moss Interior Design, the author of six books, and the designer of houses throughout the United States and Canada. Her design work has been featured in numerous publications.

Sag Harbor

Candidates Lobby for Support

With elections for Sag Harbor Village mayor just around the corner, on Tuesday, June 16, this week candidates Michael Bromberg, Brian Gilbride and Jim Henry worked the campaign trail, visiting constituent groups, talking to residents, announcing endorsements and hosting a press conference in an effort to take the helm of Sag Harbor’s Board of Trustees.

Bromberg, the current chairman of the zoning board of appeals, was a guest at Friday’s Sag Harbor Citizens Advisory Committee meeting, talking to the group about some of the issues he sees the village coming in the next two years.

Bromberg sees himself as representative of both the old and new Sag Harbor, and said he would like to see a village government elected that is interested in reaching out to the myriad of people in Sag Harbor who can aid government in accomplishing their goals. He said he was also concerned that an affordable housing trust, created during the approval process for luxury condos at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory, had yet to get off the ground, something he would like to see changed. Bromberg has also suggested the village could consider building both additional parking and affordable housing over the current village lot behind Main Street.

On Saturday morning, with roughly half a dozen residents in attendance, Henry threw a press conference at Havens Beach, stating a need for a village government willing to address a storm water runoff issue at the bathing beach and calling for the creation of a dog park. Henry, an attorney and economist, said while village officials “may be proud of a tight budget” projects like the $500,000 Cashin plan, proposed years ago to create a bio-filtration system for the Havens Beach drainage ditch have gone unfunded.

Henry also announced the endorsement of Congressman Tim Bishop, who on Tuesday withdrew his endorsement.

“As a Southampton Village resident, I understand that village politics occupy a special place, free of outside interests,” said Bishop in a statement. “As a rule, I do not insert myself into village politics. I recently made a snap decision and broke that longstanding rule. Upon reflection and with apologies, I withdraw any endorsements I have made in village races and I look forward to working with Sag Harbor’s next mayor.”

On Tuesday, Henry did pick up the endorsement of Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley, who called Henry a “person who puts community first and exhibits sound decision making.”

On Monday, Brian Gilbride said he had been sticking to a basic campaign strategy of knocking on doors and visiting with residents to share his goals for the village, which center around maintaining a fiscally conservative budget, he said. In addition to residents, Gilbride hoped to reach out to members of the business community as well as local not-for-profits.
Sag Harbor

Column Award
A column by Karl Grossman, published in the Sag Harbor Express last June, was chosen last week in the annual competition of the Press Club of Long Island as the best general interest column published in a weekly newspaper on Long Island in 2008.

The column — titled “Legally Corrupt” — concerned the selection of “official” county newspapers. It noted how each year the Suffolk County Legislature — and because of New York State law, governing bodies throughout the state — pick two “official” newspapers, one “representing the principles of the Democratic Party,” the other “representing the principles of the Republican Party.” These are then paid to publish legal advertising.

This “selection explicitly based on politics is a throwback to an era in American journalism when newspapers were avidly partisan, indeed many declared that in their names,” the column noted. It pointed to such “newspapers (still) called the Tallahassee Democrat (in Florida), Democrat and Chronicle (in upstate Rochester), Star-Democrat (in Easton, Maryland), The Republican (in Springfield, Massachusetts).”

It continued: “Change came to journalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as many and then most newspapers sought to report the news objectively.”

The column stated that this selection of “official” newspapers “based on their ‘representing the principles’ of the major parties is antiquated—and corrupting to journalism.” It questioned whether a paper “would get such a designation if it offended” the politicians who do the choosing and declared: “Independent journalism is sacrificed by this system.”

In an acceptance speech upon receiving the award Thursday in Woodbury, Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury, said the system should be changed.


Road Repairs
After years of drainage issues, Sagg Dune Court is creeping into a disheveled state, said members of the Sagaponack Village Board of Trustees, and is in need of repair. Mayor Don Louchheim reported driving on the road last week and said it was in a “horrendous” condition. However, Louchheim added that the village wasn’t looking to invest in a major road construction project, but did want to solve the underlying drainage issues at the site. Drew Bennett, a consulting engineer for the village, presented the board with three separate plans varying in cost and construction intensity. Bennett also noted that only 26 percent of the road was in fair condition, with the rest of it being in poor to very poor condition.

Trustee Lisa Duryea Thayer suggested the board explore going out for a bond for general road construction throughout the town not just at Sagg Dune Court.

“We could get some kind of statement from [village attorney] Anthony Tohill on if we can acquire performance bonds for not just here but for the whole village,” said Louchheim.

East Hampton

Muskets, Militia and More

History lovers of all ages are invited to experience an historic reenactment with the 3rd New York Regiment or the Brigade of the American Revolution and revolutionary encampment at Mulford Farm on James Lane in East Hampton Village.

Visitors will have the chance to meet the “Colonial Kids” between 10 a.m. and Noon, try on 18th century costumes, take part in butter-churning and play colonial games.

Free, half-hour guided tours of the Mulford Farm House restoration will be given at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and will offer clues to the 350-year history of the house. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again between 3 and 5 p.m., costumed interpreters will demonstrate traditional methods of spinning yarn with a drop spindle, weaving on the historic barn beam loom and basket making using age-old techniques.

The farm will reopen for a candlelight tour of the Revolutionary encampment at 7:30 p.m., and contra dance and refreshments in the colonial barn. Music will be provided by “Dance All Night.” The group features Larry Moser on hammered dulcimer, Mary Nagin and Jack Dillon on fiddle, and dance caller Chart Guthrie. All are members of the Long Island Traditional Music Association and have a wide repertoire of fun and easy dances for all ages.

For more information, please call 324-6850.


D.C. Meeting

Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot and leaders of the Shinnecock Indian Nation met in Washington, D.C., on June 3 with representatives from the Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA) to participate in the process to secure recognition from the federal government for the tribe. The session was an integral part of the time line agreed to in a court-ordered settlement arising from litigation the tribe launched against the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The forum was hosted by the Department of the Interior in order to provide an opportunity for the Shinnecocks and other interested parties to present additional background on the documents submitted in response to OFA’s March 16 letter to the Shinnecocks. The letter, which was circulated to interested parties, identified records known to OFA that were not part of the information submitted with the Shinnecock petition. The petition seeking federal acknowledgment comprises over 500 pages, with 40,000 pages of additional documentation.

The settlement reached between the Shinnecocks and the federal government provides for expeditious review of the tribe’s original petition and its more recent submissions, as well as that provided by the interested parties. OFA sought materials from Southampton Town and New York State that were used in the earlier lawsuit over the Westwoods property, a 79-acre parcel in Hampton Bays which the tribe had began clearing for a casino. Additional records sought included expert reports from New York State’s genealogical researchers and a trove of historical documents from town clerk Sundy Schermeyer containing Indian lands, deeds and statistics.

Since first applying for recognition in 1978 and more formally in 1998, the Shinnecocks have litigated over what the tribe has called the Bureau of Indian Affairs “unreasonable delay.” With the agreement reached May 26 that led to the June 3 gathering, the Department of Interior must issue a preliminary decision on recognition by December 15.

“As town supervisor, I attended in order to represent the town board and show our support for the settlement with the Department of Interior, and to obtain a better understanding of the rigorous standards the Shinnecocks must meet to become federally acknowledged,” said Kabot, who was accompanied by the town’s legal adviser, Michael Cohen.

The meeting was moderated by OFA Specialist George Roth and attended by representatives of the U.S. Solicitor and U.S. Attorney General. Several representatives of the Shinnecock Indian Nation were also present, including Tribal Trustees Randall King, Gordell Wright and Frederick Bess, as well as their attorneys and research team.

Another purpose of the meeting was for federal researchers to explain the process, methodology, and general status of evaluating a petition. The OFA research team is comprised of historian Francis Flavin, anthropologist Holly Reckord and genealogist Alycon Pierce. There are seven mandatory criteria that must be met under federal regulations to establish that an American Indian group exists as a tribe. Questions posed to the Shinnecocks focused on membership lists, their functioning as a single autonomous political entity, while explaining how evidence is reviewed to determine parentage and descent to establish family histories.

“The Town of Southampton appreciates that the OFA will be completing a thorough, objective review of current and historic documents,” said Kabot. “We have fully cooperated with the requests of OFA for town documents. The Town of Southampton did not engage any researchers as part of this federal acknowledgment process sought by the Shinnecocks, nor do we intend to do so, and therefore we did not pose any questions on the submissions made by the Shinnecocks. Our relationship with the Shinnecocks is not an adversarial one. We are friends and neighbors.”

According to Kabot, Shinnecock Tribal Chairman Randall King requested an opportunity to convey remarks and “spoke eloquently about the need for the federal government to humanize the process, rather than making repeated requests for more documentation.” She also described the meeting as “exciting and interesting, but highly technical,” as it focused on federal criteria mandating extensive research, a peer review process and lengthy comment periods to raise inquiries and objections.

“At the end of the day, the Shinnecocks have long-awaited a decision on federal recognition,” concluded Kabot. “This meeting brings them one step closer to realizing their vision of sustaining their culture and enhancing the prosperity of their people.”

Sagaponack Holds Off on FEMA

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Just last week, it seemed the Sagaponack Village Board of Trustees was ready to adopt the new FEMA regulations, regarding the limit moderate wave action (LIMWA) line designation on the revised FEMA maps. But after reviewing draft legislation prepared by Village Attorney Anthony Tohill, mayor Don Louchheim announced at the trustee’s monthly meeting on Monday that he needed more information.

“I can’t make heads or tails of this,” reported Louchheim to his fellow board members. “I had the impression that there were going to be minor amendments to the law we passed in 2007. This is significantly different.”

In 2007, the village approved a flood prevention code, said village clerk Rhodi Winchell. She added that a code was modeled after a law presented to the village by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. By passing the flood prevention code, continued Winchell, the village became a part of the FEMA program and eligible for the flood insurance program for the municipality.

At the village work session held last Monday, Louchheim relayed a conversation he had with Tohill, in which Tohill reported that the new regulations wouldn’t necessarily alter the appearance of homes in the village. Louchheim added that he couldn’t ascertain if there was a difference in substance and content between the two legal documents or if it was a difference in technical language and structure.

“The structure is different [between the two documents.] The order of things has changed, and you can’t read one against the other because it is hard to compare the two,” continued Louchheim. “For the layman, it is hard to understand.”

Louchheim requested that Tohill write-up a memorandum detailing the differences between the 2007 village flood laws and the draft legislation for the new LIMWA regulations, before the village approves the draft for New York State Department of Environmental Conservation review.

As relayed to the board by Louchheim last week, Tohill said if the village chooses not to enact the new regulations they will most likely not be entitled to federal flood insurance for the entire municipality, which could adversely affect residents. Louchheim noted at the meeting last week that it is extremely difficult for prospective homeowners to obtain a mortgage without the availability of flood insurance.

Draft legislation pertaining to the new FEMA regulations must be sent to the DEC by June 25.

Although stalled on the issue of the new FEMA regulations, the board granted Ocean Zendo’s request to park on Bridge Lane, a street notorious for parking issues, in the summer months. The Buddhist congregation asked for parking passes which would let them station their cars in front of the Peter Matthiessen property, where the Zendo is located. Sarah Jaffe Turnball, a member of the group, reported to the board that it was often difficult for elderly members to navigate the unfinished and overgrown road leading up to the meeting house. Currently, parking is restricted during the day on this road, but the board will make an exception to accommodate the Zendo. They will issue roughly 10 special parking permits for the principal members of the group.

Sagaponack Weighs In on Parking, Again

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To allow parking or not to allow parking. That is the question for the Sagaponack Village Board as they decide whether to give parking waivers to members of the Ocean Zendo Buddhist congregation.
Members of the board mulled over the Zendo’s request to station their cars on Bridge Lane during key worshipping hours on Monday, Saturday and Sunday in the summertime — when the village strictly enforces no parking rules during the day. The Zendos gather at a small meeting house on writer Peter Matthiessen’s property in Sagaponack. Although located on a field, Zendo representative Joan Frohman told the board the long dirt path leading to the structure isn’t feasible for parking. Reportedly, the road is uneven, often muddy and riddled with holes, and bramble on the sides of the roadway scratch vehicles. Frohman argued that the members must park on Bridge Lane, adding that the cars wouldn’t be in the roadway. Trustee Alfred Kelman said allowing parking on the lane could have a domino effect and encourage others to illegally park on village property — on a street historically plagued by illegal parking.
The board asked Frohman to look into clearing the brush, grading the road and creating parking on the field by the meeting house. Frohman said this was untenable as the congregation doesn’t have the necessary funds for the initial clean-up nor the upkeep of the grounds. The board promised Frohman they would visit the site and consider the issue before delivering a verdict.
On Monday night, the board approved the 2009-2010 village budget as well as a permit for the Five Borough Bicycle Club’s run through town in May. Deputy Mayor Lee Foster also gave a brief report on the village’s project to pave the roads. Foster said she found a contractor specializing in micro-paving but didn’t have exact cost figures.
“We need to get a price and then we can decide whether or not we can do this,” said Mayor Don Louchheim.

Sagaponack: Values Up, Taxes Stable

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A minor adjustment to the 2009-2010 Sagaponack budget was announced at the public hearing during the Sagaponack Board of Trustees work session on Monday, April 13. Previously the tentative assessed number, or value of all the property within Sagaponack, was estimated at $3,205, 489,175. This figure has been adjusted to $3,248,127,420 – which is the final assessment number, said Sagaponack Village Clerk Rhodi Cary Winchell.

Although this adjustment could have ratcheted up the budget and tax rate, the board was committed to keeping the budget down and tax rate low. The Sagaponack budget for the upcoming fiscal year will be $548,809, a number slightly lower than last year’s budget of $552,873. In turn, this reduction translates to a decreased tax rate for Sagaponack home and property owners. When the budget was first presented, Sagaponack Mayor Don Louchheim said an owner of a home with an assessed valuation of $1 million will pay $82.80 in village property taxes, while last year the same homeowner would have paid $83.40 in village property taxes.

In order to keep these same rates, the board made a few changes to the budget.

“What we did was adjust the revenues down on the projected revenue from mortgage tax . . . It is a big guess . . . but we certainly want to be conservative [in this area],” said Winchell, who added the economic slump negatively affected the number of property purchases from which the mortgage tax is derived. With the tentative budget, the mortgage tax revenue was estimated at $195,500.

“We are assuming sales on property has taken a plunge,” said Winchell. The projected revenue for the mortgage tax in the final budget is projected at $191,500.

In addition, the projected interest on the village’s debt services was reduced by $14.

The finalized budget will most likely be adopted during the upcoming board meeting on Monday, April 20.

“Unless the board feels they need to change something, [the budget will be adopted],” said Winchell. “But the board hasn’t given me any indication that this is the case.”

The board is also eyeing passing a local law to allow alternate members of the Zoning Board of Appeals attend meetings in the place of regular members, in order to reach a quorum on the board. The mayor would appoint the alternate members, but it would be subject to the approval of the trustees. Appointing alternate members to the board is common practice at neighboring local municipalities, including North Haven. According to North Haven Village Clerk Georgia Welch, the local law allowing alternate ZBA members was passed almost twenty years ago, at a time when many elderly board members would spend the winter months is Florida. North Haven Village allows alternates for the planning board as well. A public hearing on the adoption of this law in Sagaponack is slated for May 18 at 4 p.m.

During the Monday Sagaponack board meeting the trustees will weigh in on several outdoor assembly permits and special events permits, including one for the Five Borough Bicycle Club, who plans on cycling through the village on Town Line Road into Wainscott.

On a final note, the board announced a special memorial service for Sagaponack vintner Christian Wolffer – to be held this Sunday, April 19, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Wolffer Estate Vineyard and Stables. Wolffer, an active member of the East End community, died on December 31, 2008 after a swimming accident in Brazil. His funeral was held in January but the Wolffer family wanted to host a public memorial service “for all those wishing to pay their respects,” said the Wolffer’s in a letter addressed to the board.


Sagaponack Budget comes in just over $500,000

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On Monday, at their regular board meeting, the Sagaponack board of trustees were given their first look at Mayor Don Louchheim’s tentative budget. The spending plan is expected to be just over half-a-million dollars and residents may be seeing a slight reduction in their property taxes if the tentative budget is adopted.
Louchheim gave his 2009-2010 budget message and during the presentation, announced that, despite the acquisition and renovation of the new village hall, there would be “no increase in the village tax rate, for the third year in a row.”
Further, Louchheim added, “village taxpayers will continue to pay no more in total property taxes than they would have if the village had not been incorporated.”
Total spending in the new budget is estimated at $548,809, down slightly from the $552,873 the year prior.
According to Louchheim, the new debt service costs from the village hall project “will be offset by lower, more realistic projections” of the net costs of the land use department, based on its first full year of operations.
He also noted that village voters approved borrowing up to $2 million for the project — but the total cost of the building was held at $1.5 million and the bond is expected to be less than $1 million.
Louchheim also explained for a home assessed at $1 million, it will cost a homeowner $82.80 in taxes, which is a slight reduction from $83.40 last year.
On Monday, Louchheim also announced projections for revenues other than property taxes including mortgage taxes, franchise taxes and other fees — which he said would be $283,350.
Louchheim said the amount expected to be raised by property taxes would be $265,459. According to the mayor, the tax levy also includes $100,000 to be added to a capital reserve fund for future road improvement projects, as has been done in the last two years.
“During the previous and current fiscal years the village has achieved operating surpluses, primarily as a result of higher than expected mortgage tax receipts,” said Louchheim. He said the bulk of these surplus funds will be used to reduce the amount borrowed for the village hall project.
Although village voters approved borrowing up to $2 million for the project, the total cost of the new village hall and renovations to the property were held at $1.5 million. According to Louchheim, the bond issue amount for the new village hall is expected to be no more than $1 million.
“The new budget includes a one-time expense of $37,000 in fees for the bond issue and a debt service cost of $74,854 for 2009-2010,” the mayor said. He added that until the bond is retired, the annual debt service amount will be “about the same.”
“So there should be no adverse debt service impact on future tax rates,” said the mayor.
In closing, Louchheim said he was proud of the young village government, which he added has achieved a “great deal in a short period of time.”
“We are fortunate to have truly involved and highly motivated residents on our board of trustees and two land use boards, as well as a talented, dedicated and enthusiastic administrative staff,” said Louchheim who told the trustees he believed they would find the budget to be fairly “straight forward.”
In the tentative budget, revenue from the building department is projected to be half of what was collected over 2008-2009. Likewise, mortgage tax revenue is also expected by the mayor to see a reduction of $122,620 over last year.
Trustee Alfred Kelman said the budget appeared to be a “superb analysis.”
On Monday, March 23, there will be a work session on the tentative budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year, at 4 p.m. at village hall in Sagaponack.
In other Sagaponack news, the village hall is moving forward as planned. The building repairs and “touch-ups” have been completed, according to the mayor. The parking lot and the sidewalk were expected to be finished earlier this week.
Kelman said he visited the new site on Monday and joked that he engraved his initials into the sidewalk.
Village clerk Rhodi Winchell gave other updates for the new village hall and how it is progressing. She said the sprinkler and lawn are now completed, the fencing and floors have been re-done and the phone system has been ordered.
Louchheim said he is working on buying lumber and finishing a new table for the village hall.
The trustees also looked at some possible signage for the new building. Deputy Mayor Lee Foster showed a possible design of the new sign that would hang outside village hall along Montauk Highway.
Trustee Joy Sieger was concerned about the size of the lettering on the sign that was estimated to be four inches in height. She said motorists might have a hard time making out the wording.
Sieger also noted that a flag pole would need to be considered for their new hall.

Sorting Out Summer Soirees Before Season

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Sagaponack Village officials are plugging away on requests to hold parties, due to their recent adoption of a local law pertaining to outdoor assembly permits, and are planning some changes to help the process move along faster.

At their regular board meeting on Tuesday, Sagaponack trustee Joy Sieger voiced her concerns about the way the process for obtaining an outdoor assembly permit is presently done.

Currently, the village asks for a letter of intent to hold an outdoor bash six months in advance with an application to be filled out four months in advance.

Sieger acknowledged that the village made a conscious effort to deal with outdoor events last year by adding the new local law, but now that the law has been enacted, officials have noticed missing information in the dozen or so letters of intent they have already received. Those questions surrounded issues dealing with parking, number of attendees — and for charitable affairs — the percentage that will go to the beneficiary.

Sieger said that she and village clerk Rhodi Winchell would like to suggest altering the law so that the village would require an application and a required letter of intent submitted together — both six months prior.

That way, the village would be able to get a better picture of the proposed event.

“We believe that by just submitting the application form along with the letter of intent would give us more information and we wouldn’t have to do all this waiting around,” Sieger said.

The trustees seemed to all agree that was a good idea, but trustee Alfred Kelmann said he wants to know precisely, “what proceeds are going to the local charities,” when dealing with benefits.

“We need to get to the heart of this thing,” he said, asking that parties not be run “as a business but as a local event.”

For now, Mayor Don Louchheim said the letters of intent would not be approved until the full application is filled out.

As the trustees went over a few pending letters of intent for summer 2009, they discussed which of the events are “rooted locally.”

“That is a distinction we need to make,” Deputy Mayor Lee Foster said.

“We have the right to say no, without any explanation,” argued Kelmann, “we are extending ourselves by even creating a policy.”

Audience member and Group for the East End’s Director of Development, Judy Christrup, then offered some advice.

“Can I make a suggestion,” she asked, “you could ask them what their numbers were last year, and if they’ve never had it before, they could give you a projection. It costs a lot of money to put on an outdoor event here, so you have to have some high contributors to actually make a profit,” she continued.

“Well, it costs a lot of money to stage a truly non-profit event and they may raise nothing. They could spend $5000 and bring in $250 bucks,” Kelmann said.

After going over some other letters of intent and closing that portion of the meeting, Louchheim said, “It’s a learning curve, but we are getting somewhere here.”


The New Village Hall


By the end of the week, the new village hall in Sagaponack is expected to be near completion, according to the mayor. He said the village is “right on target” with their February 28, deadline. 

There were some minor repairs being done since the village bought the property at 3175 Montauk highway in October. The sole remaining component would be the excavation of the parking lot, which will be completed by the end of March or beginning of April, when paving plants in the area re-open.

Louchheim also said there is an old sewer line at the new location, measuring 12 feet that may be replaced.

The village plans to move into the new hall in a month and half, if there are no other major problems.


Party Planners in Sagaponack May Have Problems this Summer Season

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With new codes pertaining to events now in place, party planners hoping to host shindigs in Sagaponack this summer are coming forward to share their plans with the village board — and some are finding it difficult to get approval.

The new local law requires that a letter of intent be sent by party hosts to the village 180 days before the day of the event – which means now is prime time for those hoping to throw parties in Sagaponack come July.

Justin Taylor Ward, an event planner with a dozen years of experience who has planned parties in the area for the last eight years, went before the Sagaponack Village Board of Trustees on Monday night at the board’s regular work session. As required, Ward had sent the board his letter of intent to throw a bash in the village for 300 guests as a fundraiser for the Harlem Children’s Zone. The party is planned for July 18 and begins at 7 p.m.

The board of trustees voiced some concerns about the event, the first being that the party wouldn’t benefit a local charity. Ward told the board that he will hire local people to staff the event and added that local artists were invited to showcase their work at a silent auction and a local chef would be offering the cuisine. He also said that one of the three wines to be served at the event would be a Wolffer Estate wine.

Trustee Alfred Kelman said he was concerned how much money would actually be going to the charity, Ward said he would be giving 25 percent of the proceeds to the charity, while Ward would keep the remaining 75 percent to pay for costs of the event and his overhead.

“I am the fundraiser of it … it does take a year to put it together,” Ward said.

“Well it sounds like a profit making venture for you, rather than the Harlem Group,” mayor Don Louchheim said.

“They [Harlem Children’s Zone] get a considerable amount of money,” Ward maintained. “I’ve worked with many businesses and have volunteered my services in the past.”

Kelman said for future parties, he would be interested in knowing which events benefited charities and how much of the proceeds will go to the particular charity.

“We need to try to delineate between charity and events so they can have their party,” Kelman said.

He added after Ward left the room that during certain charity softball games, “everyone donates their time” and he said that 80 to 95 percent of the proceeds would go to the charity.

Deputy mayor Lee Foster, thought that there may be another problem that might prohibit Ward from holding his event. She explained that if the vehicles were parked in the fields at 231 Hedges Lane, nematodes, a type of roundworm that lives in the field, could pose a problem. She told the applicant to contact the Westhampton office of the State Department of Agriculture and Markets because she thought they may need to take precautions to ensure that nematodes are not transferred to other areas by cars.




At their last meeting in January, the Sagaponack Village Board discussed changes to the Poxabogue Golf Course located on Montauk Highway in Wainscott, in close proximity to the Sagaponack Village Hall. The board and trustees had concerns at that meeting about being uninformed about changes to the course.

Louchheim announced on Monday that last weekend, East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill McGintee met with the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee and showed the CAC a four-phase plan for the Poxabogue Golf Center. That multi-phase plan includes a mini golf course and the acquisition of the adjacent Mulford property, among other changes.

Louchheim said that Southampton Town Councilwoman Nancy Graboski was “apologetic for leaving us out of the loop, but at the same time no one has tried to get us in the loop.”

Sagaponack Feeling Left Out

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At Sagaponack Village’s board meeting on Tuesday, village trustees and mayor Don Louchheim expressed frustration with both East Hampton and Southampton towns for leaving Sagaponack out of dialogue pertaining to changes to Poxabogue Golf Course.

Last week at an East Hampton Town Board meeting, council members voted in favor of $1.1 million worth of capital improvements to the course. Because the golf course is owned by both towns, Southampton Town also has to agree to the expenditure.

“We were not even informed of the expansion of the restaurant and pro shop,” said Louchheim who also talked about the possibility of a miniature golf course. “And I’m not sure we are getting away from night activity.”

“Talk about arrogance,” added Louchheim, expressing irritation that the town has left the village out on these talks. “We need to ask our attorney what authority we have over this.”

Trustee and parks and recreation liaison, Alfred Kelman said that there was a lot of controversy about the idea of nighttime activity and a miniature golf course at Poxabogue from various citizens advisory committees.

“Let me find out and I will get us in the loop,” Kelman said.

“I’m sure there is going to be a lot of community opposition,” Louchheim said. 

Trustee Joy Seiger said that she wouldn’t mind a miniature golf course, and it would be something that would add value to the community.

“I would be there playing,” she said.

But according to Ed Wankel, of Long Island Golf Management, who represented the golf course at the East Hampton meeting, the first phase of the Poxabogue plan involves moving the driving range tee line up and adding safety fencing around the course. There will also be improvements to the irrigation system, he said, and two additional sheds are proposed to house ball-dispensing machines.

In an interview Wednesday, Wankel said that plans for a miniature golf course had been discussed, but are not included in this initial phase. He added that if plans for a miniature golf course go ahead, it will be proposed without lighting. He also notes that phase one of the project does not include any changes to the parking, pro shop or restaurant.

Special Events

Sagaponack Village officials are asking for more changes to their local laws. In July of last year, the village created a new local law requiring a permit for outdoor special events that include 50 or more people. A letter of intent is to be sent to the village at least 180 days prior to the event, which makes this crunch time for any events to be held in June 2009.

So far the village has received four letters of intent for outdoor assembly permits and on this week’s agenda, three of them were up for discussion.

The village board didn’t have any problems with one of the events, scheduled for July 25 at the Wolffer Estate when the James Beard Foundation will host an event expected to entertain 600 or so guests.

Mayor Louchheim did, however, express concern over another event to be held on the same grounds. The Group for the East End has submitted a request for an event on June 20, but the letter of intent does not include the number of people expected to attend.

“If we are giving them the tentative green light — do we have any other requirements?” Louchheim asked rhetorically, “We should, to get an idea of the size.”

He requested that the current local law be changed to include the projected size of the event.

Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt showed up for Tuesday’s meeting, to make sure they have complied with the village’s requirements for a fundraising party on June 13 at Tee and Charles Addams Foundation on Sagaponack Road. Their letter of intent includes the size of the party, which is estimated at 150 people, but the board was more concerned about the parking.

“Where would you be able to park?” Louchheim asked party planners, “You have to make arrangements … a lot has changed since the incorporation [of the village].”

“We have a quarter mile long driveway, that’s the problem,” said Kevin Miserocchi, executive director of the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation, who noted the driveway is too narrow for parking. He asked the board if parking would be allowed in front of the property along Sagaponack Road.

“We try to discourage it,” said deputy mayor Lee Foster.

“That corner has had so many accidents over the years,” trustee Lisa Duryea Thayer said.

“But I think there is enough room to get off the road and onto the shoulder,” Louchheim added.

Miserocchi said that he would be willing to hire a valet company for the event.

“We will work with the valet company,” Sieger said representing the town, “it really works out very well.

Push for Preservation in Sagaponack

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The Village of Sagaponack is considering amendments to the village code in order to find ways to encourage historic preservation within its borders.

At their monthly work session, the village board of trustees listened as chairwoman of the architectural and historic review board (AHRB) Ana Daniel spoke of the recent demolition of historic buildings within the village.

Daniel expressed concerns about a request to demolish a historic barn-like structure on Parsonage Lane. Daniel said she felt it was “a preferable solution” to keep the house as a guest house, rather than demolish it and build a garage, which was the final decision by the AHRB. Because the owners of the property wanted to build a residential house on the rear of the property, the smaller structure would not be allowed by village code to stay as an additional residential structure.

Daniel said the owners of the property on Parsonage Lane were willing to restore the structure and then the AHRB could accept it as a historic structure rather than what she said looked like “a Hollywood set.”

 “It offends me, personally,” Daniel said about the destruction of these types of buildings overall.

The viable solution, Mayor Don Louchheim said, “is to have code amendments to encourage preservation for buildings deemed historic.”

This, he added, would give the zoning board the right to grant variances and other boards the right to offer waivers.

 “We don’t want to try and mandate,” but Louchheim added, “You have to mandate something to create incentives.”

“We want to make clear that we want historical preservation in the most extreme way possible,” Daniel said.

Trustee Alfred Kelman, said that the dialogue between the board of trustees and the AHRB is healthy, and that is the purpose of the various boards. Although he reminded the room, “They [property owners] have the right to challenge the village.”

“Somebody should get something for preservation,” Louchheim said, “in one way or another there should be a benefit.”

Louchheim said that in order to get historical preservation, the village may want to consider what the residents want and what would be a reasonable compromise “to permit one in order to preserve the other,” he said.

“What would you give?” Louchheim asked Daniel.

“What would be reasonable?” she replied, “These are very case specific.”

Trustee and AHRB liaison, Lisa Duryea Thayer said that there are three applications looking to the board for guidance.

Louchheim said that the board would like to put something in the code, but they would like to first consult with village attorney, Anthony Tohill.

“If the owners would preserve shape and volume of historic buildings, I would be in favor.” Daniel said.


Calling all Bids Back

Sagaponack village trustees also announced at their work session the bids they had received from contractors for work on the roof and vestibule at the new village hall have been rejected.

Louchheim announced at the meeting that the bids would be deemed defective because they did not comply with new procedures required by the state as of July 2008, which requires sealed bids for subcontractors.

“I checked with the village attorney,” Louchheim said, “and he confirmed that we needed sealed bids for subcontractors.”

The bids were opened on Friday, January 9, and as a result of the non-compliance with the New York State requirement, the village has informed all the bidders that they would need to resubmit the bids.

“There were no changes to the specifications of the bid, only to the filing of the bid and the paperwork that is required to file the bid,” village clerk Rhodi Winchell said.

Sagaponack Considers Oceanfront Taxing Districts

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A few years ago, the Town of Southampton voted on a resolution to approve the creation of a new oceanfront district that included residences in Sagaponack. During this week’s regular board meeting, the Village of Sagaponack board members said that option of a possible coastal erosion control district is back on the table.

“I have seen a keen interest from a number of individuals [about the creation of this district],” parks and recreation liaison and board member Alfred Kelman said on Monday. Kelman explained that resident Alan Stillman, who owns a 15-acre piece of oceanfront property in Sagaponack, proposed the possibility of the district again recently. 

In October of 2005, the Southampton Town unanimously passed a resolution allowing for the establishment of a Beach Erosion Control District in Sagaponack, known as the Southampton East Beach Erosion Control District. After the approval, residents filed for a permissive referendum to let voters have a say on the creation of such a district, but according to village clerk Rhodi Winchell, that didn’t happen.

The Town of Southampton’s resolution, initiated by then-councilman Dennis Suskind, outlined that the town is aware that certain areas within its borders have suffered severe coastal erosion as a result of the placement of the Shinnecock inlet jetty and the Georgica groins.

The resolution stated, “It has caused erosion to down drift beaches within the town…along the Atlantic coastline.” The resolution also said that both past and recent weather events had caused these conditions to deteriorate and the board “further recognizes that the erosion is such that it has, at times, threatened to severely damage both public and private structures as well as the barrier beaches and protective dunes within the town.”

Now, Kelman said there is an interest in re-visiting the creation of this district, but it will have to go through the Town of Southampton.

“But we have lost the town board member who was a main proponent of it,” he added.

“And whether or not the town is willing to do that, we don’t know,” said mayor Don Louchheim.

“I will speak to the supervisor but it probably has to go through the county,” he added.

At last week’s work session, Louchheim also announced that the developers of a 44-acre oceanfront property, known as Sagaponack Realty LLC, are “bickering” over drainage issues within their subdivision.

Marc Stanley Goldman, one of three owners of the property, has filed a $30 million dollar suit against his partners because his share of the property has drainage issues, making it difficult to build on.

The lawsuit indicates that Michael Hirtenstein and Milton Berlinkski purchased part of Sagaponack Realty LLC from Goldman for $15 million apiece. This is one of the last remaining major parcels within the Village of Sagaponack, the owners of which filed an application for subdivision, but the application has been inactive because the owners were discussing drainage issues.

“Interestingly enough…there was always problems with drainage on this property,” board member Lisa Duryea Thayer said.

The adjacent 19-acre property owned by Brenda Earl also has similar drainage issues, and Louchheim said the board would have to be careful in considering this property.  

During Monday’s planning board meeting, the board decided that the Brenda Earl application is now going to be put on hold, because members want to discuss a common driveway for both the Sagaponack Realty LLC property and the Earl parcel. Winchell said the board is looking to hold a meeting where both applicants can attend to consider the common driveway.

In other news, building permits, which were submitted to the town, prior to the incorporation of the Village of Sagaponack, will expire on April 1. Those that have not been completed will have to be renewed by the town or taken over by the village, according to building inspector John Woudsma.

“The town has been good about notifying those that are outstanding,” Woudsma said.

Woudsma explained that applications would be valid for 1.5 years and after that applicants would have to re-file with the village.


At top, some of the Sagaponack oceanfront. (Google Earth Image).